04 August 2009
Recycle 08: Murder
[Link removed 20 November 2012] (21 MB)
Factory Benelux (Belgium) FBN 22
Produced New Order
2. Thieves Like Us Instrumental
Sourced from the Substance CD. Just a bit of level adjusting and a slight touch of limiting.
Murder was New Order's second and last exclusive single for Factory Benelux. For a group which had occasionally put very strong songs on B-sides (Cries And Whispers, Lonesome Tonight, 1963), this one seems more like a B-side than an A-side, and was relegated to the B-side disc on the Substance compilation. It's a short song by New Order standards, and not very melodic. Driven by a pounding, somewhat tribal drum rhythm, it's really just a few riffs which repeat throughout the track. It's instrumental aside from some dialogue and music samples from the films Caligula and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Originally intended for Power, Corruption & Lies, Murder was left off at the last minute.
New Order (and Joy Division before them) had a long-standing relationship with film. The band started naming songs after movies because their original rehearsal space had some old posters hanging on the wall: The Sound Of Music (named so by Ian Curtis because he did actually love the movie, but also to be funny), Ice Age (Eiszeit), In A Lonely Place, Cries And Whispers, Age Of Consent, Thieves Like Us, and on Technique we have Vanishing Point, which is not only a film, but the lyrics make a direct reference to Whistle Down The Wind.
To me, Murder is the last of the New Order songs to bear any resemblance to Joy Division. I love this track a lot, and I think it would have been right at home on Power, Corruption & Lies, which has one more film connection in the song Ultraviolence, taking it's title from Clockwork Orange.
What's most interesting to me here is the use of sampled dialogue in lieu of any lyrics. Having bought an E-Mu Emulator in late 1982 - one of the first affordable sampling synthesizers - if the band had actually put this on the album, it would have been the first record to use sampling in such a way. By the late 90's sampled dialogue in dance and industrial music was commonplace.
Just as one would say "a school of fish" or "a flock of sheep", the correct usage is "a murder of crows". In both films, the sampled dialogue deals with murder - either human or mechanical - but in Caligula, Malcolm McDowell keeps seeing crows as an omen of impending death, and he fears them.
Murder is one of the very few songs from the Factory years that was never played live. Best of all is the sleeve, which serves as a night-time counterpart to Thieves Like Us.