“Dazzle Ships,” the fourth studio album from the English electronic band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), is set for reissue with additional demos and rarities. Originally released on 4 March 1983 by Virgin Records under the fictitious Telegraph label, the album’s title and cover art were inspired by Edward Wadsworth’s Vorticist painting, “Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool,” which featured dazzle camouflage.
The 12-track album served as the follow-up to OMD’s commercially successful 1981 release, “Architecture & Morality.” “Dazzle Ships” showcased a departure in sound for the band as they struggled with writer’s block and pressure from the record company to replicate their previous album’s success. The record is renowned for its experimental content, particularly its use of musique concrète sound collages and shortwave radio recordings to explore Cold War and Eastern Bloc themes. The album also delves into the rise of technology in society. It produced two singles, “Genetic Engineering” and “Telegraph.”
Although “Dazzle Ships” was initially a commercial disappointment, it eventually gained a cult following and inspired numerous recording artists. Music journalists have come to recognize the album as an underrated, misunderstood, and ahead-of-its-time work. Despite the later recognition, the band embraced a more radio-friendly sound on the follow-up album “Junk Culture” (1984).
Already re-released once in 2008, the expanded reissue of “Dazzle Ships” now includes bonus demos and rarities compiled and mixed by OMD’s Paul Humphreys. The album is available in three formats:
- Limited Edition black 180g 2LP vinyl in the original bespoke die-cut sleeve, including a lithograph print of the album artwork
- Colored 2LP vinyl in a standard gatefold sleeve (blue and silver color)
The 2008 reissue featured the following extra tracks:
- “Telegraph” (The Manor Version 1981)
- “4-Neu” (“Genetic Engineering” single B-side)
- “Genetic Engineering” (312MM version)
- “66 and Fading” (“Telegraph” single B-side)
- “Telegraph” (extended version)
- “Swiss Radio International”
The new version offers these additional tracks:
- “Telegraph” (Very Early Demo / 1982)
- “Silent Running” (Demo)
- “Sold Our Souls” (The Avenue Demo)
- “Shakespeare ’82”
- “Untitled Instrumental ’82”
- “In Heaven Above” (4- NEU Demo)
- “Telegraph” (Live 1984)
Here’s the teaser 3-track release on Spotify.
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