When I first heard Blue Monday by New Order in 1983, I was instantly captivated. It’s a great song, and their arrangement was super cool. I’m sure I couldn’t have imagined it being done better using other instruments and another style. But 40 years later when I finally clicked on the video below (which YouTube has been suggesting for me for weeks if not longer), I was absolutely blown away. This is Blue Monday like you’ve never heard it before. The premise was simple. The group, billed as Orkestra Obsolete, arranged the song to be played using only instruments available in the 1930s. The instruments used include such odd choices as a musical saw, wine glasses, a harmonium, a lap harp, a prepared piano,* and a theremin, alongside more conventional instruments like drums and a standing bass. The resulting track is deliciously weird and I cannot stop playing it.
*Prepared piano is a piano that has had its sound temporarily altered by placing foreign objects on or between its strings.
You can’t imagine how deeply I wish I had more to offer you today than just one video from this incredible group. Apparently, Orkestra Obsolete was a one-off musical experiment by the BBC, and once this video was finished, the members went their separate ways. How could they leave us like this wanting more? I feel like starting a Go Fund Me to get them back together.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I am!