Be Music Productions Cool as Ice

There was a period from 1983 to ‘85 ("Blue Monday” to Low Life) when the four members of New Order occasionally dabbled in studio production for other acts on the Factory label. Though they never worked together on those projects, Be Music Productions was the name they used. Bernard Sumner is the most prolific of the bunch, twiddling the knobs on eight of Cool as Ice’s 12 tracks. With Be Music, he breaks from his perennial image as New Order’s shy vocalist and hypnotises with a distinctive set of electro-bass signatures. Some of his clients, like Section 25 and Quando Quango, might have post-punk/no wave associations, but with Sumner at the mixing desk, their sound is surprisingly playful and ecstatic in the spirit of labels like Prelude and West End, not to mention the Paradise Garage. His remixes for Marcel King and 52nd Street (which features Goldie’s future vocal collaborator, Diane Charlemagne) allow us to ponder on what New Order might have sounded like if they came out of Manchester’s R&B scene. The same goes for Johnny Marr and A Certain Ratio’s Donald Johnson, who help out on a few of the tracks. (LTM)