"Atmosphere" is a song by English post-punk band Joy Division. It was originally released in 1980 by record label Sordide Sentimental as "Licht und Blindheit", a France-only limited edition single featuring the track "Dead Souls" as the B-side. Following Ian Curtis' death the same year, it was released as a double A-sided single by record label Factory with "She's Lost Control" as the B-side.
The single was re-released in 1988 to coincide with the release of the compilation album Substance, and a music video was produced for the song. Bassist Peter Hook has since said he regards the song as the band's greatest.
The song was originally released on 18 March 1980 by record label Sordide Sentimental as a France-only single under the title "Licht und Blindheit" (German for "Light and Blindness"). It was limited to 1578 copies and featured the track "Dead Souls" as the B-side.
Following the death of lead singer Ian Curtis in May 1980, "Atmosphere" was released as a double A-sided single with "She's Lost Control". "Atmosphere" was the A-side for the UK release but the B-side for the US release. "She's Lost Control" is an alternative version of the one that appears on the band's debut album Unknown Pleasures. The single peaked at number 1 in New Zealand in August 1981, and it would later re-chart there in July 1984 (number 17) and when it was reissued in August 1988 (number 5). "Atmosphere" also hit number 34 in the UK Singles Chart during June 1988.
The single was re-released in 1988 to coincide with the release of the compilation album Substance.
A music video was released for the song with the single's re-release in 1988. It contains characters wearing black-hooded cloaks and white burial shrouds. It was directed by Anton Corbijn (who later directed the Ian Curtis biopic Control; some home editions of the film contain the music video as an extra).
Ned Raggett of AllMusic wrote, "'Atmosphere' is another one of those prime Joy Division songs, like 'Transmission' or 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', where Martin Hannett's production becomes so essential to the end result that it couldn't have been heard otherwise", noting that, in regards to Ian Curtis' mental state and subsequent death, "there's a feeling of a requiem here, an awesome musical farewell."