It’s an often told story: Joy Division singer Ian Curtis hung himself on May 18, 1980, which was the eve of what was supposed to be their first U.S. tour. The rest of the band — Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner and Steven Morris — went anyway, discovered the joys of New York City (and NJ), played shows, had all their gear (which they brought with them from the UK) stolen, and recorded an unreleased Joy Division song, “Ceremony,” while there. New Order was born.
Less than a year after Curtis’ death, now with Morris’ girlfriend Gillian Gilbert in the band, New Order made their debut album, Movement. They were still reeling from the shock and unsure how to proceed, cranking it out in 10 days, working with their Joy Division producer Martin Hannett at his Strawberry Studios in Manchester. The spectre of Curtis hangs all over the album, with both Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook affecting dour lead vocal deliveries, not to mention the general gloomy vibe. If it’s more like Joy Division than what New Order would soon become, the seeds are there: Hook’s bright bassline intertwining with Sumner’s guitars on opener “Dreams Never End” is the basic blueprint for the group’s non-synthy side (it’s also the blueprint for The Cure’s “In Between Days”), “Truth” is New Order’s first recorded use of drum machines as well as melodica (which would pop up again on “Your Silent Face,” “Love Vigilantes” and other songs), and “Chosen Time” is an early flirtation with disco. (Instrumentally, Movement is awesome.) A truly transitional record, Movement is the sound of New Order finding their identity, enjoyable and fascinating in its own right.
Movement is getting a box set reissue on April 5 via Rhino that they’re calling the “definitive edition.” It includes the original album with a reproduction of Peter Saville’s iconic sleeve, plus a CD of the album, a bonus CD of previously unreleased tracks, a DVD of live shows (including those early NYC-area gigs) and TV appearances, and a hard backed book. It’s all in a lift-top box and you can check out the full tracklist and preorder it here.
Additionally, the first four New Order 12” singles — “Ceremony (version 1),” “Ceremony (version 2),” “Everything’s Gone Green,” and “Temptation” — are also getting vinyl reissues in their original sleeves on March 8 via Rhino. Those are all worth owning, too. I prefer the second version of “Ceremony,” personally, and I definitely like this original version of “Temptation” more than the rerecorded Substance version (which is the one most people know).
If you’ve never listened to Movement, have at it: