Blue Monday, And The Bizarre History Of That Awesomely Weird Choir Sound

It’s ‘Blue Monday’, aka the most depressing day of the year – according to some pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo made up by a UK travel company in 2005.

What better day could there be to look at the story of New Order’s 1983 dance music classic, Blue Monday, and that awesomely weird choir sound? That’s exactly the rabbit hole Mylar Melodies goes down in his new video, embedded above.

The video looks at how New Order used the unique sound of a choir that was transformed through a reported 13 generations of copying, taking it the sound from audio tape to optical sample disc to audio tape to vinyl to digital and back around again. A rat’s nest of generation loss gives the iconic choir sound the artifacts of most of the audio recording formats of the 20th century.

Ready to go in search of rare vintage sample playback keyboards? Check out the video and share your thoughts in the comments!

Topics covered:

00:00 Now, How do you Feel?
01:08 THAT Choir Sound: Sampling Kraftwerk
03:46 Meet The Mellotron
05:00 Meet The Vako Orchestron
06:00 Meet the Optigan
07:37 Another Legendary Kraftwerk Sound
08:40 Recreating Blue Monday!
13:08 The Pea Hicks Tape Story
17:11 Discovering the Secret
19:18 A Contextual Story from Dave
20:23 Mapping the Rabbit’s Journey

via Peter Kirn

10 thoughts on “Blue Monday, And The Bizarre History Of That Awesomely Weird Choir Sound

    1. Which link are you clicking that doesn’t match up with what’s displayed in the status bar? This post has two links for me: ‘made up’ to Wikipedia, and ‘Peter Kim’ linking to his article list on CDM. Both of those links lead to exactly what the status bar says for me, in multiple browsers
      You may have a malware issue.

  1. Well that was amazing. Like he says it’s amazing it’s even recognizable as a choir after so many reproductions. Goes to show how many recording engineers who actually knew what they were doing were involved in every step. By the way, he mentions and ARP Solina. I did a few gigs with one of those and it was like carrying a block of lead.

  2. Nice mini-doc! I get good mileage from M-Tron Pro. With that synth-style GUI, you can stretch things into useful new shapes. I’m glad I never had to fight a premature Sampler From Hell. I had an Optigan as a kid, a Mirage and got to play a few things like Emulators. I can testify that we’re far better off now.

    Small tip: Drop vocal WAVs into synths like Pigments, do some trimming & effecting and turn them into strange choirs or vocal formant leads that smell like alien Munchkins. Simple, weird and rewarding.

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