Dazzle Ships (album)

Dazzle Ships
Studio album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Released 4 March 1983 (1983-03-04)
Recorded 1982
The Gramophone Suite
Gallery Studio
Mayfair Studio
Genre Electronic music
Musique concrète
Experimental music
Length 34:43
60:13 (2008 reissue)
Label Telegraph (Virgin)
Producer Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Rhett Davies
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark chronology
Architecture & Morality
Dazzle Ships
Junk Culture
Singles from Dazzle Ships
  1. "Genetic Engineering"
    Released: 1 February 1983 (1983-02-01)
  2. "Telegraph"
    Released: 1 April 1983 (1983-04-01)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
The A.V. Club (favorable)[2]
BBC (favorable)[3]
Record Collector 5/5 stars[4]
PopMatters (8/10)[5]
Pitchfork Media (8.4/10)[6]

Dazzle Ships is the fourth album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released in 1983.

The title and cover art (designed by Peter Saville) alluded to a painting by Vorticist artist Edward Wadsworth based on dazzle camouflage. The painting, Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool, is in the collection of the National Art Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Canada. [7] The album was released on LP, compact cassette and compact disc, with distinct artwork.

The album was the follow-up release to the band's hugely successful Architecture & Morality. In contrast with its celebrated predecessor, Dazzle Ships met with a degree of critical and commercial hostility, due to the inaccessible nature of half of the material it contained, particularly musique concrète sound collages, utilising shortwave radio recordings to explore Cold War and Eastern Bloc themes (the odd numbered tracks).

Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool, 1919, the ultimate source of the album's name.

However the album did also contain six conventional pop songs (the even numbered tracks and track 9), both up-tempo numbers, and ballads. Two of them, "The Romance of the Telescope" and "Of all the Things we've Made" were remixed versions of songs previously issued on B-sides to earlier singles, leaving only four new "real" songs on this album, one of them, "Radio Waves", being a new version of a song from previous Humphreys & McCluskey's pre-OMD band, The Id. Two singles were released from it, "Genetic Engineering" and "Telegraph", which achieved moderate chart success in the United Kingdom and on American rock and college radio. Both were also released as 7" vinyl picture discs.

The album was co-produced with Rhett Davies, who was best known for his work on lusher-sounding albums by the reformed Roxy Music.

The band's former record company, the independent DinDisc label, had recently ceased trading, and so the band's contract was transferred to DinDisc's parent company, Virgin Records. However, in order to maintain the image of being signed to an "indie" label, the record sleeve purported that the album was released by the fictitious "Telegraph" label.

On 3 March 2008 (2008-03-03) a remastered compact disc with bonus tracks was released, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the album.[8] The critical hostility towards the album had cooled and the reissue of Dazzle Ships received positive reviews from Pitchfork Media,[6] Popmatters[5] and The A.V. Club,[2] among others.


Track listing

All songs were written by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Radio Prague"   arranged by OMD 1:18
2. "Genetic Engineering"     3:37
3. "ABC Auto-Industry"     2:06
4. "Telegraph"     2:57
5. "This Is Helena"     1:58
6. "International"     4:25
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Dazzle Ships (Parts II, III & VII)"     2:21
8. "The Romance of the Telescope"     3:27
9. "Silent Running"     3:34
10. "Radio Waves"   OMD, John Floyd 3:45
11. "Time Zones"   arranged by OMD 1:49
12. "Of All the Things We've Made"     3:27
Bonus tracks on 2008 reissue
No. Title Writer(s) Length
13. "Telegraph (The Manor Version 1981)"     3:25
14. "4-Neu"     3:34
15. "Genetic Engineering (312MM Version)"     5:12
16. "66 and Fading"     6:33
17. "Telegraph (Extended Version)"     5:38
18. "Swiss Radio International"   arranged by OMD 1:03

The "Manor Version" of "Telegraph" was recorded at the same time as Architecture & Morality. "Swiss Radio International" was dropped from the album at the last minute. Like "Radio Prague", it contains the call sign for a radio station and was once referred to as "The Ice Cream Song" by drummer Mal Holmes due to its similarity to the melodies played by ice cream vans.

Chart performance

Chart (1983) Peak
UK Albums Chart[9] 5
New Zealand Albums Chart [10] 10
Swedish Albums Chart[11] 38
French Albums Chart[12] 14
Netherlands Albums Chart[13] 19
Canadian Albums Chart[14] 25
US Billboard Pop Albums[15] 162


Genetic Engineering

  • 7": Telegraph VS 527
  1. "Genetic Engineering" – 3:37
  2. "4-Neu" – 3:33
  • 12": Telegraph VS 527-12
  1. "Genetic Engineering (312mm Version)" – 5:18
  2. "4-Neu" – 3:33

The punning title of "4-Neu" was a dedication to the influential "krautrock" band Neu!. "312mm" is approximately twelve inches (304.8mm).


  • 7": Telegraph VS 580
  1. "Telegraph" – 2:57
  2. "66-And Fading" – 6:40
  • 12": Telegraph VSY 580-12
  1. "Telegraph (Extended Version)" – 5:53
  2. "66-And Fading" – 6:30


The "Radio Prague" track is the actual interval signal of the Czechoslovak Radio foreign service, including the time signal and station ID spoken in Czech. "Time Zones" is a montage of various speaking clocks from around the world. Neither "Radio Prague" nor "Time Zones" carry any writing credit at all, with OMD being credited only for arranging the tracks. The "This Is Helena", "ABC Auto-Industry" and "International" tracks also include parts of some broadcasts recorded off-air (a presenter introducing herself, economic bulletin and news, respectively).[16]

Owen Pallett of the one-man violin-based Canadian indie act Final Fantasy has covered tracks 1-4 seamlessly while performing live shows.

"Genetic Engineering" was covered by indie rock band Eggs and released as a single in 1994.


Production details

  • recorded at The Gramophone Suite, Gallery Studio and Mayfair Studio
  • mixed at The Manor Studio
  • engineered by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Rhett Davies, Ian Little, Keith Richard Nixon, Brian Tench
  • produced by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Rhett Davies
  • mastered at The Master Room by Arun Chakraverty
  • designed by M. Garrett, K. Kennedy, P. Pennington, Peter Saville, and Brett Wickens for Peter Saville Associates.


In terms of instrumentation, Dazzle Ships saw the band begin to explore digital sampling keyboards (the E-mu Emulator) in addition to their continued use of analog synthesizers and the Mellotron.

List of used instruments:

External links


  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Dazzle Ships review". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1341011/review. Retrieved 3 October 2009 (2009-10-03). 
  2. ^ a b O'Neal, Sean (26 December 2006 (2006-12-26)). "Permanent Records: Albums From The A.V. Club's Hall Of Fame". The A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/articles/permanent-records-albums-from-the-av-clubs-hall-of,16684/. Retrieved 3 October 2009 (2009-10-03). 
  3. ^ Easlea, Daryl (20 February 2008 (2008-02-20)). "Review of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Dazzle Ships". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/xv3n/. Retrieved 3 October 2009 (2009-10-03). 
  4. ^ Easlea, Daryl. "Dazzle Ships - OMD - Album Review". Record Collector. http://www.recordcollectormag.com/reviews/review-detail/2255. Retrieved 3 October 2009 (2009-10-03). 
  5. ^ a b Bergstrom, John (17 April 2008 (2008-04-17)). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzle Ships Review". PopMatters. http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/orchestral-manoeuvres-in-the-dark-dazzle-ships. Retrieved 3 October 2009 (2009-10-03). 
  6. ^ a b Ewing, Tom (17 April 2008 (2008-04-17)). "Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzle Ships". Pitchfork Media. http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/11363-dazzle-ships/. Retrieved 3 October 2009 (2009-10-03). 
  7. ^ National Gallery of Canada: Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool, 1919
  8. ^ "OMD News: March 2008". http://www.omd.uk.com/html/mar_08.html. Retrieved 27 February 2009 (2009-02-27). 
  9. ^ "Chart Stats - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Dazzle Ships". http://www.chartstats.com/albuminfo.php?id=7163. Retrieved 4 October 2009 (2009-10-04). 
  10. ^ "charts.org.nz - OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) - Dazzle Ships". http://charts.org.nz/showitem.asp?interpret=OMD+%28Orchestral+Manoeuvres+In+The+Dark%29&titel=Dazzle+Ships&cat=a. Retrieved 4 October 2009 (2009-10-04). 
  11. ^ "swedishcharts.com - OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) - Dazzle Ships". http://swedishcharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=OMD+(Orchestral+Manoeuvres+In+The+Dark)&titel=Dazzle+Ships&cat=a. Retrieved 4 October 2009 (2009-10-04). 
  12. ^ "http://www.infodisc.fr/Albums_Detail.php/ OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark)". http://www.infodisc.fr/Albums_Detail.php. Retrieved 4 October 2009 (2009-10-04). 
  13. ^ "http://dutchcharts.nl". http://dutchcharts.nl/showitem.asp?interpret=OMD+%28Orchestral+Manoeuvres+In+The+Dark%29&titel=Dazzle+Ships&cat=a. Retrieved 4 October 2011 (2011-10-04). 
  14. ^ "http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) - Dazzle Ships". http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?&file_num=nlc008388.6242a&type=1&interval=20&PHPSESSID=nnnmj6p1qiabice4ql54s7omf4. Retrieved 4 October 2009 (2009-10-04). 
  15. ^ "allmusic - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p110800/charts-awards. Retrieved 4 October 2009 (2009-10-04). 
  16. ^ "OMD Official Website Discography entry". http://www.omd.uk.com/discography/albums/html/a_10.html. Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  • Liner notes

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