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Last night, Giles and I went to the Tibet House benefit concert and well, this is Iggy Pop singing “Love Will Tear Us Apart” with New Order.

(He also sang two other songs with them and I’ll be honest, I wanted to show you guys their collaborative version of “Transmission” because it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, but I’m afraid I couldn’t find any decent-quality footage of it.

Another incredible thing of which I have no footage was Mike Garry’s spoken-word poem, “Saint Anthony,” about Tony Wilson, which was set to a unique arrangement of New Order’s “Your Silent Face.”)

Anyway, it was an amazing gig – not just New Order and Iggy Pop, but Patti Smith, Mike Garry, Philip Glass, The National, Sufjan Stevens (apparently; we missed the beginning of the show because it took us five hours to get to Carnegie Hall), and loads more.

I find it really interesting, though, which names have currency with the general public.  As the four of us (we were with Christina and another friend) were trying to find our way to the stage door to get into the gig, dozens of scalpers outside on the streets waved tickets in our faces and shouted, “You wanna go to see New Order?  New Order tickets!  I got yer tickets to New Order!”  It’s fascinating that New Order are the band they thought would gain them the most interest from buyers particularly given that Philip Glass was technically the headliner (such as it were), Iggy Pop and Patti Smith have both been around longer, and only three-fifths of New Order were even at the show, playing a total of four songs.

Anyway, rambling aside – nine hours of road-tripping, three modes of transportation, three state lines, and three hours of sleep later, it was a pretty great night all told.

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Twenty-five years ago today, New Order’s Technique album was released. As a result, both Technique and I have a birthday today, which means I have an excuse to post this, my favourite song off the album. I love the sound (though I’ve got to confess that I love the 7” mix even more) and I love the lyrics and this couplet, in particular, always made a strange sort of sense to me:

The picture you see is no portrait of me
It’s too real to be shown to someone I don’t know

In any event, happy birthday to Technique and all that.

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bethylated-spirits said: Hey Jey, Blue Monday is EXACTLY what i needed today and It reminded me of a question that i was thinking i should ask you (as my source of all New Order knowledgfulness). i thought i saw/read somewhere (maybe in/about 24 Hour Party People?) that the syncopation on the drum track for this song was actually a mistake—someone started it half a beat too soon/too late in the studio or something and it sounded so good they kept it. Is this trufax or did i imagine it?

You’re right!  I can’t say exactly where you might have learnt that, because it’s been discussed in all sorts of places, but yes, the beat and the melody are out of sync with one another.  It isn’t the drums that are off (relative to what New Order originally intended), though; it’s the sequencer track.

If you listen to it (here's the original), you can hear where the beats fall in the bass drum line, and if you follow the rhythm, you can also hear the way the melody falls in between the strong beats.

It’s actually a really easy mistake to make, because in order to create “Blue Monday,” New Order went through all sorts of electronic equipment - for instance, the drum line is on an Oberheim DMX drum machine with effects; the bass line is through a Moog Source and sequenced using a machine Bernard Sumner built himself (as were many of their early works, because they couldn’t afford a proper sequencer); some of it, I’ve heard, was done with punch and step recording (techniques where it’s quite easy to drop a single beat or note); and there are vocoders, electronic drums, all sorts of things.  Frankly, it’s a miracle there aren’t more accidentally-syncopated songs out there!

(Random side note unrelated to New Order: I was listening to Dick Mills, one of the original BBC Radiophonic Workshop sound engineers, talking about constructing the early Doctor Who soundtracks, and he was discussing exactly this process.  The early equipment in the sound shop included a punch-tape sequencer, and he and the other Radiophonic staff used to roll the tapes out all throughout the corridors of the building, start at one end, and go all the way down to the other end checking each note on the tape to ensure they didn’t end up missing beats.  So you can imagine what a laborious process it must have been!)

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Some people get up at the break of day
Gotta go to work before it gets too late
Sitting in a car and driving down the road
That ain’t the way it has to be

But that’s what you do to earn your daily wage
That’s the kind of world that we live in today
Isn’t where you wanna be
And isn’t what you wanna do

Just give me one more day
Give me another night
I need a second chance
This time I’ll get it right

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Singers who blow their lyrics in the middle of a song, or crack up, or just otherwise mess up their recording, are fantastic.  I’m not sure why; it just sort of breaks the fourth wall in a way, makes it real.  It’s why I love live music so much, and it’s why so many of my favourite versions of songs are live recordings or things like this.

Also, Bernard Sumner has gone on record as to how much he hates the lyrics to this song, which is why he can’t make it past the second (ridiculous) line.

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fac-abc:

N is for New Order
Originally formed around the three remaining members of Joy Division, New Order eventually acquired keyboardist Gillian Gilbert and spent the next stage of their careers recording seven highly-acclaimed albums and a fairly staggering number of chart hits, including “Blue Monday,” the best-selling 12” single of all time.  They also partnered in and financed the Haçienda nightclub and were well-known for giving very few interviews and using song titles that had nothing to do with their lyrics.  Despite a five-year breakup in the mid-1990s (due largely to the different musical directions the various members were taking) and the recent departure of bassist Peter Hook for a second time, New Order continue to play today.

We met Pete Hook two weeks ago. He now owns a copy of this alphabet in book form.

fac-abc:

N is for New Order

Originally formed around the three remaining members of Joy Division, New Order eventually acquired keyboardist Gillian Gilbert and spent the next stage of their careers recording seven highly-acclaimed albums and a fairly staggering number of chart hits, including “Blue Monday,” the best-selling 12” single of all time.  They also partnered in and financed the Haçienda nightclub and were well-known for giving very few interviews and using song titles that had nothing to do with their lyrics.  Despite a five-year breakup in the mid-1990s (due largely to the different musical directions the various members were taking) and the recent departure of bassist Peter Hook for a second time, New Order continue to play today.

We met Pete Hook two weeks ago. He now owns a copy of this alphabet in book form.

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So there’s actually an All Night Lounge electronic instrumental called “Hooky and Barney, Kiss and Make Up.”

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I hope everyone remembers that time Hooky and Barney went to Pride together.

(Source: Flickr / astrovinni)

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I found an interview in the May 1988 SPIN magazine.  Hadn’t seen it anywhere else, so here it is.  I’m just going to excerpt…

"… explains Morris, trying to keep the peace."  Story of Steve’s life.

"… Winnie-the-Pooh’s Christopher Robin with a spiky bleach job."  Ladies and gentlemen, Barney Sumner.

“‘Because they’re no bleedin’ good.’”

“‘Does anyone wish he or she were in the spotlight?’  ’Peter’s not here.  Ask him.’”

"… Hook intruded on my conversation with Sumner by waving his…" and I think I will just let you read the rest of that sentence for yourself.

Tags: New Order