The 40th anniversary of the iconic Manchester label is being celebrated through the release of two limited box sets and a special exhibition.
Factory Records was an independent label set up in 1978 by Tony Wilson alongside Alan Erasmus, Martin Hannett and Peter Saville. The label was deeply entrenched in the Manchester music scene for many years and was closely associated with the groups Joy Division and their transformation into New Order, A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column, OMD (briefly) and The Happy Mondays.
Factory became synonymous with Hannett's exploratory and experimental production techniques such as those employed on Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures and also with Peter Saville's iconic artwork and graphic design. The label was unique for its eschewing of traditional music industry formalities - for better and worse, such as the oft-told story of how they managed to lose money on New Order's 'Blue Monday' due to a combination of expensive packaging and incredible sales.
The label also employed a unique cataloguing system (FAC) which it applied not only to its music releases but everything else too; from posters to buildings. Factory's infamous nightclub The Hacienda, which eventually became a mecca in the Madchester days, was known as FAC51.
Use Hearing Protection: Factory Records 1978-79
Contains the first ten numbers records and objects from Factory. Four records (The Factory Sample EP, 'All Night Party' by A Certain Ratio, 'Electricity 'by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and 'Unknown Pleasures' by Joy Division), the three original Factory posters, a short film, stationary and even an egg timer. A 60-page coffee table book on the history of the label is also included as well as bonus items including a 12” single by The Tiller Boys (originally intended as FAC3 but ultimately not released) and never-before-heard lengthy audio interview with Joy Division, Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton from 1979.
It will be released 11th October 2019 and is strictly limited to 4000 units worldwide. More info and pre-orders can be found here.
Factory Communications 1978 - 92
A limited-edition boxed set with 8LP's on silver vinyl and a 40-page booklet with sleeve notes written by Paul Morley. Originally released as a 4CD collection in 2009 as a tribute to the label's founder Tony Wilson, it collates 63 rare and obscure tracks from a diverse range of acts including cuts from New Order, Joy Division, The Durutti Column, Happy Mondays, Electronic, A Certain Ratio, Section 25 and many others.
It will be released 8th November 2019 as a limited run of 500 units. More info and pre-orders can be found here.
Use Hearing Protection FAC 1 – 50 / 40
Is an exhibition celebrating factory records 40th anniversary at the Chelsea Space, London and will from 13th September - 26th October 2019. It was curated by Jon Savage and Mat Bancroft and details the formative years of the record label by bringing together the first 50 numbered Factory artefacts. Alongside these are rare and unseen materials from people's personal archives and period-relevant items of influence. All of which 'combine to describe a period and atmosphere from which Factory was proposed and realised, underpinning its revolutionary cultural impact on the music, art, design and ideas of our times.'.
Find out more about the exhibition by visiting this link.
An expanded exhibition, with the Use Hearing Protection, FAC 1-50 objects at its core is being developed by the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester.