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17 Responses to “The story of the iconic cover art for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures

  1. niktemadur says:

    is a data visualization of the signal emanating from the first pulsar to be observed by scientists.

    Now I like that iconic album cover even more than I already did.
    That pulsar was first called LGM-1 (as in Little Green Men), then it was given the more solemn designation PSR B1919+21.

  2. Rhythmic emanations out of the deep dark.

  3. Mark Dow says:

    Too bad he doesn’t give credit for the scientific discovery and art itself. I’m betting Jocelyn Bell (Burnell) had a hand in the art as well as the science. Pictures are important.
    A nobel prize went to Hewish based on this work.

  4. David Pescovitz says:

    I bought a t-shirt with this in silver ink at the New Order show earlier this month! 

  5. Thorzdad says:

    I have no shame in admitting that the cover was completely what convinced me to purchase this album way back then. It was just sitting there in the bin…calling me with that inscrutable design. Good stuff.

  6. ianc says:

    Fantastic cover art for fantastic music. ‘Nuff said.

    Almost ’nuff. Does anyone have the citation of the article the original diagram appeared in?

  7. I’m fairly amazed how widespread this video has been posted: I thought everyone knew this!

  8. nixiebunny says:

    Am I the only person who works in radio astronomy and loves Joy Division? I hope not. 

    I once took the trouble of finding our library’s copy of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy to see the original artwork.

    If you google “Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy”, you’ll see a lot of photos of that page of the encyclopedia in the image search.

  9. oasisob1 says:

    If you click on the background of this page, it takes you to state farm. That’s incredibly annoying.

  10. Brad Bell says:

    As an image from a black album of depressing music written by a depressed person about being depressed – a classic of affective culture – the graph looks like a measurement of relative emotional states. You can see most of the time it’s flatlining. Zero affect.

    If you think it suggests mania, you are looking at it upside down ;-)

    • Beanolini says:

      depressing music written by a depressed person about being depressed

      You say that like it’s a bad thing.

      (I don’t find it depressing, it was not written by Curtis alone, and it’s certainly not entirely about being depressed).

  11. poivre says:

    He doesn’t even know what he’s talking about – this is an INTENSITY variation in time at a given frequency, not a frequency variation. Also, pulsars aren’t directly related to black holes although both kinds are terminal stages of evolution…

  12. Philboyd Studge says:

    Hands up, everyone who has ever owned a t-shirt with that design.