The Transmission of a Legend

Southern Steve: ‘Legend’ Mp3

Love Will Tear Us Apart might be Joy Division’s best known song, but Transmission probably should be. It’s a better representation of the band’s musical and lyrical power.

Transmission…Radio, Live Transmission…Dance to the Radio…Listen to the Silence…Touching From A Distance…The Language of Sound…

All of those lyrical fragments have been used as the names of bootlegs, books, Myspace sites, magazines, 80s music nights, cover bands, and all hark back to the power of this one song.

The 1979 single version is fine enough but the earlier, slower version on the RCA demo is even better in my view; the band almost stand back from the song and allow that slow, arrogant two-note bass line and the rumbling drums to do their work.

Joy Division – Transmission MP3 (RCA Demo Version).

There is an excellent drum break at the end of this track, with Steven Morris  left to slow down the tempo on his own after the rest of the band have stopped playing.  It’s a gift to the would-be sampler, containing that hallmark “Joy Division move” as my mate Fraser recently described it: a single tom hit just after the 3rd beat snare, giving the whole thing that lurching, robotic feel. It’s the sound of the classic Joy Division flawed machine.

In my own tune, Legend, I’ve backed up those drums with a midi track including some syn-tom sounds a bit like the ones on Closer, another two note bassline, and some guitar and bass chords with valve distortion and delay, to replicate the sound of the band live, on an album like Live at Eindhoven.

I like the sound, but even as I was doing this song, it occurred to me what a forlorn process it all was, and the lyrics that came to me ended up being about the emptiness of replicating a long-gone original…

It’s Just a Legend

An Empty Legend

A Cold and Empty Legend

You Heard a Dream

And Tried to Make it Real

Anyway, I’ll be back later with some more maunderings,

GSS, feeling alright but a little bogged down,  Aug 2009.

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Cold Light of Day

The beginning of ‘Disorder’ from Unknown Pleasures has a drum track I have always wanted to sample, and now that’s something I can cross of my to-do list before I head to the mountains again.

Mp3 – Great Southern Steve: Cold Light of Day

I like the bass and guitar and swirly keys enough to call this a keeper, although the lyrics – a maudlin epic about a vampire who feels regret about never seeing daylight – are kind of silly, and could easily be replaced if I have a better idea. I’m planning an EP of stuff like this so a better version / mix is very likely.

Warning: my vampire fetish is entirely whimsical, but seriously, if you are that obsessive kind of person who still lights a candle on Ian’s death-day, don’t listen to this, it will annoy you.

The Weather is Far Away

Mp3 Link – The Weather is Far Away

I have this thing about cumulus mammatus clouds. They look so close to the ground, but also kind of otherworldly, like something is about to reach down out of the sky and strart grabbing people. They seemed a perfect cover image for a pop song I wrote in 2005 about the day the sky fell down, The Shortest Day.

At the same time I was writing a new wave tune for a guy called ‘Chicago Greg’ on the Punk Planet Message Board who has a thing for the weather. He’s one of those guys who is always looking up the wind conditions in some obscure Russian peninsula, even though he has no intention of gong there. The colder it is somewhere else, the better he likes it, it seems, although he often complains about Chicago’s bitter winters. The first track is for him.

The Weather is Far Away is a 4-song EP I made between 2005 and 2007, fleshed out with an instrumental and another song, both about bush-walking. The drums on tracks 2 and 3 are by Joy Division‘s legendary drummer, Steven Morris, from their first album Warsaw. When I put this up in Myspace, New Order befriended me, which I thought was very sweet of them.

Basic Mp3 files of all tracks are free to download here. Wave files are available if you want to use any of the music for commercial purposes (contact me).

The Weather is Far Away

A Walk on My Own

Cornalees

The Shortest Day

The album art is right here for use in Nero or whatever – bear in mind that none of the Myspace sites it mentions exist any more.

Front Cover