New Order and the Way We de-Fine Time.

We may use high tech instruments to record time down to the most infinite of units but it is still and arbitrary contruct. For the most part people don’t measure time in hours and minutes. Sure, the clock runs our daily lives, work at 8:00, doctor’s appointment at 2:30. Its always there but as time goes by the days are less important and we tend to measure its passage by our memories. The smell of Grandma’s apple pie brings you back to those Thanksgiving dinners, the sound of the rain brings you back to that camping trip, or the taste of a good Bordeaux transports you back to the French Vineyard where it first passed your lips. For me music acts as that catalyst. So many memories wrapped up in the sounds that defined the time period when they happened.

Nothing marks the passage of time than hearing that one of your benchmark musical moments has reached an unthinkable milestone. That’s why I was struck reading that Technique, the last of the classic New Order albums released at Factory Records turns thirty this month. New Order was my youth. One of a handful of bands that defined my generation. It was the last year of the 80’s, soon the clock would usher in a new decade, grunge, brit pop, emo, Napster and music piracy, the fall of the music industry, iTunes, the advent of streaming, the continued loudness war, the willingness to settle for compressed sound from inferior earbuds. The 80’s belong to Gen X, the lost generation, and the music was mine. Although I have maintained a close relationship with new music, indie sounds and alternative in general. None of it feels like its mine. It belongs to different generations, different times. Hell, in 2019 it belongs to my kids living only months away from the third decade of the 21st century.

Listening to the album this week took me back to The Record Peddler, waiting for my Factory records UK pressing to arrive. Listening to the album in my friends basement… all the time spent listening to music on his Akai stereo. CD and Vinyl always sounded so good on that system. Hours of trying to figure out lyrics and talking about girls and the music we were going to make, Perhaps the next ‘Blue Monday’ or ‘Fine Time’, on his state of the art Amiga computer.

As for New Order, they have had some good records since Technique. Some highlights here and there but nothing compares to the groundbreaking and influential music they made in my decade. Like so many bands they still make music but time for the most part has passed them by.

I’d like to think that today’s music will help shape my kids in the same ways it shape my generation but I’m not certain it will. The way we consume music is different, it’s disposable and seemingly less important than it was all those years ago. Will kids use music to benchmark their youth the same way their parents and grandparents did. I guess only time will tell.

Copyright 2019 Greg Glazebrook, All Rights Reserved.

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