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Joy Division

Biography

Joy Division was formed after Peter Hook and Bernard Albrecht (later Bernard Sumner) saw the Sex Pistols perform in Manchester in the late 1970s. Initially calling themselves Warsaw, the band unleashed a form of punk that had all of the genre's calling cards and yet was too moody and emotional to fall under the strict leather and bondage pants guidelines quickly being established. By the time the band took the name Joy Division in late 1977, they were creating repetitive, tuneful dirges that could explode into frustration or travel into bleak, romantic territory marked by paranoid atmospherics. Above all, the group sounded like nobody else. The band quickly found solidarity with Tony Wilson and his nascent label, Factory Records. With producer Martin Hannett in tow and Peter Saville's stark design aesthetic, the group forged a sound that exuded despair, pathos and catharsis through punk rock minimalism. Much has been made of vocalist Ian Curtis's spastic, shuddering vocal work, but their music owed as much to Peter Hook's low, distinct bass tone and Bernard Sumner's skittering lead guitar, which provided much of the tension. Throw in Stephen Morris' manic, propulsive, Krautrock-derived drum attacks (thrown up very high in the mix on Hannett's influential, truly amazing production) and you had a sound and an energy that has yet to be reproduced.
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