I Just Want To See Your Face

In the early 80s Factory signed lots of bands who sounded very Factory. Many of them struggled to escape from the long shadow cast by Joy Division and New Order. Occasionally someone would produce something that stepped forward from those shadows. Section 25’s Looking From A Hilltop, from 1984, is one of those records. The single release had this version on the B-side, produced by Bernard Sumner and Donald Johnson from ACR, it is years ahead of itself. A pulsing bassline, percussion and drum machine way up front, with layers of synths, guitars and noises and hard to hear vocals. It is one of Factory’s most startling moments and despite being eight minutes long it never feels like it. Various underground djs and left of the dial radio stations in the States picked up on it pushing it further onwards. From Blackpool too. Kiss me quick.

Looking From A Hilltop (Megamix)

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Belgian Friends

 

Factory Friday, Durutti Column. Vini Reilly has made something near thirty albums as Durutti Column (him, usually drummer Bruce Mitchell, occasionally a few others). Inside those albums are hundreds of songs, that have attracted a wide variety of labels- post punk, modern-classical, jazz, dream pop- but as Vini has said, and I paraphrase, ‘I don’t know why people get so hung up about forms, they’re all just silly tunes innit?’

In amongst all those hundreds of ‘silly tunes’ there are some moments of brilliance so beautiful words cannot do them justice. For Belgian Friends wasn’t even on a proper album, appearing on the compilation release A Factory Quartet (FACT 24) alongside songs by Kevin Hewick, The Royal Family And The Poor and Blurt. It later turned up on Domo Arigato too. Donald Johnson of ACR plays drums on For Belgian Friends, and his rhythms give it a dancier sensibility, while Vini’s guitar and piano play intertwining melodies. Martin Hannett is at the controls.

For Belgian Friends

This fan-made video is good fun.

Genius

Genius might be overplaying it but it isn’t too far off. Before M-People, before T Coy, Mike Pickering formed Quando Quango with Gonnie Rietveld and her drumming brother Reinier Rietveld. ACR’s drummer Donald Johnson helped out too. They made dance music before such a thing really existed, combining the energy of New York’s early 80s music scene with northern European tastes. Gonnie described it as ‘Fela Kuti meets Kraftwerk somewhere between Manchester and Rotterdam’ This song has manipulated voices, slow and fast, intoning the groups’s name, spiraling piano parts, a Latin vibe and synths. It should have had them bouncing all over the Hacienda’s dancefloor, except this was 1985- The Smiths held sway. And although this song is now thirty years old it still sounds really fresh. I like it so much I think we’ll have two period piece pictures to go with it.

Genius

Looking From A Hilltop

Section 25 came from Blackpool, land of piers, amusement arcades and rides, Kiss-Me-Quick hats and violent pubs. They landed at Factory Records and in 1985 released this 12″ single, following the previous year’s album, an utterly groundbreaking and forward thinking piece of electro-pop, pulsing and throbbing, cold and northern. Produced by Bernard Sumner and Donald Johnson, it is one of the best songs Factory Records put out.

The other side of the 12″ was this eight minute dancefloor version, which does not sound out of place now.

Looking From A Hilltop (Megamix)