See that we're the real atrocitiesAuthor, Imagist, Visionary, J.G. Ballard is dead. In the course of his long career, from the surrealist science fiction of The Crystal World, through his explorations of the psycho-sexual geography of the city (Concrete Island, High Rise, Crash), and his later autobiographical forays into his own past (Empire Of The Sun), Ballard's work defined a generation with its apocalyptic imagery of drained swimming pools, car crashes, and bodily mutilation. His was the poetry of Auschwitz, the Kennedy assassinations, and the unspeakable violence at the intersection of two walls. Condensed, compressed, and ruthlessly logical, it constituted nothing less than a new mythology by which we might experience the twentieth century.
Ballard's influence in post-punk music is wide and deep. Simon Reynold's encyclopedic history of the period, Rip It Up And Start Again, includes no fewer than twenty references to his novels, and even those barely scratch the surface. Ultravox, John Foxx, Gary Numan and The Normal all borrowed heavily from Ballard, and not simply as a resource for song titles, lyrics, and themes. Ballard gave them something more, a kind of musical grammar that paired a cool, clinical detachment with an unflinching emotional honesty, a combination which was perhaps most deeply realized in the work of the late Ian Curtis.
Here, as our tribute to Ballard, is an exclusive mix of Joy Division's "Atrocity Exhibition," the song Curtis named after a Ballard short story. This version is previously unreleased in any form.