21 October 2013
Tracking the Thrill 
Recently, whilst on holiday in New York City, I was fortunate to attend an exhibition walkthrough with Ike Yard's Stuart Argabright of 'Tracking the Thrill' at The Kitchen, one of NYC's oldest non-profit art spaces. This was a selected retrospective of the influential video work of Gretchen Bender (1951-2004), the centrepiece of which was 'Total Recall' (1987) a multi-screen installation set to a superb soundtrack of by Mr Argabright.

Apparently back in the day the whole thing would be cued up on banks of video players and the play buttons would be pressed in sync. Nowadays it's driven by computers but the TV screens are resolutely old school cathode ray.

There are a couple of Factory-related videos in the rest of the exhibition:

Gretchen Bender did the title sequence for the America's Most Wanted TV show (UK readers think 'Crimewatch' in terms of content, but without Nick Ross) and the soundtrack for that was by The Other Two. Bender's cut-up style quickly became the norm for many a show.

Robert Longo's video for New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle (FAC 173) is also included. Gretchen, who was Robert's girlfriend, did the again rapid-fire editing. More on the making of that video by producer Michael Shamberg over at a New Order Discography. According to Stuart Argabright, Gretchen herself is in the video.

The exhibition has now finished (as has the holiday) but this short clip below gives an idea of the overall experience.

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FAC 51 The Hacienda
The Names

Post punk cult band The Names emerged in the winter of 1977-1978 as The Passengers, gathering immediate attention on the local Brussels scene. In 1979, after a series of successful gigs and a crucial step forward opening for Magazine, they recorded their first E.P. ("Spectators Of Life") and attracted the interest of prominent label Factory Records in Manchester.

Their first British studio session (at Stockport's Strawberry Studio) produced the single "Nightshift" / "I Wish I Could Speak Your Language (Fac 29). Receiving enthusiastic reviews in the UK and abroad, it marked the start of a long and fruitful collaboration with producer Martin Hannett. The album "Swimming" followed as well as more singles, including "Calcutta" and "The Astronaut".

- extract from the official website biography

Factory Records Catalogue

The Durutti Column