Wednesday, March 10, 2010

two by two


Any serious New Order fan has always had a helluva time collecting their favorite band's audio output. Their side projects have multiplied over time. With the recent release of Bernard Sumner's new band, Bad Lieutenant, and the butchering of NO's remastered catalog campaign, now seems like as good a time as any to give a brush up to some of the band's other splinter activities.

During their many downtimes when the band members were sick to death of each other's company, New Order's drummer Stephen Morris and his keyboard playing wife, Gillian Gilbert, released two albums as The Other Two. It's a clever moniker for the duo after Bernard collaborated with Johnny Marr on Electronic and Peter Hook released a few longplayers as Revenge and then Monaco.

Both albums by The Other Two have been reissued through LTM Recordings, each one lovingly adorned with bonus tracks. FYI, LTM stands for Le Temps Moderne. That smells of sophistication!

From the airy keyboard sequence and the sampled, horny horn stabs of the intro, you could be forgiven for mistaking The Other Two's debut single and album opener, "Tasty Fish", for a New Order track. It even continues the NO tradition of daft titles which don't relate to a song's lyrics. You can even imagine Gillian's vocals being sung by Bernard Sumner.



Essentially, half the album sounds like songs that weren't marked for inclusion on NO's sixth longplayer, "Republic", which, coincidentally, was produced by mega producer Stephen Hague who twiddled the knobs for "The Other Two And You". It's a combination of sparkly pop tunes and moody instrumentals.

Although "Tasty Fish" was released on the legendary Factory label the duo's debut album eventually appeared on New Order's Centerdate imprint through London a mere six months after "Republic" was released and two years on from the appearance of their debut single. Still, "The Other Two And You" was originally given selection number FACT 330 as it was recorded before the demise of Factory.

What you may not know is that Kim Wilde was in discussions as the lead singer on the album. Imagine the possibilities!

Here's the video for their second single, "Selfish". Stephen and Gillian do their best Everything But The Girl impression!



The reissue of "The Other Two And You", features the original UK sleeve rather than the amended cover which sports a lovely, close up shot of Stephen and Gillian.

Four tracks are suspicious in their absence, the Love To Infinity remix and dub of "Innocence", which was only released on a 12" single in the US, and Ashley Beedle's mixes of "Selfish". This is explained by the fact that the reissued edition of the album has been plumped up to a running time of 76 minutes.

"Superhighways", their second longplayer, followed in 1999. Vocal duties are shared by Gillian and Melanie Williams, best known for her memorable vocal turn on rave classic "Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)" by Sub Sub. Interesting to note that O2, as they are known by NO fans, sound remarkably like Dubstar on a few tracks which is odd considering "Superhighways" was released right around the time Dubstar called it quits.

The reissue of "Superhighways" has been similarly expanded. Busting at the seams, LTM have crammed 76 minutes of audio pleasure on one silver disc. The bonus tracks include Andy Votel's mix "Superhighways", Cevin Fisher's remix of "You Can Fly" and a reswizzled take on "Tasty Fish" by K-klass. Unfortunately, the Quake mixes of "You Can Fly" didn't make the cut.

A video for "You Can Fly", which was withdrawn as the first single from "Superhighways", was lensed and we have the full color, visual proof.



If you order both CDs from the LTM website, they will send you a bonus CD of tracks that didn't make the cut. A few of the remixes I mentioned above are among them. The CD is housed in a plain cardboard sleeve with a white sticker adhered to the front. It sort of feels like buying one of those flesh fantasy mags at the convenience store.

If I have one bone to pick with LTM regarding the O2 reissues, it would be the duplication of the liner notes in both booklets. They are identical. Simply copied and pasted from one into the other.

I guess the purse strings were tightened on the budgets. How.....selfish! Did you see what I did there? Oh, we do know how to have a good laugh. Hardy har.

4 comments:

  1. I held out for the UK pressing of the debut album which had a gorgeous mirrorcard insert. Nice album, but by the time of the 2nd I'd gotten over New Order. I was just at the LTM site recently and saw these. The whole shebang with the "white label" bonus disc is nice, but yeah. LTM tend to cut corners on the liner notes. I have all of their Gina X Performance discs and as I recall, you only needed to read one of them, as they were repeated for each release.

    I worship LTM. Their taste in reissues is perfection, but perhaps they should call on the fans to write the liner notes, yes?

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  2. Just a note of caution on these - they've been compressed and mastered VERY loudly. If you're concerned at all with fidelity then track down the original London CDs.

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  3. "perhaps they should call on the fans to write the liner notes"

    LTM *have* done that for some of the bands they've reissued.

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