COOL AS ICE
THE BE MUSIC PRODUCTIONS 1983-85
The tag Be Music (or B-Music, taken from the name of New Order's publishing company) was first employed by Peter Hook for the production of Stockholm Monsters' Death is Slowly Coming, which appeared on the flipside of the Martin Hannett produced single Fairy Tales, in February 1982. From this point on the oblique appellation was used by all four members of New Order as a moniker for a string of often breathtakingly innovative productions on Factory Records and its affiliated labels, but disappeared after 1985.
A quick headcount reveals that more than a dozen artists and bands on Factory - ranging from the well-known (Section 25, Quando Quango, 52nd Street) to the terminally obscure (Ad Infinitum, Red Turns To) - benefited from the technical know-how, programming skills and support of Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Steve Morris and Gillian Gilbert. Then again, it's also true to say that these studio exercises gave New Order the opportunity to road test their latest high-tech equipment as and when they acquired it. The band had begun producing their own records with Temptation in May 1982, although the Be Music period really begins with the watershed Blue Monday, released in March 1983, and ends as the band got busy with their third album, Low Life, released in May 1985.
This compilation concentrates mainly on Be Music's dance music productions, no few of which also involve another criminally underrated Factory in-house producer, Donald Johnson (DoJo), drummer of A Certain Ratio. The chemistry between Johnson and Sumner seemed always to yield classic results, particularly on Looking From A Hilltop, Reach For Love and Cool As Ice - the latter produced by DoJo alone, albeit with synth programming by Sumner. Interviewed for the NME in April 1983 Tony Henry of 52nd Street said about Cool As Ice: "The track came about because we asked Bernard from New Order to come down to the studio and do a synthesiser and sequencer session for us and we all started messing around with his things. Cool As doesn't have a colour to it. That's the best thing about it, that it could have been done by a black or a white band." But the comment applies equally to most of these cuts.
Oddly, when most of these seminal dance productions appeared between 1983 and 1984 they were often ignored by the press, and overlooked by the public in the UK and Europe. By this time Factory had become highly unfashionable, partly due to New Order's refusal to talk to the press, while in Britain a large tranche of the indie sector cognoscenti had moved on to bands like The Smiths. Indeed Johnny Marr was somewhat reluctant to reveal that he'd guested on the Quando Quango track Atom Rock, cut in April 1984. Across the Atlantic, however, the story played out very differently indeed. Records by Quando Quango, 52nd Street and Section 25 were picked up in clubs like the Paradise Garage in NYC, scored heavily on the black and gay scenes, were remixed for the US market by luminaries such as Mark Kamins, Arthur Baker and John 'Jellybean' Benitez, and made the Billboard dance charts.
All of which is more than a little ironic, since in May 1982 the four members of New Order, together with Factory, had opened The Hašienda, a club modeled on the early 80's NYC clubs, which until 1986 stayed mostly empty on bandless nights. Too far ahead of their time? Evidently. But don't accept the more recent received wisdom that Factory blew it in 1989 by starting a classical label instead on concentrating on dance music. Five years earlier, they'd already proved their point, and on this collection you can hear the evidence.
Be Music also produced a number of other artists, both for Factory and beyond. Bernard Sumner produced Foreign Press for EMI, as well as Shark Vegas, Surprize and Happy Mondays. Peter Hook inclined towards the rockier end of the spectrum, working with Stockholm Monsters, Lavolta Lakota, Ad Infinitum, Some Now Are, The Royal Family and the Poor , Inspiral Carpets and the Stone Roses, and more recently Hybrid and Jobe. Steve Morris and Gillian Gilbert were less active as producers, with Red Turns To as well as Life and Thick Pigeon, although they also played on the Winston Tong single Theoretical China. As Be Music, New Order were also responsible for the jolly Fac 51b Xmas flexi in 1982, featuring Rocking Carol and Ode to Joy.
From Manchester, funk contenders 52nd Street released three sterling singles on Factory - Look Into My Eyes (1982), Cool As Ice (1983) and Can't Afford To Let You Go (1984) before moving on to Ten/Virgin, where they cut two albums, Children of the Night (1986) and Something's Going On (1987). Cool As Ice was a cult club hit in New York and was remixed by John 'Jellybean' Benitez for the US market, where the band were signed to A&M.; Both singles included here feature excellent, repetitive basslines sequenced on the Roland SH101 and MC202. Further details: www.xs4all.nl/~prism/pages/52ndstreet.htm
Can't Afford To Let You Go recorded and mixed at Strawberry North. Produced by Be Music (Steve Morris) and edited by Malcolm Whitehead at Ikon. Written by Tony Henry. Published by Haulgh Songs. Originally released as a 12" single on Factory Records (Fac 118) in September 1984. Here released under licence from 52nd Street/Gwarn Music. Personnel: Tony Henry, Derek Johnson, John Dennison, Tony Thompson and Diane Charlemagne.
Cool As Ice recorded at Revolution Studios, Cheadle Hulme. Produced by Dojo. Synth programming by Be Music (Bernard Sumner). Engineered by John Gluck and Oz. Saxophone by Mike Pickering. Written by Henry, Johnson, Dennison, Thompson, MacDonald. Published by Haulgh Songs/Island Music. Originally released as a 12" single on Factory Benelux (FBN 20) in February 1983. Here released under licence from 52nd Street/Gwarn Music. Personnel: Tony Henry, Derek Johnson, John Dennison, Tony Thompson and Beverley MacDonald.
Formed in Holland in 1981 by Hillegonda 'Gonnie' Rietveld and Mike Pickering, electronic dance pioneers Quando Quango relocated to Manchester in May 1982 and hooked up with Factory for four singles and a Mark Kamins produced album, Pigs and Battleships (1985). Better appreciated in the States (Love Tempo hit number 4 in the Billboard dance chart), and way ahead of their time, Quando offered a cosmopolitan dance concept which covered all points (and beats) between soul, funk, electro, reggae and The Slits. Mike went on to rock the Hacienda as a DJ, and later formed T Coy and M People. After gaining her Doctorate with a study of house music culture, Hillegonda publishes academically in this field, such as her book This Is Our House (1998). She occasionally DJs and is currently Senior Lecturer at a London university. Further details: www.ltmpub.freeserve.co.uk/qqbio.html
Love Tempo recorded at Revolution Studios, Cheadle Hulme, in 1983. Produced by Be Music (Bernard Sumner) and Dojo. Engineered by Stuart Pickering. Written by Mike Pickering and Hillegonda Rietveld. Published by Island Music. Originally released as a 12" single on Factory Benelux (FBN 23) in July 1983. Here released under licence from Mike Pickering and Hillegonda Rietveld. Personnel: Mike Pickering, Hillegonda Rietveld, Donald Johnson (guitar and percussion).
Atom Rock recorded at Revolution Studios, Cheadle Hulme, in April 1984. Produced by Be Music (Bernard Sumner) and Dojo. Written by Mike Pickering and Hillegonda Rietveld. Published by Island Music. Originally released as a 12" single on Factory Records (Fac 102) in June 1984. Here released under licence from Mike Pickering and Hillegonda Rietveld. Personnel: Mike Pickering, Hillegonda Rietveld, Simon Topping, Johnny Marr.
Thanks to Bernard Sumner's production skills, Blackpool psych voyagers Section 25 found themselves transformed into electro pioneers on their 1984 album From The Hip. Remade and remodelled for release as a 12" single by Sumner and Johnson, Looking From a Hilltop became an underground club and airplay hit in the US, and has since been sampled by Orbital, The Shamen, Code 3, Bis and countless others. Their North American tour in January 1985 synthesized acid house avant la lettre, and influenced many in Chicago, Detroit and NYC. The 12" version of Beating Heart reached the test pressing stage in June 1983, but finally appeared only as a 7", thus denying Section 25 the honour of being the first band to immortalize the classic Roland TB303 acid squiggle on wax. Further details: www.ltmpub.freeserve.co.uk/sxxvbio.html
Looking From a Hilltop (Megamix) produced in January 1985 by Be Music (Bernard Sumner) and Dojo. Written by Jenny Cassidy, Larry Cassidy, Vin Cassidy and Lee Shallcross. Published by Crepuscule/Copyright Control. Originally released as a 12" single on Factory Records (Fac 108) in June 1985. Here released under licence from Section 25. Personnel: Jenny Cassidy, Larry Cassidy, Vin Cassidy and Lee Shallcross.
Beating Heart (12" Remix) produced in early1983 by Be Music (Bernard Sumner). Not a brilliant arrangement, perhaps, but an important milestone both for Section 25 and Be Music. Written by Larry Cassidy and Vin Cassidy. Published by Crepuscule (Sabam). Originally to have been released as a 12" single on Factory Records (12 Fac 68) in June 1983. Here released under licence from Section 25. Personnel: Jenny Cassidy, Larry Cassidy, Vin Cassidy and Lee Shallcross.
From Manchester, Marcel King scored a UK #1 hit (Sad Sweet Dreamer) with the group Sweet Sensation in 1974, and should have matched this performance with the classic Reach For Love, his one-off single for Factory ten years later. It didn't happen, but Shaun Ryder still swears Reach For Love was the best single Factory released. The track was remixed by Mark Kamins for the US market. Sadly Marcel died of a brain haemorrhage in October 1995.
Reach For Love produced by Be Music (Bernard Sumner), DoJo and Fruitz. Written by Marcel King. Published by Davenhall Music. Originally released as a 12" single on Factory Records (Fac 92) in March 1984. Here released by kind permission of the Estate of Marcel King.
After splitting post-punk great white hope Josef K in the summer of 1981, enigmatic frontman Paul Haig pursued an eclectic career path rooted in dance and intelligent pop. Recorded in Manchester, The Only Truth welds slap bass and Chic-ey guitar (played by Haig) to classic electro beats, and originally appeared as a 12" single on Crepuscule in 1984. Haig also worked with Cabaret Voltaire, Mantronix and Lil' Louis. Further details: www.rolinc.co.uk
The Only Truth (12" Mix) recorded at Roundhouse, London and produced by Be Music (Bernard Sumner), DoJo and RoL. Written by Paul Haig. Published by Dawn Certainty/Island Music. Originally released as a 12" single on Les Disques du Crepuscule (TWI 390) in October 1984. Here released under licence from Crepuscule. Personnel: Paul Haig, Bernard Sumner, Donald Johnson.
Hull band talent spotted by Peter Hook, who produced their lone single for Factory Benelux in 1984. Hook had seen the sleeve of their debut single at Cargo Studio and liked the sleeve. Nyam Nyam were supposed to remain with Factory but instead signed to Situation 2 for the rather less Moroder-esque album Hope of Heaven (1984) and an ep, The Architect (1985). Singer Paul Trynka later went on to edit esteemed UK music monthly Mojo.
Fate/Hate recorded at Strawberry Studios, Stockport in October 1983. Produced by Be Music (Peter Hook). Engineered by Chris Jones. Written by Nyam Nyam. Copyright Control. Originally released as a 12" single on Factory Benelux (FBN 28) in April 1984. Here released under licence from Nyam Nyam. Personnel: Paul Trynka, Trevor Simpson, Steve Jessop, Tim Allison.
One of the more mysterious artists to record for the Crepuscule/Factory axis, Thick Pigeon was essentially a vehicle for songwriter Stanton Miranda and arranger Carter Burwell. Based in New York, the duo recorded a brace of minimalist singles for Crepuscule between 1981 and 1982 before moving to Factory for their first album, Too Crazy Cowboys. The album was produced by Steve Morris and Gillian Gilbert, and engineered by Chris Nagle. Morris and Gilbert also guested on the later club-friendly single Wheels Over Indian Trails (1986). Carter Burwell has since scored over fifty major motion pictures, including all films by the Coen brothers. Further details: www.ltmpub.freeserve.co.uk/tpbio.html
Babcock + Wilcox recorded in Manchester in late 1983 and produced by Be Music (Steve Morris and Gillian Gilbert). Written by Stanton Miranda. Published by Copyright Control. Originally released as an album track on Too Crazy Cowboys (Fact 85) in September 1984. Here released under licence from Stanton Miranda. Personnel: Stanton Miranda, Carter Burwell, Steve Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Kim Gilbert, Karen Brown.
Manchester band with great potential formed in 1984 by New Order crew member Andy Robinson together with guitarist Graham Ellis and singer Rita Griffiths. Two excellent pop singles appeared on Factory - Tell Me (Fac 106, July 1984) and Optimism (Fac 122, April 1985) - both produced by Steve Morris with Gillian Gilbert. Factory Benelux also released a French language version of Tell Me, Dites Moi. The band also played several dates with New Order and Durutti Column. Shame they never made it as far as an album. Andy Robinson went on to manage New Order.
Tell Me produced by Be Music (Steve Morris and Gillian Gilbert). Written by Life. Copyright Control. Originally released as a 7" single on Factory (Fact 106) in April 1984. Here released under licence from Life. Personnel: as above.
BE MUSIC THEME
Recorded by Peter Hook in 1983 as intro music for Stockholm Monsters gigs, at a time when he often mixed their sound live. The track was later released on the Crepuscule compilation album The Quick Neat Job (TWI 643) in January 1986. Written and produced by Peter Hook. Copyright Control. Here released under licence from Peter Hook.
Associated releases available via LTM:
Quando Quango Pigs + Battleships (LTMCD 2360)
Section 25 From the Hip (LTMCD 2314)
Paul Haig The Warp of Pure Fun (LTMCD 2378)
Thick Pigeon Too Crazy Cowboys (LTMCD 2342)
Stockholm Monsters Alma Mater (LTMCD 2330)
Stockholm Monsters All At Once (LTMCD 2337)
Royal Family & the Poor Temple of the 13th Tribe (BOUCD 6608)
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