Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Dazzle Ships

Author: Colin | Published: 6/5/09

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Dazzle Ships

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Dazzle Ships

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Dazzle Ships

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Dazzle Ships

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Dazzle Ships

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Dazzle Ships

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Dazzle Ships

Artist Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Title Dazzle Ships
Label Telegraph (Virgin)
Year 1983
Designer M. Garrett, K. Kennedy, P. Pennington, P. Saville, B. Wickens for Peter Saville Associates
Music Electronic popular music
Notes The final OMD sleeve we’re featuring and the last great – arguably greatest – album by the Liverpool duo. After this they pulled away from experimentation to head off into pretty much undiluted pop territory, leaving behind the shortwave transmissions, fog horns, sirens and static forever.Saville’s choice of dazzle camouflage is inspired and inspiring. The choice of vivid pink for highlights and track titles echoes the use of contrast on the group’s debut, as do the die-cut holes, this time referencing portholes on the outer sleeve. The one perplexing element is the slightly unresolved view of the map on the inner gatefold through these portholes. Otherwise, the yellow/pink inner sleeve that crosses the graphic map as it’s removed or inserted into the cover is a pleasure that mirrors the experience of the eponymous debut and Architecture & Morality. Surely this sense of physical interaction provided inspiration for Olaf Bender/Raster Noton.

These small images can only do meagre justice to the monumental impression that the physical originals impart. We’d highly recommend you grab yourself a copy on eBay or via your local secondhard record emporium.

Here’s a certain Thames-moored battleship decked in dazzle camouflage which even now helps it to blend into its background…



  1. Really Saville’s best work, too.

    Comment by Jinsai — May 6, 2009 @ 9:33 pm
  2. Amongst his finest, with Section 25’s “Always Now” lp a close runner up in my mind.

    Comment by farbod — June 25, 2009 @ 10:37 pm
  3. I struggle to choose from any of these three OMD designs. Some of the New Orders are stunning and the Monochrome Set – such a range to choose from!

    Comment by Colin — June 27, 2009 @ 2:33 pm
  4. […] Published on Nov 09, 2009 at 3:00 am . Filled under: Arts & Culture | No Comments via http://www.hardformat.org/2492/orchestral-manoeuvres-in-the-dark-dazzle-ships/ Bookmark and Share: sociallist_504d766d_url = […]

  5. […] From 1983, yet again, Mr. Saville and amazing. Found while surfing a great site, Hard Format, this just continues my amazement. Have a look see when you get a moment. […]

  6. Two small bits of pedantry: that’s not a battleship, it’s a light cruiser. Specifically the HMS Belfast.

    Also, dazzle camouflage wasn’t intended to have a ship “blend in” but rather to break up the profile to make it more difficult to discern a ship’s speed and direction.

    Comment by Winkels — February 5, 2012 @ 5:22 pm
  7. Heh heh, I stand corrected. Is a light cruiser not a battleship then? I know it’s the HMS Belfast. I walked past it again today in the snow.

    Comment by Colin — February 5, 2012 @ 10:05 pm
  8. No, a light cruiser (pedantry alert again, sorry!) is not a capital ship (which battleships, dreadnoughts, and carriers all tend to be). It’s more likely to be used for escort, commerce raiding, blockade, etc.

    The Belfast is a beauty.

    Dazzle, being a pet love of mine shows, up in the most fantastic places: http://grad2009.ecuad.ca/maa_visual_arts/havard_pedersen/

    Comment by Winkels — February 6, 2012 @ 9:17 pm
  9. I just stumbled across your site and have lost myself here for the better part of the day.I’m stoked to see this sleeve included,I recently discovered (online) Peter Saville’s original paintings and love that this album was re issued in 2008 with bonus tracks i.e. 4Neu + 66 and Fading as well as remixes.

    I had this album (this version) on vinyl back in high school when it was first released in the U.S. and remember being mesmerized by the vast number of experimental instruments the band utilized and the experimental/playful direction of the title track + songs like ‘ABC Auto Industry’,”This Is Helena’ and ‘Genetic Engineering’ which featured those haunting monotone speak and spell voices announcing a seemingly random sequence of cut and paste phantasmagoria .and 30+ years on it sounds every bit as incredible as it did in 1983

    also thrilled to see everyone from Barney Bubbles to Hipgnosis represented here.this may well be the coolest site on the entire interwebs!

    Comment by Scott Vomit — December 30, 2015 @ 12:40 am


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