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This is New Order's debut in name only, with the ghost of Ian Curtis still hanging heavily over his grieving Joy Division bandmates. It would take them one more step, to the brilliant Power, Corruption and Lies, to really assert their own power. Movement, then, is the sound of guitarist Bernard Sumner, percussionist Stephen Morris, and innovative bassist Peter Hook building a bridge from JD's Sturm und Drang drone to New Order's considerably brighter dance pop. It's an interesting bridge to cross though, peppered with dark highlights like the almost poppy "Dreams Never End," the blip-blooping electro chaos of the Pere Ubu-influenced "ICB," and "The Him," with its rhythmic echoes of JD's "Atrocity Exhibition." --Michael Ruby
Top Customer Reviews
Curtis' vocals - the emotional depth he was able to bring to Closer - obviously couldn't be duplicated, although it sounds like the band is trying. Yet, there is a mechanical-computerized element in much of Movement that predates Blue Monday and which works quite well. Clearly, with the Bauhaus cover art and album title, New Order isn't just trying to recreate Joy Division. Even that exercise did yield good fruit, though. The song In a Lonely Place is great (the b-side for the band's first single).
Dreams Never End is similar to the original FAC 33 release of Ceremony. Both are excellent. (I prefer the original Ceremony to the version on Substance.)
The lyrics just seem like gibberish to me, they just evoke feelings and scenes but the interpretation is mostly in your head.
But be warned, this music is FATAL in its power of melancholy. Their friend and former band leader had just committed suicide so understandably they were in a mood of complete and utter despair when they made this album.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Strip them of their history and take this album as it is for the time it was released and even today, and still it holds as a very good set of songs about stretching across a blackened musical landscape of minor chords and sketchy guitar with guilt ridden vocals and the occasional dance-trippy melodies. Movement is a musical statement. It shows the now and the where to go of the later masterpiece, Power, Corruption And Lies. Movement is a gloomy record, but that's ok, the dark wave really did rejoice in it's melancholy and of course in it's layered sounds. Put this album next to PIL Metal BOX and Echo and the Bunneymens Heaven Up Here and you have a couple of dreamy hours into the netherlands of what was to become of Manchester and American Brit rock idolators. Great stuff, and a wonderful clarion call to what was to become the makings of the greatest dance single of all time from the darkness of Dreams Never End: Blue Monday. After the regrettabel suicide of Ian Curtis, who I hope has found some new incarntion better fitted to his damaged soul, New Order lifted spirits rathers than dampened them.
The place was packed.....and dotted among the audience were the luminaries of the North West scene, from Pete Wylie, manic, high, through to Tony wilson, dry and smirking....svengali-like, knowing what he had.
And suddenly there they were, legends already, Dreams Never End assaulting the thick smoky clubby atmoshere, fast, energetic - the link to the past, evoking memories of Transmission and Love Will Tear Us Apart....and Truth, the quirky drum machine....I forget the gig order now but they did the whole of this short album plus In A Lonely Place and Ceremony.
For me this album remains a memory of something very special.... the crysalis stage of something that blossomed into a glorious freedom of expression. In some ways this is a tough listen - a bridge to the swirling, delirious Power Corruption and Lies from the sombre Closer. It does get waylaid in places, but the high points - The him, and the breathtaking Doubts Even Here are reminders of how these people reached out and made us all wonder about things which in our more cynical moods we would dismiss as pretentious nonsense....like how modern music can approach the soul, and be art.
'Movement' is a very ironic title, because if ever a band sounded stuck in the one spot and desperately uncertain where to go next, it's New Order on their debut album. To be fair, the death of Ian Curtis greatly affected the band, creatively as well as personally. Without him, New Order seem caught in two minds; unwilling to just rehash Joy Division's sound, but seemingly unable to boldly push their music forward.
A few new ideas are evident, though. There are some tentative steps toward pop ('Dreams Never End'), electronica ('Truth') and upbeat dance ('Chosen Time'). But for the most part, the songs fall through the cracks a bit, lacking both the gut-punch of Joy Division and the dance hooks of later New Order. They're dark and introspective pieces that all seem to reference Curtis' death in some way, with lyrics about "strange days", "the last reaction", "no reason ever was given", "so far away", and "it frightens me" popping up in every song. Bernard Sumner's singing is very subdued and somber, with none of the boyish ethusiasm of his later work. Peter Hook's bass remains at the low end of the reigster, and apart from 'Chosen Time', Gillian Gilbert's keyboards are relentlessly gloomy and gothic. The real star of 'Movement' for mine is Stephen Morris, who turns in some outstanding tribal-influenced drum beats on several songs.
The big problem with 'Movement', however, is the production. Despite their arty dark image, Joy Division could still rock really hard when they wanted to. If the songs on 'Movement' had the visceral energy of 'Unknown Pleasures' or 'Closer', they could have packed a real emotional punch. In contrast, 'Movement's sound is flat and colourless, and producer Martin Hannett needs to take the blame for this. Hannett crushes the life out of the album with a suffocating production that robs the songs of any impact, keeping us emotionally distant and removed. And his trademark scratches, squeaks, and sound effects are carelessly applied, winding up distracting instead of interesting. 'ICB' in particular is ruined by those annoying bleeps.
It's worth seeking out the 'Peel Sessions' CD or the 'Taras Shevchenko' 1981 concert to hear rawer, more immediate versions of these songs, all of which sound much better when liberated from Hannett's clasutrophobic shell.
The dark and often depressing nature of the songs, the lack of sonic variety, and the dense production make 'Movement' a very challenging listen. But the combination of a hesitant and uncertain New Order and a heavy-handed Hannett means the album doesn't quite reward the effort that you need to put in. There are a few strong songs and some pointers to the band's future, but ultimately 'Movement' doesn't rank up there with the best work of Joy Division or New Order. However, for all its flaws, 'Movement' is an important transitional album between Joy Division and mid-period New Order, making it essential for dedicated fans of both bands.
All the theoretical, intellectual and creative darkness of Joy Division was simply that, theoretical. This album is the reflection of real emotional torment. It's always surprised me that people criticize Movement for being dreary and unenergized when it's that aesthetic which Joy Division used and elaborated on. Once you listen to it with open ears you'll hear that it contains a great deal of power.
Movement is intense, the music is sonicly more dramatic and diverse than Unknown Pleasures or Closer. It has this great electronic aspect to it which upon listening closely is very lush and dynamic. The second track "Truth" is my favorite, those synths are so heavy and powerful...robotic Wagner, and Sumner's week and weary vocal is such a stark contrast to the might of this track.
The bass driven, dark dance grooves on much of the album are great interpretations of Disco, which makes it sound the way Techno does when you're in a K-hole. The whole sound of this album is like being in a hole, a very deep hole. For those who love the constructive darkness of Joy Division, you won't like this album, it's honestly too dark and it lacks all the posing, posturing and rowdiness of Punk which Joy Division definitely had to it's sound. This is the beginning of the anonymous construction called New Order and the end of the Rock band, Joy Division.
Being a fan of both Joy Division and New Order as well as a lover of artists such as Kraftwerk, Gary Numan and Brian Eno I truly enjoy the electronic experimentation on this album. The analog synths shine dark here. This is definitely an electronic album.
That's right, this is not a Rock album. If anything, it's a dub album with electro beats and layered synths. The guitar is used as a wash of atmospheric sound or as a treble background to the bass toned synths. Only in two tracks are the lead and rhythm guitars used as the primary melodic device. Everything else is synth, bass, drum machine, drums and electronic noise.
This is a must have album, a record of torment and an important piece in the sound progression from the boys who brought you Warsaw, Joy Division and New Order.
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