To celebrate the completion of New Order’s Technique—the group’s fifth full-length album—the band members threw a soirée at Peter Gabriel’s Real Word Studios, an event drummer Stephen Morris later described as “an absolute frenzy—the best party I’ve ever been to.” The celebration included DJs and ravers who’d been bussed in from The Hacienda, the Manchester nightclub now seen as ground-zero for the UK’s late-1980s acid house explosion. New Order had helped keep the club afloat during the venue’s financially early lean years, when it was a concert venue; their payoff came when the potent combination of electronic music and ecstasy hit England like a tsunami. Having sat at the vanguard of club music since their early years, the members of New Order could now ride this new wave—creatively and financially. The club explosion wasn’t limited to the UK. Work on Technique had begun in Ibiza, the Spanish isle long known for its all-night dance parties, where the members of New Order spent more time on hedonistic pleasures than productive studio activities. The musicians reveled ’til dawn to the Balearic sound—a mix of Euro-disco and Latin music that was one of the major precursors of acid house—as well as American club music emerging from not only the Detroit techno scene, but also the house music movements of Chicago and New York City. All of those influences would inform Technique, released in 1989. The band’s previous album, Brotherhood, had suffered from a strict segregation between rock tracks and dance tracks. On Technique, the members of New Order found a more affable way for their two sounds to share space on an album. Songs like “All the Way” and “Guilty Partner” retain a guitar, bass, drums, and voice formation that is sonically akin to The Cure (“All the Way” could even be mistaken for “Just Like Heaven”). But the lead single, “Fine Time,” is an instrumental that favors sequenced beat and synth segments that blend together like a DJ in the mix. New Order’s hard-line rock-loving fans may not have been able to find their footing with Technique, but to audiences—and critics—the album is an absolute frenzy.

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