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Iconic Manchester music pioneers A Certain Ratio celebrate their 40th anniversary with the announcement of a huge new box set featuring many unreleased and unheard material with a newly recorded version of their classic track Won’t Stop Loving You, the band have also announced live dates to coincide with the release.

The press release reads as follows:

A Certain Ratio, who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year, have shared details of a new box set, ACR:BOX, out on Mute on 3 May 2019 on vinyl, CD and digitally. ACR:BOX launches with a brand new acoustic version of Won’t Stop Loving You (AKA The Big E) here titled W.S.L.U., a recent collaboration with Parent’s Sarah Brandwood-Spencer (string arrangement) and Jason Brown (additional guitars).

ACR:BOX was remastered by Martin Moscrop at Abbey Road studios. Featuring over 20 unreleased tracks, the box set will be available as a 7 x coloured vinyl set, 4 x CD set and digitally and its release will coincide with a series of dates.

Following on from 2018’s compilation, acr:set, the box showcases the diversity of the singles, B-sides and alternative versions of tracks that A Certain Ratio have released, but without repeating tracks recently made available. ACR:BOX collates everything that fans had been missing from the recent reissue campaign, and compliments that with a selection found after a deep delve into the archive to find all the hidden gems that had been talked about over the years, but never heard – even a few releases the band had forgotten about!

Looking to make the box set as comprehensive as possible, even the original tapes from the session they recorded for a collaboration with Grace Jones were uncovered and reworked. This session includes the cover version of Talking Heads’ ‘Houses In Motion’, using Jez Kerr’s guide vocals (pre to him becoming the band’s singer). Grace Jones never completed her vocal take, after attending one of the recording sessions with the band.

The box set, which marks the 40th anniversary of A Certain Ratio’s debut release, the Martin Hannett produced All Night Party (Factory Records’ first single release). They went on to be hailed universally as pioneers of what became known as punk funk thanks to the success of their second single, Shack Up, represented here via a radio edit from Electronic, featuring Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr.

The band will be bringing their blistering live performance to London’s Islington Assembly Hall on 4 May 2019, and have announced a 2-day ACR festival at Yes, in Manchester, on the 24 May (the anniversary of the actual release date of the original ‘All Night Party’ 7”) and 25 May which will see special guests join ACR for a takeover of all four floors of the venue. Additional dates for a full UK tour will be announced soon.

ACR live is Jez Kerr, Donald Johnson, Martin Moscrop, Denise Johnson, Tony Quigley and recent addition on keyboards, Matt Steele, who has adapted to the ACR groove seamlessly.

A Certain Ratio embraced the ethic and culture of the late seventies post-punk explosion, but sounded like nothing else around them and refused to fit in. The band have influenced generations of musicians – from LCD Soundsystem, Happy Mondays, Franz Ferdinand, ESG, Factory Floor and Sink Ya Teeth.

Five albums were released on Factory – The Graveyard and the Ballroom (1979), To Each…(1981), Sextet (1982), I’d Like To See You Again (1982) and Force (1986). Following the release of Force, the band moved to A&M for two releases – Good Together (1989) and acr:mcr (1990) and, after the leaving the major, released Up In Downsville (1992) and Change the Station (1997) on Robs Records, the label set up by New Order’s manager and Factory’s director, Rob Gretton, an important catalyst in the Manchester scene.

Their sound is not easily pigeon holed and their influence can never be understated. The band introduced the avant-garde elements of funk, jazz, electronics, tape loops and technology to the pop song, wrapping it in a post punk aesthetic, adding great clothes and the coolest haircuts.

A CERTAIN RATIO – LIVE
4 May – London Islington Assembly Hall

24 – 25 May – Manchester Yes

A CERTAIN RATIO – ACR:BOX tracklisting 

Singles and B-sides
1 All Night Party
2 The Thin Boys
3 Blown Away
4 Son And Heir
5 Waterline
6 Funaezekea
7 Abracadubra
8 Sommadub
9 Guess Who? (12″ 10 Tumba Rumba)
11 Knife Slits Water (12″ version)
12 Kether Hot Knives (Mix In Special)
13 I Need Someone Tonight
14 Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing
15 Life’s a Scream
16 There’s Only This
17 Si Fermir O Grido (Touch Cassette Version)
18 Brazilia 6.10
19 Sounds Like Something Dirty
20 The Runner (Greetings Four Version)
21 Inside (Greetings Four Version)
22 Bootsy (Greetings Four Version)
23 Fever 103 (Greetings Four Version)
24 Loosen Up Your Mind
25 The Planet
26 Turn Me on (7″ Edit)
27 Forever (Jon Dasilva’s Testimonial Mix)
28 Shack up (Electronic Radio Edit)

Unreleased

29 Houses In Motion (Demo Version 1)
30 Houses In Motion (Demo Version 2)
31 And Then Again (Another version)
32 Piu Lento (John Peel Session)
33 Nostromo A Go Go (Demo)
34 Force (Demo)
35 Backs to The Wall (Demo)
36 The Big E (Demo)
37 Every Pleasure (Demo)
38 ivers Edge (Demo)
39 Stadium (Demo)
40 Thin Grey Line (Demo)
41 Repercussions (African Mix)
42 BTTW 90 (Demo)
43 Spirit Dance (Demo)
44 Bitter Pill (Never Released)
45 It’s Trippin When I’m Fine (Previously Unreleased)
46 Mello (JD 800 Perc Mix)
47 Tekno 4 an Answer (120bpm)
48 Samba 123 (Demo)
49 Some Day (ACR rework)
50 Happy Meal (Working Title)
51 Flight Won’t Stop (Unfinished Demo)
52 Fruit Song (Unfinished Demo)
53 Say What Yu Mean (Unfinished Demo)
54 W.S.L.U.

Back sharing a label with Factory label-mates New Order, A Certain Ratio’s collaboration with Mute has seen their full studio album catalogue made available again and a new compliation, acr:set, featuring two brand new tracks, ‘Dirty Boy’ (with vocals from Barry Adamson and Tony Wilson) and ‘Make It Happen’.

Pre-order link for ACR:BOX is here. ACR can also be found via their Instagram , Facebook, Twitter pages and their own website.

Photograph, credit Kevin Cummins. A Certain Ratio + Mute = Good Together

Article by Matt Mead. Further articles by Matt can be found via the Louder Than War author archive pages.

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Matt Mead first took to writing for Louder Than War after compiling Flowered Up - A Weekenders Tale which received rave reviews across the board. Since then Matt has picked up the writing mantel composing impassioned album and live reviews plus conducting insightful interviews with a mixed bag of artists. If it has meaning and soul to it, then Matt will write about it!

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