Organisation (album)

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Organisation
Studio album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Released 24 October 1980 (1980-10-24)
Recorded 1980, Ridge Farm Studio, Rusper; Advision Studios, West End
Genre Synthpop, dark wave
Length 40:05
Label Dindisc
Producer OMD and Mike Howlett
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark chronology
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
(1980)
Organisation
(1980)
Architecture & Morality
(1981)
Singles from Organisation
  1. "Enola Gay"
    Released: 26 September 1980 (1980-09-26)

Organisation is the second album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released in 1980. "Enola Gay" was the only single taken from the record. Malcolm Holmes had played drums with OMD before, notably on "Julia's Song" which was featured on the band's debut album, and for Organisation he was recruited as a full-time member replacing the TEAC tape recorder affectionately named "Winston". "The More I See You" is a cover of a song written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren in 1945, and popularised by Chris Montez in 1966. The record was remastered and re-released in 2003, with several bonus tracks.

Organisation has received generally favourable reviews. Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson has hailed the record as the finest of OMD's career.[1]

Album information[edit]

As with all OMD's early sleeve art, it was created by Peter Saville Associates and features a photograph by Richard Nutt of the cloud-covered peak of Marsco, in the Red Cuillin hills, overlooking Glen Sligachan on the Isle of Skye with Allt Dearg Mòr in the foreground. The album's title refers to the band Organisation, a precursor to Kraftwerk.

The album is notable for its melancholy tone. The band said that at the time they had been heavily influenced by Joy Division; this can be traced through Organisation’s use of jarring drum sounds and moody songs. Also notable is OMD's move away from pure Gary Numan-Kraftwerk-ian pop, embracing a grander sound, an increasing use of acoustic instruments, and sound collages. The group would continue to expand their sound this way on the next two albums Architecture & Morality and Dazzle Ships. The advances of Organisation and Architecture & Morality are made all the more impressive by the fact they were recorded and released within eighteen months of each other.[citation needed]

Sole single "Enola Gay" could be perhaps perceived as deceiving, as it had little in common with the style of the rest of the album, even though its subject matter is poetically grim. It bears much in common with the sound of the group's debut album. Andy McCluskey is noted as saying it was written at the time of most of the debut was written.

"Motion and Heart" was also considered for a single release, but was dropped. A new recording was made which was released as a B-Side to Architecture & Morality’s "Souvenir" and can be found on the remastered edition of that album.

"VCL XI" was the name of Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys' short lived group, which itself was named after a valve on the back of Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity album (although the name of the valve is actually written "VCL 11" on the Kraftwerk album).

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[2]
Colin Larkin 4/5 stars[3]
Julian Cope presents Head Heritage (favourable)[4]
Melody Maker (favourable)[5]
Pitchfork Media (6.2/10)[6]
Q 4/5 stars[7]
Sounds (favourable)[8]

Dave McCullough in Sounds wrote: "OMITD are a youth-mirror more valuable than any street chic punk outfit I can imagine. OMITD are warmer than your so-called "warm" bands, your [Bruce] Springsteens, your [Graham] Parkers could ever be. They reflect the young horror of where and how we live but...they face the problems with an irrepressible intuitive sense that makes the best pop of any time."[8] In his review for Melody Maker, Lynden Barber said: "With their second album, OMD have produced not so much a collection of songs as a pervading mood, a feeling of restlessness spiked by an unsettling edge that never allows the music to descend into complacency...the music here represents a very healthy step forward."[5]

The album has received positive retrospective appraisals. In his review for AllMusic, Ned Raggett opined: "If OMD's debut album showed the band could succeed just as well on full-length efforts as singles, Organisation upped the ante even further, situating the band in the enviable position of at once being creative innovators and radio-friendly pop giants. That was shown as much by the astounding lead track and sole single from the album, "Enola Gay"...Organisation is packed with a number of gems, showing the band's reach and ability continuing to increase."[2] Raggett's colleague Dave Thompson praised the group's "inspired" cover of "The More I See You", asserting that OMD "totally reinvented the number, bringing a startling new reading to the song."[9]

A review published in Julian Cope presents Head Heritage was very enthusiastic. It stated: "Organisation is one of those albums that takes quite a few plays to get to love but is well worth the effort...now that the long unsung [1983 record] Dazzle Ships has finally been given its due, maybe it's time for this oft-neglected second album to emerge from the shadows."[4] Pitchfork Media journalist Scott Plagenhoef was less enthused, but still favourable. He said: "OMD's second LP Organisation was hastily released...and it sure sounds like it. Typically, a sophomore rush job means a band is cowardly -- quickly rolling out more of the same -- or taking a wide-eyed bid at chart stardom. For OMD, it meant recoiling from the spotlight, regrouping to make a willfully dark album."[6]

Legacy[edit]

Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson championed the record in a 2012 piece for MusicRadar. He said: "Organisation is [OMD's] second album. It's not their biggest record, but I think it's probably their best. It's got that Teutonic, Germanic kind of cold wave thing going on, which I've always been a sucker for."[1]

The New Musical Express named Organisation as one of the 50 best albums of 1980.[10] The record was listed in Slicing Up Eyeballs' "Best of the '80s" in March 2013, being ranked as one of the top 35 albums of 1980 based on 3,360 reader votes.[11]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Enola Gay"   Andy McCluskey 3:33
2. "2nd Thought"   McCluskey 4:15
3. "VCL XI"   Paul Humphreys, McCluskey 3:50
4. "Motion and Heart"   Humphreys, McCluskey 3:16
5. "Statues"   McCluskey 4:30
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "The Misunderstanding"   Humphreys, McCluskey 4:55
7. "The More I See You"   Harry Warren, Mack Gordon 4:11
8. "Promise"   Humphreys 4:51
9. "Stanlow"   Humphreys, McCluskey 6:30
Total length:
40:05

US release (O.M.D.)[edit]

Organisation was not formally released in the US Instead Epic Records released a compilation in 1981. The US release collects material from Organisation and the first OMD album, but retains the sleeve-art of the debut LP.

2003 remaster[edit]

Notes[edit]

"Annex" was the B-side to "Enola Gay", and it is arguably more representative of the album than the A-side.[citation needed] "Introducing Radios", "Distance Fades between Us", "Progress", and "Once When I Was Six" are tracks that were originally available on a 7" released with the first 10.000 copies of Organisation, and initial copies of the cassette.

Personnel[edit]

  • Paul Humphreys – synthesizers, electronic organ, electronic and acoustic piano, rhythm programming, acoustic and electronic percussion and vocals
  • Andy McCluskey – synthesizer, bass guitar, electronic organ, treated acoustic piano, rhythm programming, acoustic and electronic percussion and vocals
  • Malcolm Holmes – drums and percussion

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wilson, Steven (17 September 2012). "Steven Wilson: my top 5 not-so-guilty pleasures of all time". MusicRadar. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Organisation (album) at AllMusic
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin. The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music. Virgin Books. 1997. ISBN 0753501597. p. 350.
  4. ^ a b "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Organisation". Julian Cope presents Head Heritage. 30 October 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Waller, Johnny; Humphreys, Mike. Messages. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1987. ISBN 0-283-99234-4. p. 80.
  6. ^ a b Plagenhoef, Scott (18 July 2003). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark / Organisation / Architecture & Morality album reviews". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Q (May 2003). 
  8. ^ a b McCullough, Dave. Sounds (25 October 1980). 
  9. ^ Thompson, Dave. The More I See You - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. AllMusic. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  10. ^ 1980 NME Albums at Rocklist.
  11. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1980: Slicing Up Eyeballs’ Best of the ’80s — Part 1". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.