Martin Hannett

Zero: A Martin Hannett Story

  • AllMusic Rating
    9
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This is the third time Martin Hannett's production work has been anthologized. Martin, released by Factory in 1991 (shortly after Hannett's death), and And Here Is the Young Man, released by Debutante in 1998, are quite similar to this set (they're also shorter), but they've both gone out of print -- perhaps this disc will slide out of circulation within seven years as well, only to be replaced with a slightly better and more thorough representation. The three discs share a lot of the same material and have some similar faults, and they each provide demonstrative looks into Hannett's career, even if you already have half the material on each one. Zero: A Martin Hannett Story contains 21 tracks and lengthy liner notes from LTM's resourceful James Nice. It rolls through a lot of key moments, beginning with Buzzcocks' "Boredom" (Hannett's first job) and concluding with World of Twist's cover of the Rolling Stones' "She's a Rainbow." (You can almost sense the former sneering at the very idea of the latter, but that's another story.) The average music fan won't hear the imprint of singular production work until the seventh track, Joy Division's "Transmission," where Hannett truly began to use the studio and new effects to alter the sound of the instruments. As Nice says, Hannett used "anything, indeed, that created space, weirdness, and 'sonic holograms.'" His creativity peaked during the post-punk era, and a lot of that had to do with the moods and themes explored by the bands he worked with at the time. New Order's "In a Lonely Place," Magazine's "The Light Pours Out of Me," OMD's "Electricity," and Pauline Murray & the Invisible Girls' "Dream Sequence 1" are other central inclusions, while some less-known tracks -- the Names' "Night Shift," Basement 5's "The Last White Christmas," Kitchens of Distinction's "Quick as Rainbows" -- are just as important to the story. "Quick as Rainbows," recorded in 1990, actually indicates Hannett's slide into indistinguishable work, especially if you compare it to Hugh Jones' production of the same song. ESG, A Certain Ratio, Minny Pops, and maybe even Crispy Ambulance and the Stockholm Monsters are the significant missing bands from this roundup, but they all have compilations or in-print albums that are worth finding. The disc is filled to capacity, so it's not as if they would've all fit anyway.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Buzzcocks
2:52
2 2:50
3
feat: Jilted John
2:56
4 3:51
5 3:16
6
feat: U2
4:00
7
feat: Joy Division
3:36
8
5:01
9 3:34
10
feat: Magazine
3:26
11
feat: New Order
6:13
12 3:08
13
feat: The Names
3:36
14
feat: Basement 5
4:45
15 3:59
16
feat: Section 25
3:11
17
feat: Wasted Youth
3:30
18
feat: Nico
5:14
19 3:28
20 3:41
21 3:41
blue highlight denotes track pick