A Certain Ratio - The Graveyard And The Ballroom
A Certain Ratio were one of the key bands of the evolving post-punk scene in the UK as the 1980s kicked in. Along with Joy Division, Gang of Four and Wire, the band took the ethos and energy of punk and fused it with electronic, funk and jazz for something else entirely. Though their sound was fresh, they took influence from the past as Eno, Miles Davis, James Brown and Kraftwerk lurked within their funk-punk approach. The band’s name reflects this since it was used as a lyric in “The True Wheel” from Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). They were also one of the first bands signed to Factory Records with their debut single, All Night Party, being the 2nd release for the label and the very first single band the label released (after the debut 2x7” comp A Factory Sample).
Their first LP, was technically not an LP at all. The Graveyard And The Ballroom is actually part studio and part live with Side A consisting of the first original songs produced by Martin Hannett and Side B consisting of live tracks recorded by Factory’s Tony Wilson at the Electric Ballroom, London, 10/26/79, opening for Joy Division. Hannett’s singular production style is firmly in place on those studio tracks with his knack for harnessing atmosphere and a minimalist approach. You can hear it on “Flight’ which utilizes creeping electronics, pulsating bass and dynamic drumming. The funk influence is heavy on “Faceless” but with the same angular, grimy approach that Gang Of Four took hold of. Recorded live, the band retains the same gloomy tendencies but with an even more energetic performance. Rhythmically rich and danceable while still being mysterious and strange, A Certain Ratio continued into the 80’s with additional records and touring.
This new edition of The Graveyard And The Ballroom is just part of a series of reissues which will continue next year with more records. (Additionally, To Each is also available now). This is also the first time this record has been issued on LP since the original record came out on cassette in a variety of different colored pouches. This new edition mimics those releases with a green pvc sleeve and green vinyl. Very sweet package. A no brainer for the post-punk lover in your life too. (Dom)
Check out a track here.