New Order may be trying to achieve a different kind of “Singularity” in their new video.
New Order, one of the premiere English post-punk bands of all-time, released their tenth studio LP, Music Collective, last year. The well-received record – their first without Peter Hook – followed a 2014 autobiography from frontman Bernard Sumner. In the memoir, the singer/guitarist detailed the band’s transition from Joy Division, New Order’s moniker before the infamous suicide of then-frontman, Ian Curtis. “Our music had become so incredibly dark and cold, we couldn’t really get any darker or colder,” he wrote. “I remember quite clearly sitting in a club in New York one night, around three or four o’clock in the morning, and thinking how great it would be if we made music, electronic music, that could be played in one of these clubs.”
New Order did indeed redefine themselves, melding their brooding post-punk with the emerging influence of electronic dance music – though they did keep the darkness. The band just revealed a new video for “Singularity,” a track off their 2015 record. Using footage from B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin 1979-1989, a documentary about the life of EDM industry vet, Mark Reeder, New Order supplemented the track’s buzzing synths and frantic pace with jarring imagery of state violence and the vivid punk portraiture of 1980s Berlin.
The term singularity, the proposed instance in which AI attains self-awareness, has been much discussed of late, largely due to movies like Her and technological achievements that are inching ever closer to such an event. In this new video, New Order seem to invoke a definition of singularity that, rather than address the marriage of human and machine, addresses the convergence of the state and its counterculture. What happens when they meet, head-on? It’s something that society has dealt with since the dawn of civilization. Will we ever achieve the New Order singularity, one predicated on universal egalitarianism? Let us know what you think in the comments.