new order may 1980 – november 2006; r.i.p.
November 27, 2006, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
this might be our last concert ever.” bassist peter hook talks and the show he mentions is the one new order did last saturday night in buenos aires closing personal fest’s main stage. The interview in which hook confirmed their split -at least temporary- to Página/12

a short history (with notes provided by wikipedia, new order online and q magazine):

inspired by a sex pistol’s gig in 1976 (interesting how many bands were begun after seeing the pistol’s drunkenly swagger through a rock-n-roll show), three friends from manchester england (bernard sumner, peter hook & terry mason) formed what would become joy division (originally titled stiff kittens and then warsaw; either one a great name if you ask me – picture it “ladies & gentlemen, please put your hands together for stiff kittens”). an advert in a manchester record store brought ian curtis into the mix and the band was solidified (sort of). fast forward 9 months and 3 drummers later – a young stephen morris was installed as drummer and the stage was set.

joy division offered a darker, more complex version of what was happening in the london punk scene. whereas punk was enthusiastically blunt, loud and aggressive; joy division offered a more solitary and bleaker version of the future. indeed; modern ambient giants such as aphex twin, massive attack and the orb owe as much to 1979’s unknown pleasures and 1980’s closer as they do to the works of erik satie, pink floyd & phillip glass.

in 1980 ian curtis’ health (read: depression) was reaching dangerous proportions. on may 18, on the eve of joy division’s inaugural u.s. tour, curtis reportedly watched werner herzog’s stroszek — with the final scene suggesting the main character’s suicide— and hanged himself – therefore sealing himself in the rock-n-roll pantheon of tortured artiste.

while agreements were made between members of the band prior to curtis’ suicide to disband should any member leave – the band would dissolve, the three remaining members of joy division continued to tour the summer after curtis’ death and even went back into the studio and recorded a number of tracks. with the album closer released posthumously (to excellent reviews), and the track “love will tear us apart” lodged solidly in the top 20, sumner, hook & morris, emerged re-born as new order.

taking their new name from an entry in the guardian entitled “the people’s new order of kampuchea” and adding gillian gilbert (morris’ girlfriend at the time) on keyboards and synthesizers, the band released the songs “ceremony” and “in a lonely place”; the last tracks recorded as joy division and then immediately went into the studio to work on what would become 1981’s movement album.

movement, released november 1981 featured what would become one of new order’s signature tracks; “temptation”. while similar in style to joy divisions dark tones, “temptation” and the rest of movement hinted at a more spirited, more electronic, more dance oriented future sound. one could even say “temptation” was almost whimsical – a great departure from the dark path of “atmosphere” from the joy division days.

the final nail in the coffin of joy division however came in 1983 with the arrival of power, corruption and lies. the electronic tip of the iceberg found on movement came to the forefront here. with their more guitar based sound now embracing and mixing fully with electronic/techno music, along with abstract / nonsense lyrics, new order was fully formed.

the cornerstone to power, corruption and lies was “blue monday” (the 12″ single becoming the biggest selling 12″ in the history of music). “blue monday’s” ominous kick drum opening, throbbing synth-bass line (produced on a moog, then overlaid with hook’s physical bass guitar lead) and sumner’s dead-pan lyrical styling’s is often seen as one of the most critical crossover hit’s of the 80’s new wave scene. indeed in 2003, q magazine voted “blue Monday” the 9th most influential song ever (and the only dance track in the top ten).

20 years on from power, corruption & lies (and another 7 albums later; low-life, brotherhood, substance, technique, republic, get ready and waiting for the sirens call), new order have become ‘god-like geniuses’ (nme 2005)… a band that was radical for it’s time and continues to inspire people to pick up a guitar or turn on a keyboard, has, for now, gone quietly into the night.
the nice thing about new order tho’ is you never know if the end is really the end. with these blokes the end is usually just the beginning.

i used to think that the day would never come / i’d see delight in the shade of the morning sunmy morning sun is the drug that brings me near / to the childhood I lost, replaced by fear
new order – true faith


4 Comments so far
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I sorta put New Order in the same grouping as the Cure. Good bands but thank god they have ‘greatest hits’ albums because I only like a select few songs from each.

Comment by cb

Thanks for the flashback. Now I have to go dig up all my old New Order albums. And maybe download some of the ones I don’t have.

Comment by Dave

[…] fall of ian curtis of the band joy division.  long time readers may remember that i love me some joy division/new order and as such – shouldn’t be shocked that i needed to see this […]

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