The Man The Music The Machines

A tribute event to Martin Hannett
Leaf Cafe, Liverpool
22nd June 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

With the organisers having staged a similar event in Manchester, now it was the turn of Liverpool to pay tribute to renowned record producer Martin Hannett, best known for his work with Joy Division, and most notably the haunting and atmospheric album masterwork Unknown Pleasures.

As well as a film ( a very long film!) about his life and career in music, there were examples on display of some of the recording equipment Hannett used in Strawberry Recording Studios as well as a brick which formed part of the recording studios in Rochdale in which he produced a number of iconic tracks by JD, including Atmosphere, Digital, Dead Souls, Ice Age and Glass.

On the wall there were album sleeves of various musicians and bands who had greatly influenced, particularly Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, as well as photographs of Hannett working in the studio and conversing with various musicians from the local Manchester scene.

Of particular interest were Hannett's first tape recorder, an Elizabethan, which he bought when he was a schoolboy, that he he used to create early sound experiments in the late 50s and early 60s, recording footsteps and street noises.

Although JD was his main claim to form, Hannett also produced other Manchester-based bands, Buzzcocks, Magazine, Happy Mondays and Durutti Column. He was credited with creating the post-punk Manchester sound.

Sadly Hannett died aged 41 in 1991 following a heart attach brought upon by excessive drug taking and drinking.

Hannett hailed from Didsbury and JD singer Ian Curtis was born in Macclesfield, not exactly rock music capitals, but what an utterly potent force together they proved to be.

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