Joy Division


Composed by Bernard Albrecht / Bernard Sumner / Ian Curtis / Peter Hook / Stephen Morris

Song Review by

"Atmosphere" is another one of those prime Joy Division songs, like "Transmission" or "Love Will Tear Us Apart," where Martin Hannett's production becomes so essential to the end result that it couldn't have been heard otherwise. Bernard Sumner's low keyboard start and Peter Hook's minimal, calm bass make a perfect counterpoint to the sheer, sudden power of Stephen Morris's sudden drum parts -- if anything, percussion is the heart of the song, the echo and near-tribal roll of the beats suggesting a futuristic ritual. Ian Curtis's performance is another one of his best -- one of his most controlled and calm, his deep moan suggesting both a will to continue and a sheer mournfulness. The killer touch, without question, has to be the sudden, shimmering keyboard sparkle Sumner adds after each verse, produced to sound like rays of light from the heavens, a beautiful contrast of light against the heavy rhythmic doom down below. It's little surprise John Peel chose this song as the one to play on the air after announcing Curtis's death -- there's a feeling of a requiem here, an awesome musical farewell.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1980 Factory
Concert 18 Jan Effenaar 1984 Jd Records
Substance 1988 GC / Rhino 4:09
Form and Substance: The Dark Side 1990 Interzone Records
Palatine: The Factory Story/1979-1990 1991
Various Artists
Spirit of the Edge 1994
Various Artists
Polygram 4:10
Permanent 1995 Qwest / Qwest/Warner 4:10
Love Will Tear Us Apart [1995] [single] 1995 Factory 4:10
Trainspotting, Vol. 2 1997
Original Soundtrack
Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 4:07
Heart and Soul 1998 Rhino / Rhino/Warner Bros. 4:11
Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979 2001 Dynamic 4:47
24 Hour Party People 2002
Original Soundtrack
London 90 4:09
Refractured Box One 2003 Factory
The Work of Director Anton Corbijn [DVD] 2005
Various Artists
John Peel: Right Time Wrong Speed 2006
Various Artists
WMTV 4:08
Control [Original Soundtrack] 2007
Original Soundtrack
Rhino/Warner Bros. 4:33
No Image 2007
Various Artists
WEA/Bose 4:10
The Edge of the 80's 2008
Various Artists
BMG 4:10
The Best of Joy Division 2008 Rhino / Warner Bros. 4:10
+- (Singles 1978-80) 2011 Rhino / Warner Bros. 4:11
Anthems Electronic 80's, Vol. 3 2012
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 4:05
80s Classics: The Collection
Various Artists
No Image
Various Artists
Rhino 4:33
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande 4:10
Gold [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Original Soundtrack
Concord / Varèse Sarabande 4:10
No Image Warner Music 4:11
blue highlight denotes editor's pick