album art: unknown pleasures

February 7, 2013
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 1 minute

Joy Division is a testy topic among musical connoisseurs. They can easily be irked when a youth ignorant to the band’s history buys a shirt adorned by the Unknown Pleasures’ artwork after spotting it on Tumblr. But who can blame them for finding it enticing? The white image creates a stark contrast with its jet-black backdrop and resembles a mountain range that could have been drawn by J.R.R Tolkien.

In actuality, the image was nabbed from the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy. It represents a series of radio pulses captured from the first pulsar ever discovered in 1967 by Jocelyn Burnell, designated “CP 1919”. For those in the dark as to what a pulsar is, the Oxford Dictionary provides this definition: “a cosmic source of regularly and rapidly pulsating radio signals”. So in plain English, a sort-of star. I’m no expert. But the end result is undeniably beautiful and serves as a testament to lead singer Ian Curtis, who took his own life soon after the album was released.

On a less somber note, the cover has lent itself to a rather hilarious spoof in the form of a condom package

by: tomi milos

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