Just when you thought a box set, best of and singles collection was enough retrospective New Order product within the last few years (not to mention more of the same in years before), it happens again!
However, even if you own any of the above, Item is well worth a look due to it being a collection featuring all of their promotional videos to date (including 2 new exclusive commissions), plus a long-awaited – and extended – DVD transition of 93’s New Order Story documentary.
Item appears to be an HMV exclusive, which can save you a bit of money if you have designs for both A Collection and New Order Story together. The only other noticeable thing is the fact that a cardboard sleeve houses them both. Also note that the encoding used here is NTSC – be sure that you’ve got the equipment to handle that; though most people do.
One criticism I want to start with is overlapping content: New Order Story is a documentary that features quite a number of music videos up until ’93, and these same videos appear in Collection, although only the former includes a bit of Joy Division. This is allowable due to the documentary being untampered with (though is uncut unlike the VHS original), but if you’ve never seen either before, getting both of these DVD’s and seeing the same content in parts can seem disappointing.
The videos on A Collection are mixed in 5.1 surround and play in chronological order. Though the ideas have always been fresh, the rise in budget clearly shows as the videos progress. The two new videos here, for oldies Ceremony and Temptation, have been produced by long-time visual collaborator Michael Shamberg – and they are brilliant!
The first of them, shot in Beijing, has a 70’s/80’s BBC sheen featuring a homeless man and elegant artistic filming. Stills from this video make up the art for the Item sleeve and A Collection.
Temptation, shot in Paris is largely black and white and makes use of the romantic setting, where a young girl steals a record and dances to it.
Aside from this and the main content, there are alternate videos as well: Round & Round has a subtle difference, while Regret is a live TOTP transmission with the cast of Baywatch! A different mix of Crystal is accompanied by what seems to be a front bicycle wheel view of roads. Temptation live, is as featured on New Order’s 3 16 DVD, taken from their New York ’81 gig.
Rounding off A Collection is the ability personalise the playlist (smart!) and a link to a website that is as yet undeveloped (go www.kinoteca.net). A booklet featuring sleeve notes from Shamberg also features.
The Paul Morley (he who wrote for the NME and is as integral a part of New Order for his love of commas in writing about the band religiously) produced New Order Story basically documents the origins of the band from their days as post-punk group Joy Division (led by the late Ian Curtis) to the golden era of their career as Bernard Sumner fronted New Order, to just before they virtually disbanded the group temporarily.
New Order Story is quite a stylish piece of film in that it’s interspersed with low-quality camera, game show style segments called The NO Show fronted by comedian and one-time collaborator Keith Allen. The female narration, of what is certainly Morley’s dialogue, adds a near Spinal Tap reverence that at the same time is both serious and comical.
Between video breaks, the usually media shy band reveal all about the New Order story. Stars such as U2’s Bono, Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tenant, DJ Pete Tong and respected producer Quincy Jones also wax lyrical about the band.
So engrossing (as well as draining for one sitting at 138mins) is the film that it could probably do a good job in intriguing those who’ve had no prior inclination towards the band, and their unique mix of indie rock and electronic dance pop.
No special features come with New Order Story, but then this was pretty much a video transition. The movie poster style artwork is faithful to the Republic album (the band’s first major label album) of the same year.
Recommending Item requires some consideration. If you’re a casual fan I’d recommend just one of the DVDs: If you want to learn about the band and would like to see a few of their videos, then I’d say New Order Story, otherwise for pure music video it has to be A Collection. If you’re a NO nut then you’re going to get Item. In fact you probably have it already.
Item (A Collection & New Order Story) DVD (2005)
Genre: Alternative Pop
Record Label: Warner Music Vision