It’s often forgotten in all the exaltations of the actual music, how important their aesthetic gestalt was to the enduring image of Joy Division. So much so that in 2019 Hot Topic can be seen hawking t-shirts emblazoned with the iconic Unknown Pleasures album cover illustration to suburban kids who were born more than 20 years after its release.
Certainly, Anton Corbijn‘s existential photos of the band, on through to his chilling, posthumous video for “Atmosphere,” and his 2007 Ian Curtis biopic Control, have all played a significant part in conveying that indelible image. And nearly four decades on from singer Curtis’ suicide, eleven directors have just been commissioned by coordinator Warren Jackson with the task of revivifying the songs on Joy Division’s debut long-player, by crafting new visual accompaniments – the first of which has just seen the light of day.
And indeed, Icelandic directorial duo Helgi & Hörður have made a striking new video for “I Remember Nothing,” one that most poignantly carries on the band’s aesthetic manifesto. In it, against a haunted, bleakly desolate landscape, two men carry on a sort of primal, hand-to-hand combat, eventually ending in one of their deaths. It is as stark a presentation as was the original recording, which, it must be said, still decisively sends a chill despite so much time having passed.
All ten tracks on the album will be given a new video treatment, by directors including American Sean Evans (Roger Waters: The Wall), France’s Vincent Moon, Japan’s Makato Nagahisa, and exalted Scottish filmmaker Lynn Ramsay (Morvern Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin).
Specific release dates have not yet been announced, but all will materialize within 2019.