A frank memoir from the musician who was an integral part of two of the most influential bands ever viz. Joy Division and New Order. Sumner comes across as down-to-earth and amiable and tries to be as candid as possible about difficult issues – like the suicide of Ian Curtis and the break up with Peter Hook. Easy to read and an essential book for fans of these legendary bands.
Does life have to make sense? Does music need to feel complete? Or is it the inherent contradictions that make music the life-affirming force it can be?
Did anyone expect a new New Order album? Hooky out, Gillian back? In case you are not keeping score, Hooky (bassist Peter Hook) announced in 2007 that New Order was over and that he was leaving. Eight years later, Barney Summer and the rest of the gang (Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham & Tom Chapman) has somewhat taken up the challenge to prove Hooky wrong.
And whilst the end product is a sublime dance-rock album of the kind that the original New Order are considered the pioneers of, Music Complete is not really New Order, any more than Electronic or Bad Lieutenant were New Order. The name itself is meaningless – without Hooky’s bass, this is most definitely not New Order.
However, in the final analysis, it makes no fucking difference, does it? With all the electro-pop acts vying for attention in the modern rock wasteland, the old masters have come back from the dead to show the young upstarts how it’s done.
There’s no doubting Summer’s way with a melody (and dodgy lyrics) but it is in the rhythm and the beats that Music Complete excels – big beats, techno, house, disco all mashed up into a heady mixture. “Restless”, “Tutti Frutti” and “Stray Dog” (with Iggy Pop on vocals) all rise like cream to the top but it is in the final number “Superheated” that Music Complete well and truly soars with one of the finest New Order tracks since the glory days of the 80s. “Superheated” is five minutes of sheer electro-pop bliss. Close your eyes and it’s the mid-eighties again.
A PoP feature where we examine the influence on ART on rock and pop music, in particular album covers.
Dutch artist Piet Mondrian was a contributor to the De Stijl (the style) art movement and group. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed neoplasticism. This consisted of white ground, upon which he painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors. This type of abstraction has inspired many – especially music artists – to borrow liberally from Mondrian’s ideas. Here are some examples.
Most recent instance of Mondrian’s influence on pop artists. The cover of the latest New Order album, Music Complete.
An almost literal translation of Mondrian’s work, from The Apples in Stereo.
An interesting 3D take from Silverchair.
Colour scheme is somewhat inverted but the inspiration is obvious on this Coldplay album cover design.
A rather clever way to represent Mondrian’s style, The White Stripes even entitled this album De Stijl!
Modern art and rock music constantly colliding! We will continue to be on the lookout for more.