OMD, No Sequencers, Cheap Synthesizers & Souvenir (The Documentary)…Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

I was browsing and found this OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark) documentary from The Videodrome Discothèque Vault.

For me, like other bands from this era, OMD represents a place in time when musicality may have been an aspiration, but not a reality among many of these young musicians. These young artists began to look toward the new compact electronic instruments of the mid to late 1970’s as sound sources. The very compact synthesizers that companies like Korg, Roland, ARP & Moog were starting to produce. Despite a lack of musical chops, they were heavily armed with fresh new ideas and no preconceived notions of what music should or had to be. Sure, there was the The Beatles, Pink Floyd and others creating cutting edge music before them. Nonetheless, these musicians chose to use mostly synthesizers and drums generated by drum machines instead. Some of the early ideas for their musical sound were inspired by Krautrock bands like Kraftwerk. The very band they would mimic with one of their first singles, Electricity. I’m still not sure if Tony Wilson’s significant other was the one responsible for OMD becoming a Factory Records product, but really, does it matter? OMD would join Kraftwerk, the torchbearers for futurism and along with others, continue to inspire thousands upon thousands of us to create electronic music and beats.

My favorite parts of this documentary are when Andy McCluskey walks us through the synth parts of songs like Messages and Enola Gay. How they turned meager sounding synthesizers into finished hit songs is always worth review. The rehearsals before their 2007 reunion shows also added an element of nostalgia which I relish.

OMD also represent an imperfection coupled with an angularity which now, in retrospect, typifies a genre. Remember though, by the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, they were still going against the norm of accepted mainstream sound. The theme of imperfection OMD has discussed before, but it always seems to resonate with me. This is also probably one of the reasons why I keep going back to bands from this era. Especially, when you consider just how perfect we have gotten with musical production. Quantization and cutting/pasting making everything sound just perfect. Compare that to having to play a sixteenth note bassline for an hour to get it right.

Alright then, enjoy the video…

The Videodrome Discothèque Vault is pleased to present this Director’s Cut of the 2007 “Souvenir” documentary, which captures the band between their initial reunion and the creation of “History Of Modern”


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