New Order’s 1983 anthem “Blue Monday” is still the best-selling 12″ single of all time, and a huge part of its enduring appeal is its relentlessly modern (for the time) electronic elements: that Oberheim DMX kick, that staccato sequencer melody; all of it combined to give the track a sonic impact that very few bands can claim to have put on record.
But what if, in an alternate Fringe universe, a band had written New Order’s calling card in 1933? What would that sound like? Could a harmonium and a prepared piano from the ’30s even come close to approximating New Order’s then-state of the art sequencers and drum machines?
Apparently, yes. In conjunction with the BBC, mysterious collective Orkestra Obsolete have put together a video showcasing their version of New Order’s classic track, composed entirely of instruments that were in vogue in the 1930s. These include the zither, hammered dulcimer, and Bo Diddley’s namesake, the Diddley Bow. Watch the time paradox in action:
Not pictured: the crippling poverty and misery of the Great Depression.