New Order > Movement [Collector's Edition] > Fact 50 Movement < Peter Saville
Movement [Collector's Edition]; front cover detail
29 September 2008
01 Dreams Never End
04 Chosen Time
06 The Him
07 Doubts Even Here
Movement bonus disc:
01 Ceremony (12" Version)
02 Temptation (12" Version)
03 In a Lonely Place (7" Version)
04 Everything's Gone Green (12" Version)
05 Procession (7" Version)
06 Cries and Whispers
07 Hurt (12" Version)
08 Mesh (12" Version)
09 Ceremony (Alternate Version)
10 Temptation (Alternate 12" Version)
CD description [via Amazon.co.uk]
After the tragic suicide of Joy Division's Ian Curtis, the band restructured. Guitarist Bernard Sumner, whose gift for combining the melodic with the hypnotic had been the band's cornerstone, stepped up to the microphone. The resulting debut Movement finds the group taking a brave step away from its unfortunate past. Preserved are Joy Division's dark edges - Sumner's guitar attack swerves deftly between funereal repetition and noisy bursts, while bassist Peter Hook continues to explore his instrument's upper registers. From the slow, deliberate build and melodic interplay of its opening moment, the mid-tempo Dreams Never End, Movement boldly states the band's more experimental, slightly less emotionally turgid agenda. That Sumner is trapped under the influence of Curtis is undeniable--at times, the resemblance is alarming, but Movement is the sound of Sumner finding his voice. The spacey synth-pop of The Him foreshadows the sound New Order was to slowly develop, as Sumner became more comfortable with the upper reaches of his vocal range. Dynamic play abounds - the existentialist drone of Truth gives way to a crushing, chaotic guitar wail, while the intense, revealingly named Doubts Even Here slowly erupts beneath a disturbing double-vocal, stressing the burgeoning diversity of this legendary band in the making.
When Ian Curtis died on May 18, 1980, few could have expected the surviving members of Joy Division to carry on. The exponential growth of that revolutionary groups reputation and influence has shown how supernaturally good they were. How could Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris survive the loss of their singer and lyricist and escape the shadow of this band that had meant so much to so many?
We were all pretty shell-shocked about what had happened to Ian, says Bernard today. Suddenly we had to think about the future. And we didn't have any answers. But we did know we loved being in a group and making music and playing gigs and having fun we were young guys, you know. I knew I wanted to do this. So the question was, what are we going to be? Are we Joy Division without Ian? Is that going to work?
Whether it was stiff upper lip, working class bloody mindedness, or young mens sure knowledge that music could be their lives, they Drew strength from being together, and carried on. But in the short-term, there were practicalities to be taken care of. Like, who was going to sing?
By June 29 1980, the three had played a short instrumental set at Manchester's Beach Club; five weeks after that, they flew to America to play the shows that Joy Division could not. Taking the bold move not to look outside the family, all three members shared vocals, with manager Rob Gretton (who also tried out for the job) favouring Stephen for the role of singing drummer.
Rob's thing was, yeah, stick the drums at the front Steve recalls Stephen. But I just couldn't do it. I could play the drums and sing, but not necessarily in my own style, I actually started sounding like Al Jolson, after a while. I couldn't be consistent. It came to pass that Bernard was vocalist when, in New Jersey in September 1981, they recorded their first single Ceremony and In A Lonely Place, both written just two weeks before Ian died.
In October 1980, the still relatively-untutored Gillian Gilbert, Stephen's girlfriend who had once guested with Joy Division at Eric's in Liverpool, joined on keyboards and guitar. New Order's line was complete. Now they had to decide who, and what, they were going to be.
Released in November 1981, their debut album Movement was recorded with these questions still to be resolved. They would be decided in their usual studio, Strawberry in Stockport, with Joy Division's visionary producer Martin Hannett. Previously, sound obsessive Hannett had cloaked the music of Joy Division in an icy industrial ambience. On Movement he was to bridge the gap between what had been and what was in the process of becoming. I don't think there was a lot of time to reflect after Ian died, muses Gillian. We got very upset in Strawberry, we had to close all the doors you had people around all the time there, receptionists coming in and out leave us alone, y'know. We had to hide away for bit, because you were thinking about Ian who wasn't there, and there was us lot carrying on, not struggling exactly but finding our place.
There was further tension in the air. Not only would the mercurial Hannett make sure the studio was air-conditioned to an arctic degree the official reason for this was that it was to stop diabetic engineer Chris Nagle from going into a coma, but he would freeze the band out in other ways. He didn't want you there, at all, says Hooky.
He didn't like musicians, and his hatred of Bernard and I was quite well documented. We told him, or asked him things, trying to give our opinion on things, and he fucking hated it! He used to stop and say get them two cunts out of here or I'm walking! Bernard is more forgiving of their first producer. Looking back, Martin was in a mess, I'm not sure whether that was because of Ian or because of the quantity of drugs he was taking, which might have been taking because of what happened to Ian, he ponders. He was very kind of obscure in his methodology in the studio, even at the best of times his approach was entirely experimental. His view was, the studio is an instrument, so let's see what we can do with it. And because of that, he was a great catalyst in the studio. Martin knew it had to be different, and we knew it had to be different, but none of us knew what that different was, says Stephen. It's here where you got the beginning of, the, sort of, are you rock or are you disco? Kind of thing? Disco rock? Rock disco?
Movement has had its share of critics, not least within the band itself, but compared to much of the guitar pop of now, it still sounds thrillingly forward thinking. With Hooky's stentorian bass sound, Bernard's jagged guitar abstracts and Stephen's fluid drumming being so recognisable, it was unsurprising that they would carry echoes of their former incarnation. The need to speak with a new voice, though, was as strong as the irresistible gravitational pull of Joy Division,and it made for a diverse album of post-punk energy, rhythm, Texture and experimentation. Bold opener Dreams Never End, sung by Hooky, was anything but retiring and sounds remarkably formed, while the sonar bleeps and echo of ICB bring out Hannett's dub persona.
Elsewhere the shadows are deeper, as on the murmured tension-and-release exercise for drum machine and melodica Truth, or the percussive, funk-powered solemnities Senses and Chosen Time. One contrast was inescapable; while Ian Curtis sounded sonorous and commanding, there are times on Movement when Bernard's vocals see him give voice to the subject of The Him. Small boy kneels humble in a great hall.
The thing about New Order, and Joy Division too, was that you could hear us learning in public, explains Bernard. Especially my voice. I'd never bloody sung before. The first time I'd ever sung, in my entire life, was Ceremony and In A Lonely Place. But who said life was easy? Again, I think it's a working class thing. You expect life to be tough. It seems peculiar now, but we just wrote from instinct, he continues. The less we thought we thought about it and the less we analysed it, the more songs we wrote. It's like, if you don't really know what you're doing, if you haven't grasped it, every time you write a track it's like the first time you've written a track. That holds true, very much like my lyrics. Looking at it now, as a mature guy, I guess really what we were doing was writing from the subconscious.
After Strawberry they had extra work to do in Marcus studios on London's Queensway, and later still, mixing in Island studios in Basing Street. Marcus was where Martin got really stroppy, Stephen remembers, that's the famous not doing anything until the Charlie arrives thing. Which was a bit of a joke really but he eally wasn't going to do anything until it arrived. You could do something if you wanted but he wasn't going to. Willing New Order into existence was not a quick process. Gillian remembers the technological limitations of the time as casting her as the human sequencer. It was like on Chosen Time, she says. Bernard said, "Just play these four notes over and over and over again". We could do it quite quickly, actually, but it was a lot harder than it looks. Yet it was through this very human application of technology that the sound of New Order was born. Hooky's rock bass and Stephen's metronomic drumming were given new and broader dimensions by the increased use of synthesizers, and with Bernard's new role as singer, he too could go about establishing his own methodology.
An enduring New Order tradition was established at the album's conclusion, too; having used various gallows-humour working titles for the songs Chosen Time was Death Rattle, for example good taste decreed that new names had to be thought up on the album's completion. They really were just pasted on at the end, says Stephen. Which is the reason why Movement doesn't make sense to us, is we never knew the songs by the names that they appeared as. I think Movement is a good record, says Hooky. Peter Saville (New Order sleeve designer) has a very interesting theory about musicians. He reckons that all musicians can't write challenging music because they've learned how to write professional, good music. The thing is that when you listen to Movement, you can hear a lot of mistakes that shouldn't be there. I think that Movement, even more than any other album, is very much about learning vocally and the way you use the vocals. Bernard wasn't a lead vocalist, it was like you were using the vocals as another instrument really, which I liked because it was pretty mad. We didn't have choruses; verses would be dead long; there'd be one verse with one chorus at the end a pretty wacky way of working really. Of all the albums in this reissue series, Movement is most altered by the addition its second disc of contemporary singles and b-sides.
There are examples of transitional songs, such as In A Lonely Place Or Cries And Whispers, but others point unequivocally forward. Bernard's voice is no longer muted on Everything's Gone Green, which paradoxically came out on a single with Procession before Movement in September 1981. Occupying the rarefied juncture where psychedelic post-punk meets the Italo-disco fantasias of Giorgio Moroder,
Bernard cites it as a signpost of where New Order would next. I think Everything's Gone Green was struggling for a something new, he says. It came about primarily through me being very interested in technology. I'd become an insomniac in the process of being a member of Joy Division. Because we didn't have any money and synthesizers were so expensive, I decided to build one, because I was into Kraftwerk. I'd be up watching films with a soldering iron in my hand, remember being in the studio with Martin in London one night, he was in the control room. There was an Oberheim synth in there and we had this drum machine hanging around, and I thought fucking hell, this thing's got a pulse input, what would happen if I plugged this into the synth and started the drum machine up? And what happened was, Wow, come and listen to this Martin! That was the start of the new sound. Everything's Gone Green, which Factory records head Tony Wilson once called the most important song in the modern world, was clearly no one-off. Similarly propulsive, May's Temptation is one of the all-time great New Order songs, and came with a sense of ragged euphoria that would return in a more refined form two years hence on Thieves Like Us.
Martin Hannett, though, would not be on hand to share in New Order creative rebirth. Martin did the seven-inch version of Everything Gone Green, I'd gone to bed, and Hooky and Bernard did the 12, remembers Stephen, Martin had had enough, he'd left them to it. And that was the beginning of the end of Martin, really. Having taught his former charges his secrets, the ill-starred Hannett would not work with the band again. In 1982 he took legal action for unpaid royalties against Factory, the company in which he was a shareholder. He would only be briefly reconciled with the label before his early death from heart failure in 1991. Yet one of his famously illogical studio instructions to the Joy Division - to play faster but slower - foresaw the ability of the band that became New Order to unite competing, complimentary opposites in their music and still-forming identity. By 1983's Power, Corruption & Lies, they would be playing machines with more heart and soul than anyone before, or since.
Tracklisting as per Rhino publicity