New Order’s 1983 Classic “Blue Monday” Played with Obsolete 1930s Instruments

Released 40 years ago this week, New Order’s “Blue Mon­day” (hear the orig­i­nal EP ver­sion here) became, accord­ing to the BBC, “a cru­cial link between Sev­en­ties dis­co and the dance/house boom that took off at the end of the Eight­ies.” If you fre­quent­ed a dance club dur­ing the 1980s, you know the song.

The orig­i­nal “Blue Mon­day” nev­er quite won me over. I’m much more Rolling Stones than New Order. But I’m tak­en with the adap­ta­tion above. Cre­at­ed by the “Orkestra Obso­lete,” this ver­sion tries to imag­ine what the song would have sound­ed like in 1933, using only instru­ments avail­able at the time— for exam­ple, writes the BBC, the theremin, musi­cal saw, har­mo­ni­um and pre­pared piano. Quite a change from the Pow­ertron Sequencer, Moog Source syn­the­siz­er, and Ober­heim DMX drum machine used to record the song in the 80s. Enjoy this lit­tle thought exper­i­ment put into action.

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Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post appeared on our site in 2016.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Radiooooo: A Musi­cal Time Machine That Lets You Hear What Played on the Radio in Dif­fer­ent Times & Places

Sovi­et Inven­tor Léon Theremin Shows Off the Theremin, the Ear­ly Elec­tron­ic Instru­ment That Could Be Played With­out Being Touched (1954)

Meet the “Tel­har­mo­ni­um,” the First Syn­the­siz­er (and Pre­de­ces­sor to Muzak), Invent­ed in 1897

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.