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Artwork defined; rock/pop.

Byline: ROB EVANS

THIS book offers a glorious and comprehensive resume of the artwork that, as much as the music itself, defined the creed of Factory Records, one of the most important British record labels of the last three decades.

From the earliest creation ('Fac 1' was a poster advertising a series of gigs in May/June 1978 that featured The Duretti Column, Cabaret Voltaire & Joy Division) to the last ('Fac 372' being the cover of a 1992 Happy Mondays single, 'Sunshine and Love'), the coterie of artists, designers and musicians involved established a canon of imagery, so arresting and distinctive in style.

The early factory iconography of in-house graphic genius Peter Saville laid the foundations for over a decade of visual innovation.

Saville's work was vital too for the social and economic fabric of Manchester as a whole, emboldening the populace of a decaying city, granting them the artistic licence to assert their identity in a rapidly changing nation.

Saville, along with subsequent Factory cohorts such as Mark Farrow and Trevor Johnson took inspiration from such diverse schools as Dada, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art.

Indeed, Factory's artwork was infused by the city itself, culminating notably in the creation of the Hacienda, one of the most famous nightclubs in history and a temple of futurist design.

The freewheeling abandon, idiosyncratic verve and joyful innovation that so characterised Factory's art is beautifully illustrated in this tome (including a foreword by the label's sadly departed creator, Tony Wilson), with concise and informative detail throughout. The chronological layout enables the reader to chart the fluxing mores of both the label and the times in which it lived, from the militant flair of the Saville/Joy Division works to the Day-Glo psychedelic of the Central Station Design/Happy Mondays covers and those of their 'Madchester' era peers. This book - itself given a Factory catalogue number, 'Fac 461' - is wonderfully functional, vivid and enervating, much in the image of the label itself.

A must read.

ROB EVANS

FACTO RY RECORDS - THE COMPLETE GRAPHIC ALBUM by Matthew Robertson, Foreword by Tony Wilson, published in paperback by Thames and Hudson priced pounds 18.95. Available now.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 28, 2008
Words:361
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