'Technique'

30 years of New Order's Balearic inspired 5th album

Tuesday 5th February 2019

Like other notable albums recorded in 1988-1989, including The Style Council's 'Modernism: A New Decade', New Order's 5th LP, 'Technique' was influenced by the dissemination of Acid House and the dance music culture that spread at an exponential rate from its origins in mid-'80s Chicago.

Continuing to move New Order's sound in the more electronic direction, as 'Brotherhood' had done two years previously, 'Technique' was specifically influenced by the Ibiza club scene. The band had relocated to the Balearics in an effort to brighten up the recording process with engineer Mike Johnson overseeing the sessions. The hedonistic euphoria of the Ibiza scene was still in its ascendant period, and naturally, the eclectic soundtrack of the island made its way into the fabric of the record, including Peter Saville's futuristic baroque cover art. 

The accounts of rock classics being mixed into the electronic beats of Balearic House in the Spanish clubs reflected the duality of New Order's own output, but it was reportedly this pull between New Order being a straight rock band and a programmed dance outfit that began to cause rifts in the band's personnel. 

The first single to be taken from the album 'Fine Time' was a fine example of the electronic side of New Order's identity taking the lead, with the synthesised acid bassline and drum machines doing most of the heavy lifting.

The band reportedly began to record their parts separately as tensions between the band members grew. There were also rumours of some disagreements between New Order and Factory's Tony Wilson. The latter of these two issues became the subject matter for the second single from 'Technique'. As if to illustrate the point, Wilson retitled the release 'Round and Round' against the band's wishes (who prefered the title 'Vanishing Point').

The final single to come from the album was a much more conventional rock-orientated song. So conventional in fact that John Denver's eagle-eyed lawyers noticed a striking similarity between it and Denver's classic 'Leaving On A Jet Plane'.

John Denver ended up with an out-of-court co-credit on the song, and any troubles between the band and Tony Wilson were perhaps truncated by Factory Records infamous bankruptcy. The album would be the last that New Order released with Factory, followed only by their UK singles chart-topping foray into football anthems in 1990.

It would be another four years before another album, on another label, in the form of 'Republic' and eight years after that until 2001's 'Get Ready' placing 'Technique' as the end marker of New Order's first run of albums and the end of an era for Factory Records and their output.

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