Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. To mark the anniversary of the album, we recorded a signal from the same pulsar with a radio telescope in Jodrell Bank Observatory, only 14 miles 23 km away from Strawberry Studios where the album was recorded. Peter Saville — graphic designer and co-founder of Factory Records — designed the album cover based on a picture spotted by band member Bernard Sumner in an encyclopaedia.
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No band name, album title or other identifiers. An interesting move for a debut studio album. The cover image became an icon but remained mysterious.
Mystery has its own weather, it operates according to a freaky logic, and I like it. Where art intersects with mystery you find big wind, warm rain, snow that falls from the ground up, even though the mystery itself remains obscure. Some quality or anti-quality, hidden as it were in plain sight.
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But what actually IS it? The stark white-on-black line drawing conjures up so much mystery. An air of mystery grew up around the Unknown Pleasures cover. What did the enigmatic waveform symbolise?
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