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Still CD

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Jan. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: LONDON RECORDS
  • ASIN: B000042O1G
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,854 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

BBC Review

When writing about Joy Division you enter the territory marked 'sacred cows'. It's the same box that contains Nirvana or Hendrix. So how do you approach a collection that has so much associated kudos, bereft of objective distance?

Luckily, unlike many other such supposed 'classics' Joy division remain wholly startling and unlike just about anything else that emerged on factory. How did they do this? Well, for starters this wasn't a four-piece rock 'n' roll band. It was a FIVE-piece. It's long been accepted that without the perversely dictatorial hand of producer Martin Hannett these Salford lads would have remained another post-Bowie, post industrial bunch of angst-ridden young men. By harnessing their rawness with an obsessive's use of the latest digital technology, Hannett worked the alchemical miracle that made Ian Curtis' voice into a living embodiment of dislocation and alienation, while Stephen Morris' drums became the rattling metronomic sound of post-war Europe spinning in its tomb.

As such Still comes as a partly frustrating compilation. Aimed at quickly curtailing the bootleg industry that always follows the death of a young icon, Factory Records collected a reasonable amount of outtakes and unfinished songs along with a recording of the last gig the band played before the singer's death. Undoubtedly as compelling as they were live - with Curtis's spastic dervish act making corporeal the bleak, intense muse that informed their work - the sound is thinned out and lacks Hannett's fairy dust. Mind you, the singer's comment about 'Louie Louie' shows that for such a notoriously dour band they still had humour residing in their ranks.

The studio material fares better, with 'Dead Souls' as crucial as anything on Unknown Pleasures or Closer. The same goes for the post-punk glory of 'Glass', containing the DNA of white R&B in its grooves. Other tracks like 'Ice Age' sound less complete in their thrashy approach.

Of course this is all still a fair notch above most of the label's other acts, and that includes New Order. Who can tell where they would have gone had Curtis lived? All that we have left is the sepulchral voice, the snatches of Ballardian exitentialism and the eery electronic undertow. It's more than enough for most people. But beginners would be wise to start with their two proper studio albums. --Chris Jones

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Being the record by which I discovered Joy Division (and possibly because of that fact) it is still my favourite. I didn't know it at the time, but it's a fairly random collection of studio out-takes from the band's three-year history (the original first vinyl disc) and a live recording of the band's final concert at Birmingham University in May 1980 (the original second vinyl disc). To further confuse the issue, the original CD release, while almost identical, inexplicably omitted "24 Hours" from the live set altogether (it having been omitted from the track listing of the vinyl only, showing up as a sort of anticipation of the DVD Easter Egg on the actual record). Weird: it was by no means the worst quality track on the set (several others suffered, either from poor mixing (Ceremony), synthesiser meltdown (Isolation and Decades) or guitarist correct-chord meltdown (Bernard misses a doozy in the intro to New Dawn Fades)).

And if that were not random enough, this remaster includes another live set, from High Wycombe Town Hall (yes, that legendary Rock 'n' Roll venue - it's almost Tapular, isn't it) in February 1980 plus some material from the soundcheck!

For all that, the (original) record hangs together coherently - the outtakes pace themselves nicely from the creepy foghorns and droning basslines of Exercise One through the near-punk workouts (Ice Age, Walked in Line) to the desolate, stately majesty of classic tracks like The Only Mistake and Dead Souls which represent high-Mannerist Joy Division, the only jolt being, from nowhere, an unexpected live cover of the Velvets' Sister Ray at the end of (original vinyl) disc two.

I love Still, but the cognoscenti don't seem to.
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Format: Audio CD
Some say "Still" is a bad album, but this simply isn't true! The first half is a collection of rare songs/outtakes which have been given some post production by Martin Hannett - to great results! The second half of the cd is a recording of Joy Division's last ever gig, from May 2nd 1980. The quaility of the content is superb throught the disk, from the magnificent and slightly prophetic "Dead Souls", the errie synth ridden "Something Must Break" to the emotional tidal wave that is the live version of "Decades". Just because "Still" looks like an odds and sodds album don't dismiss it. It's a fantastic showpiece of an album, that perfectly highlights just how good a band Joy Division really were. I Definately Recommend this album to all fans of Joy Division, New Order and alternative music in gerneal.
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Format: Audio CD
If I were to buy this it would be the 3rd purchase of an album that I first bought in 1989, on double cassette in a neat purple cardboard box and later the CD about 10 years ago. The cassette version luckily has 24 Hours on it, as would the vinyl versions.
It seems strange that they've added another live disc which effectively makes this a triple album, as the original CD was also a double album.
Surely 24 Hours could've been included just by applying a bit of digital compression to make it fit? This would've had almost no impact on sound quality but never mind...OK, that's enough said about 24 hours now.
Still is a useful collection of songs, with tracks like Dead Souls, The Only Mistake, Sound Of Music and Insight being amongst the standouts. The(original) live disc is patchy, though it does include one of only 2 known versions of Ceremony which was of course later rerecorded by New Order along with In a Lonely Place. Shadowplay also packs a punch live as does Passover, but as the disc wears on the performance quality seems to diminish, with tracks like Transmission and the closing Digital sounding quite weak. To be fair though, that's to be expected given the issues Ian Curtis was facing at the time, plus of course it turned out to be their last ever live performance. Still can certainly be recommended to any Joy Division fan, perhaps as a 3rd purchase after getting the 1st 2 albums if you're new to them.
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Format: Audio CD
This album has been rendered redundant by the Heart & Soul box set and the subsequent live releases. The studio material - the important part - is contained in the box set. The live material is not top-drawer despite its obvious historical interest (most of it comes from Ian's, and the band's, last gig).
Newcomers are warned that:-
`Sister Ray' is - for a band not averse to white noise (q.v live versions of `Atrocity' and `I Remember Nothing') - disappointingly tame.
`Ceremony' is missing its opening verse - a complete version can be found on the box set.
Sumner seems to be missing an awful lot of notes on guitar (which almost ruins `New Dawn Fades' - consult the Bains Douches CD for the best-ever version of this song). And he has to contend with an out-of-tune synthesizer (which almost ruins `Decades').
Note - my vinyl copy has an unlisted bonus track - `Twenty-Four Hours' - inbetween `New Dawn Fades' and `Transmission'. Is this also true of the CD?
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Format: Audio CD
Third - and final album - "Still", originally a compendium of unreleased material and a recording of the final JD concert, now contains a second full live show. That said, who's complaining at the surfeit of material? Admittedly, "Still" still suffers from missing one song deleted due to space restrictions from the CD version (which has, criminally, still not been rectified by some minor resequencing), but that's a mere quibble. The studio portion of "Still" offers unfinished / unreleased songs from Joy Divisions catalogue, remixed and finished by the remaining members of the band, to create an uneven listening experience : drawing on material from the bands earliest days to their final recordings, "Still" lacks the sense of narrative and sonic cohesion of the other records, and sounds exactly like the compilation from varying eras that it is. That said, Joy Division were always in an excess of creativity, and the album contains some classic songs that sadly never found a home during the band's life - such as "The Only Mistake". As an appendix, "Still" serves its purpose : to beat the bootleggers that had swarmed around the bands mystique following Curtis' demise with a definitive collection of unreleased material presented in superlative quality, alongside the final Joy Division concert recorded in Birmingham. Aside from a minor microphone problem during the opening number, the set is technically a perfect recording (the performance is not superb, as the primitive home-made synthesisers are not always in tune, nor is Curtis' health sufficient to a full performance, though this is barely noticed on vinyl).

The second disc again features a full, unreleased performance (including soundcheck) from High Wycombe mastered from a 1st generation cassette tape.
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