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WAR CHILD ‘HEROES’: New Vs. Old, Part 3: Hot Chip

Published: Wed February 11, 2009  News Feed

‘War Child: Heroes’ is the ultimate covers album: an unprecedented coming together of music’s greatest ever legends and today’s best artists in support of a great cause.

Hot Chip

The album concept sees the biggest heroes in music history select a personal favourite track from their own back catalogue, and nominate an act from the next generation to create a modern reworking of that classic song.

Legends supporting the album include: Sir Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, The Clash and U2. Modern artists recording include: Duffy, Scissor Sisters, Elbow, Beck, Rufus Wainwright and Lily Allen.

The album will be released in February 16 2009 on Parlophone. All profits will aid the real heroes: children affected by the brutalities of war.
Preorder now: www.warchild.org.uk/heroes/buy  

All this week we'll compare the original classic tracks and the modern reworkings put together by today’s acts. Plus we talk to the acts involved about the album.

Today: Hot Chip covers "Transmission"

Despite their brief existence, Joy Division garnered a widespread cult following which has resulted in them becoming one of the most significant and defining influences on modern music.

Formed in Manchester after witnessing the raw energy of The Sex Pistols, Joy Division quickly developed a sound and style that pioneered the post-punk movement of the late 1970s. They have become the blueprint for indie rock bands ever since: intense music; intelligent, dark lyrics; and even darker clothes.

A flurry of unpredictable and exciting gigs preceded the 1979 release of Joy Division's debut album ‘Unknown Pleasures’ on cutting-edge Factory Records, and the album was an instant critical hit.

Although the band's success grew and huge fame seemed imminent, vocalist Ian Curtis was beset with depression, and a diagnosis of epilepsy and suffering frequent on-stage seizures only heightened his personal difficulties.

In May 1980, on the eve of the band's first American tour, Curtis, overwhelmed with depression, committed suicide. The band’s second album ‘Closer’ and the single ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, completed before Curtis’ death and released posthumously, became their highest charting releases. As bassist Peter Hook would recall: “the great tragedy of Ian’s death was that all he wanted to be was successful. And he missed it… by a week.”

Joy Division and Curtis’ legacy is huge, not least through the remaining members of the band who reformed as New Order. The recent films ‘Control’ and ‘Joy Division’ have seen the band’s standing as genuine legends further affirmed.

The Original Song:
"Transmission" was the band’s last single before Ian Curtis’ death, released in November 1979.

Moving away from raw post-punk guitar sound into electronica, it was the song that paved the way for New Order - a shift in direction that was led by Ian Curtis, as Bernard Sumner recalls: “Ian used to play Kraftwerk records to us, saying ‘listen to this, this is something new, something fantastic.’ Maybe he knew and maybe he was showing us the way.”

Just last year NME magazine placed "Transmission" at number 20 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever.

Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard:
“We totally idolise New Order and Joy Division, and Alexis wasn’t sure about singing the words because Ian Curtis was so iconic, but we used loads of different instruments to the original and it came off well. We didn’t want to piss off any die hard fans.”

Hot Chip’s Alexis Turner:
"It is totally different from Joy Division's original version. It is much more Caribbean sounding because it features steel pans as the lead instrument.

Watch: Joy Division, 'Transmission'

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You can pre-order the album now, from HMV:

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