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Various Artists - Use Hearing Protection: Factory Records 1978-79 (Rhino)

5 September 2019

Not the normal run-of-the-mill box set, but a fitting tribute to a movement, and a moment that changed music forever. As this year marks four-decades since the release of the game-changing Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, Use Hearing Protection: Factory Records 1978-1979 seems a more fitting celebration of that release. It chronicles the build up to that album hitting the streets, with the first ten Factory Records releases reproduced, Fact 1 to Fact 10 respectively, with ten being Unknown Pleasures

Of course the label itself has become something of a cult all of its own. Formed in 1978 by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus, the label gave rise to independent acts sprouting up in Manchester at the close of the decade, launching not only for Joy Division, but The Happy Mondays, Durutti Column, and A Certain Ratio. Eventually going bankrupt in 1992, due in some part to disorganised spending, and the money pit known as the Haçienda

Use Hearing Protection: Factory Records 1978-1979 comes to the world via Rhino, and is a limited run of 4,000, with a hefty price tag which in some part is justified by what it contains. Within the set is 4 vinyl records, 3 posters, a short film, Factory stationery and an egg-timer design. The early history of the label is traced in a 60-page book with text by James Nice, photos by Kevin Cummins and archival interviews with Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton, Joy Division and more.

Apart from the Unknown Pleasures record,  the remaining vinyl consists of The Factory Sample EP (Fac 2), All Night Party by A Certain Ratio (Fac 5), and Electricity by OMD (Fac 6). With further bonus items including a white label 12” single by The Tiller Boys (originally intended as FAC3 but ultimately not released), and a lengthy audio interview with Joy Division, Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton, conducted in August 1979 by journalist Mary Harron. This interview has never been heard before, and is now restored across two CDs. Also, newly restored, and seldom seen since 1979, is evocative 8mm short No City Fun (Fac 9), featuring music by Joy Division. 

A wet dream for completists, there is no doubt that this will be a hot ticket when it becomes available on October 11. But it does not end there, as the following month sees the re-release of Factory Communications 1978 – 92 . A limited run of eight, silver vinyl lps replicating the 2009 CD box set. Featuring all original 63 tracks plus a forty-page booklet. Factory Records was the most important independent label to emerge in the post-punk era, a celebration this extensive is long overdue. 

Box Set Inclusions: 

FAC 1: 1978 Poster (63cm x 84cm)

FAC 2: ‘A Factory Sample’ 2×7” vinyl 

Side A:
Joy Division: ‘Digital’
Joy Division: ‘Glass’

Side B:
Durutti Column: ‘No Communication’
Durutti Column: ’Thin Ice’

Side C:
John Dowie: ‘Acne’
John Dowie: ‘Idiot’
John Dowie: ‘Hitler’s Liver’

Side D
Cabaret Voltaire: ‘Baader-Meinhof’
Cabaret Voltaire: ‘Sex in Secret’

FAC 3: 1978 Poster (63cm x 44.5cm)

FAC 4: 1978 Poster (63cm x 44.5cm)

FAC 5: A Certain Ratio: ‘All Night Party’ / ‘Thin Boys’ 7” single

FAC 6: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: ‘Electricity’ / ‘Almost’ 7” single

FAC 7: Stationery – May 1979

FAC 8: Menstrual Abacus aka The Factory Egg Timer – presented on A4 Print

FAC 9: No City Fun aka The Factory Flick, 1979, presented on DVD

FACT 10: Joy Division: ‘Unknown Pleasures’ 12” album, June 1979

12” Single: Tiller Boys: ‘Big Noise from the Jungle’ / ‘Slaves and Pyramids’ / ‘What Me Worry?’
2CDs of Joy Division interviews

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