November 20, 2008 / 10:22 PM / 11 years ago

New Order reissues plagued with sound problems

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A music label renowned for its elaborate reissues of vintage albums has annoyed British rock group New Order and its fans with a flawed package of the group’s classics discs.

Rhino Records reissued “collector’s editions” of New Order’s first five albums, which all originally came out in the 1980s. Each one features a bonus disc, with 7- and 12-inch versions, instrumentals and remixes.

But alert fans quickly complained of about 300 errors, mostly relating to poor sound quality on the bonus discs. The pops and crackles on many of the tracks suggest they were transferred directly from commercially available vinyl recordings rather than from the original master tapes.

The discs were released in Britain last month, and music magazines there, such as Q and Mojo, did not mention any of the technical shortcomings in their rave reviews.

But Peter Hook, the bass player with the defunct group, said in his MySpace page that the reissue project was a “mess.” He blamed the label for not sending out advance copies so that he and his former bandmates could do some quality control.

Despite the discontent, Rhino released the discs in the United States last Tuesday, and U.S. fans noticed the same problems. Rhino, an affiliate of Warner Bros. Records, plans to reissue the reissues, and will allow fans to exchange their dud CDs.

“Warner Bros. UK, Rhino and New Order regret that the initial pressings of the Collector Editions of ‘Movement,’ ‘Power, Corruption & Lies,’ ‘Low-Life,’ ‘Brotherhood’ and ‘Technique’ contain some minor audio problems on the bonus discs,” a statement issued Thursday said.

“We are now in the process of correcting the problems, but it should be noted that due to the age and condition of some of the original source tapes, the sound quality may vary. A further statement will be issued once the corrected product is available. At that time, the procedure for exchanging CD’s will be announced. Thank you for your patience while we resolve this situation”

New Order was founded by three members of Joy Division after that band’s singer, Ian Curtis, committed suicide in 1980. It is perhaps best known for such tunes as “Temptation” and the 12-inch dance single “Blue Monday.”

Rhino is considered the industry leader when it comes to reissues. The label’s imaginative staff of audiophiles compile elaborate boxed sets covering all genres of music, no matter how small the niche.

Their releases are frequently nominated for Grammy Awards in the packaging category, including a duo this year: “Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra Records: 1963-1973” and “Love is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets: 1965-1970.”

Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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