Martin (Factory, 1991)

Martin

Martin r

Review
By 1991 the twilight was fast approaching for Factory Records. FACT 400 was allocated for the 4CD retrospective Palatine, released in November that year in a luxurious (for the time) box. I remember the feeling of putting the first disc in the player, a cold day in Harold’s Cross, the start of a top trip. In his compiler’s note to 2009’s Communications 1978-1992, Jon Savage admits that Palatine was a starting point on which he was trying to improve. Should you ever wish to compare the two, then this is a handy guide – thanks very much to Synthpopguy for his Amazon review. As you will see, out of 90 total tracks, 21 appear on both box sets (23%). That still leaves a lot of material on each release that should be savored and enjoyed. “Think about the future.”

[TRACKS THAT APPEAR ON BOTH BOXSETS]
Joy Division / Transmission (3:36)
Durutti Column, The / Sketch For Summer (3:00)
X-O-Dus / English Black Boys (4:46)
Joy Division / Love Will Tear Us Apart (3:26)
A Certain Ratio / Shack Up (3:14)
Marcel King / Reach For Love (5:27)
52nd Street / Cool As Ice (7:48)
Cabaret Voltaire / Yashar (John Robie Remix) (7:31)
Quando Quango / Genius (6:25)
Happy Mondays / 24 Hour Party People (4:38)
Tunnelvision / Watching The Hydroplanes (3:52)
Distractions, The / Time Goes By So Slow (3:21)
Wake, The / Talk About The Past (6:25)
Railway Children, The / Brighter (4:55)
Miaow / When It All Comes Down (3:30)
Revenge / Seven Reasons (4:09)
James / Hymn From A Village (2:53)
New Order / True Faith (5:54)
Happy Mondays / W.F.L. (Think About The Future) (7:12)
New Order / World In Motion (4:31)
Electronic / Getting Away With It (5:16)

[TRACKS THAT APPEAR ON PALATINE ONLY]
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark / Electricity (3:32)
A Certain Ratio / All Night Party (3:14)
ESG / You’re No Good (3:11)
James / Folklore (2:51)
A Certain Ratio / Flight (6:05)
Section 25 / New Horizon (6:04)
New Order / Ceremony (4:25)
Stockholm Monsters / Happy Ever After (3:07)
Quando Quango / Tingle (5:30)
New Order / The Beach (7:18)
Section 25 / Looking From A Hilltop (4:38)
A Certain Ratio / Skip Scada (2:09)
Kalima / Sparkle (3:41)
New Order / Confusion (4:42)
Fadela / N’Sel Fik (7:10)
Joy Division / Wilderness (2:37)
Stockholm Monsters / Partyline (5:50)
Happy Mondays / Kuff Dam (3:06)
New Order / Age Of Consent (5:15)
Durutti Column, The / Otis (4:15)
Durutti Column, The / The Together Mix (6:07)
Northside / Shall We Take A Trip (5:28)
Steve Martland / The World Is In Heaven (Classical Version) (4:02)
Wendys, The / Pulling My Fingers Off (4:03)
Cath Carroll / Moves Like You (4:14)
Northside / My Rising Star (6:27)
Happy Mondays / Step On Remix ’91 (4:27)
Joy Division / Atmosphere (4:11)

[TRACKS THAT APPEAR ON COMMUNICATIONS ONLY]
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark / Electricity (Factory Version) (3:45)
Section 25 / Looking From A Hilltop (Megamix) (8:10)
New Order / Confusion (8:13)
Northside / Shall We Take A Trip (4:24)
Cath Carroll / Moves Like You (Remix) (6:33)
Happy Mondays / Step On (5:18)
Joy Division / Digital (2:51)
Cabaret Voltaire / Baader Meinhof (3:23)
Joy Division / She’s Lost Control (4:54)
Section 25 / Girls Don’t Count (4:28)
Crawling Chaos / Sex Machine (5:39)
A Certain Ratio / Flight (6:04)
Names, The / Nightshift (3:37)
New Order / Ceremony (Original Version) (4:37)
Minny Pops / Dolphin’s Spurt (2:51)
John Dowie / It’s Hard To Be An Egg (3:09)
Crispy Ambulance / Deaf (3:57)
Section 25 / Dirty Disco (5:19)
New Order / Everything’s Gone Green (5:34)
Durutti Column, The / Messidor (2:31)
A Certain Ratio / Knife Slits Water (LP Version) (7:36)
Royal Family And The Poor / Art On 45 (4:49)
Swamp Children / Taste What’s Rhythm (6:06)
New Order / Temptation (8:58)
New Order / Blue Monday (7:29)
Quando Quango / Love Tempo (7:55)
Stockholm Monsters / All At Once (2:57)
Life / Tell Me (3:10)
Durutti Column, The / Without Mercy (Duet) (2:33)
Kalima / Trickery (4:28)
A Certain Ratio / Sounds Like Something Dirty (6:56)
Happy Mondays / Freaky Dancin’ (3:45)
Biting Tongues / Compressor (4:52)
New Order / Fine Time (4:45)
Happy Mondays / Hallelujah (Club Mix) (6:29)
Happy Mondays / Kinky Afro (3:59)
Durutti Column, The / Home (5:39)
Electronic / Get The Message (DNA Remix) (5:27)
Northside / Take 5 (4:12)
Other Two, The / Tasty Fish (3:51)
Happy Mondays / Sunshine And Love (Lionrock Remix) (7:19)

The productions of Martin Hannett (1948-1991) undoubtedly had the most significant influence on forming my broader musical tastes after the initial pop rush of the early 1980s. An original director of Factory Records, Hannett’s work essentially defies the passage of time, as fresh now as then. He died on a Thursday – 18 April 1991 – at the age of 42. Four months later, the label released a tribute album showcasing a brief 13 track sample of his work with all proceeds given to his family. “I’d just get stoned.”

Martin Zero is credited as producer on the Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch 7″, released in 1977. The EP is sometimes referred to as Spinal Scratch, much the same manner that Howard Devoto is erroneously listed as the lead singer with Devo. The frantic jagged rush, so good:
“If I seem a little jittery I can’t restrain myself
I’m falling into fancy fragments”

It’s all over far too soon. Next – licensed from Receiver Records without royalties but with full band approval – the booming aggressive punk of Cranked Up Really High by Slaughter & The Dogs. And then, going rabid on John Cooper Clarke’s fabulously taut Suspended Sentence, the bard of Salford at his most intense. “Death is unsightly, death smells.”

Drawing primary lyrical inspiration from a young woman experiencing a violent epileptic seizure, She’s Lost Control is a key entry in the Joy Division discography. Two separate versions exist: the one on Unknown Pleasures (1979), and an extended, more electronic version which was released in 1980 on the Atmosphere 12″. I much prefer the latter and thankfully it is here, containing an additional verse, one of the band’s final recordings before the Ian Curtis killed himself that May. The percussion is savage, almost relentless. In an odd bit of sequencing, Jilted John is next, the last refuge of the embittered teenager. It would have worked better after Suspended Sentence as A Certain Ratio’s loping funk of Do The Du is a logical progression from the beat-focused re-recording of . . . Control.

Another Martin Zero production, Almost was the B-Side of OMD’s Electricity. An austere masterpiece, heavily influenced by Kraftwerk, it was eventually re-recorded for their debut LP. I am not overly familiar with the single mix but the running time suggests that it may be the album version here. And next – marking its CD debut at the time, quite a coup – was U2’s wondrous standalone single, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock. The band first met Hannett at the Strawberry Studios in Stockport during March 1980 to see if they wanted to work with him. During their visit, Hannett was producing Love Will Tear Us Apart, for which U2 observed the recording session. Despite the obvious influence, Bono & Co did not gel with Martin and against Island’s wishes, he did not produce their debut album Boy. In the early days of Dave Fanning’s Fab 50, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock took the #1 position four years in a row – 1980 to 1983 – before The Smiths’ How Soon Is Now? made off with the 1984 crown. Normal service was resumed from 1985 to 1990 when Bad (Live) – from Wide Awake In America – dominated. Always broadcast on three nights, just before Christmas.

Everything’s Gone Green, despite its position on the Substance running order, was actually New Order’s third single after Ceremony and Procession. Stephen Morris’ drumming is hypnotic, the simplicity of the synth and driving jangly guitar riff is not easily replicated. Jumping ahead to 1988, time for the Happy Mondays and the single mix of Lazyitis – (One-Armed Boxer) – featuring the sprightly crooner Karl Denver. Tapping into the spirit of baggy’s end times, World Of Twist’s dayglo cover of the Rolling Stones’ She’s A Rainbow still shines brightly. In the strawberry fields forever, Hannett’s work is miraculous here. It’s followed by the claustrophic paranoia of the New Fast Automatic Daffodils’ Get Better. Finally, we end on a peak with The High’s marvellous More, a crucial single of the era. Described as “The Stone Roses without the dance beats”, surely it is time for Somewhere Soon to be fully re-appraised. But for now this is bagged-out beautifully, a fitting finale.

And that’s all from me for 2019. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Favourite tracks
The High – More

World Of Twist – She’s A Rainbow

Lest we forget
U2 – 11 O’Clock Tick Tock

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1 Response to Martin (Factory, 1991)

  1. Pingback: Indie Top 20 Volume 13 (Beechwood Music, 1991) | A Pop Fan's Dream

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