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O Magazine

Recording silence.

—By Marcos Gendre

Tony Wilson said it already back on the day: “The room I see when I listen to ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and ‘Closer’ for that matter are not far from this one, a broken down, half empty, half domestic space. A room that has barely survived the sounds it has made.” Such a perception of Joy Division’s sound at an architectural level emerged from the disturbed mind of Martin Hannett, who, at a given point of film 24 Hour Party People, is remembered on top of a hill, alone, no one else around but him and “his” silence; the butt of a joint hanging from his mouth; his pupils, sleepy, behind dark glasses that look like they were nicked from Ian Hunter. His big figure, covered with a long leather jacket, fits in with the typical Puerto-Rican pimp on the streets of Scarface. On one hand he is holding an ambient microphone. He’s carrying a recorder. The headphones tame a bit the wild escarole of his hair. Martin is alleviating his obsession: moulding the sounds in his head. It’s a moment of peace, sublime, inspiring; at least until Tony Wilson appears in the background…

— ¡Martin! What are you doing?
— I’m recording silence!
— Recording silence?
— No, I’m recording fucking Tony Wilson!!!

From the total introspection of a guy absorbed by his vision we move on to a comic break provoked by the unexpected encounter with the boss of Factory Records. On this scene, the GIF is a meticulous descriptive portrait of Martin Hannett. In no more than three shots, we learn he’s an obsessive loner, addicted to any toxic evasion that can enable him to fly over the limits of his mission. We can also sense that he’s an eccentric genius with an ego as big as Joe Meek’s. The “less is more is more to do with punk” applied to film expression, but with the deep semantic meaning of post-punk.