New Order’s new video for “Singularity,” a serene dance-rock cut off their recent Music Complete record, features an assemblage of gritty, grainy images of people in West Germany rioting, dancing and getting naked before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The footage culls from the 2015 documentary B-Movie: Lust and Sound in West Berlin 1989 – 1989.
The film contains mostly unreleased footage captured in West Berlin for movies and TV, beginning with punk and ending with the Love Parade. Its soundtrack features music by the Sex Pistols, Einstürzende Neubauten, Nena, Die Toten Hosen and Joy Division, the group that gave birth to New Order. Its star is Mark Reeder, a musician from New Order’s hometown of Manchester who lived in Berlin during the Eighties and who toured with a New Order and released a Bernard Sumner-produced 12-inch via Factory Records. A trailer for the movie features many of the same images in the “Singularity” video, but with Reeder’s narration.
The track came from Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowland, who worked with New Order on Music Complete. “We thought we might as well get a bloke who’s got more synthesizers than us, and he was the only one we could find,” the group’s drummer, Stephen Morris, told Rolling Stone with a laugh last September. New Order debuted the song live in the spring of 2014, when it was still untitled but became known as “drop the guitar,” a note on the group’s set list. Despite the wrong title making its way around the Internet, the group settled on the name “Singularity” later that night.
“As I understand it, is the point at which artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence,” frontman Bernard Sumner told Rolling Stone. “And then there’s ‘singularity,’ which refers to the beginning of the universe.” It also served as the beginning of the record, as the band would go on to write “Unlearn This Hatred” with Rowland and the rest of the LP after this track.