Martin Hannett tapes

What appears to be a treasure trove of aging tapes recorded by legendary postpunk producer Martin Hannett — including copies of original masters and outtakes by the likes of Joy Division, New Order, The Psychedelic Furs and Magazine — have been “rescued” from a garbage bin and are now being put up for sale by Hannett’s former personal assistant.

Julia Adamson, a onetime member of The Fall who worked for Hannett from 1981 to 1983 before serving as a sound engineer at Manchester’s Strawberry Studios through the remainder of the ’80s, this week posted a photo on Facebook showing nearly 30 tape boxes with the note: “rescued tapes of Martin Hannetts .. anyone interested.” She doesn’t say where the tapes were found.

The boxes, as you can see in higher resolution, contain notes referring to a host of acts Hannett worked with in the late ’70s and ’80s, including the Furs, Magazine, The Durutti Column, The Names, Slaughter & The Dogs, Minny Pops, Yargo, Easterhouse and What? Noise, one of Adamson’s own bands.

Of course, the items of most interest no doubt are the six boxes marked with either “Joy Division” or “New Order” — particularly the one labeled “Joy Division Outtakes.” Adamson suggests that a copy of the original master tapes of Joy Division’s landmark 1979 debut Unknown Pleasures also is among the collection.

The quarter-inch tapes were digitized in 2008, Adamson, who played in The Fall in the late ’90s, notes in the comment thread on Facebook. She writes that she’s had no luck interesting Peter Hook in the tapes: “He’s not a happy bunny. Tried the other band members, too, to no avail, and the record companies.”

She writes:

“I have looked after these tapes for a long time and when I approached the artists (who were my first port of call) I was subjected to accusations and abuse… so I don’t really care anymore. I know they are worth something to a collector… and good luck to them. The quality of Unknown Pleasures far surpasses the mastering from vinyl over the years (they lost the master tapes long ago… these are copy masters… and outtakes… that I assure you are quite splendid).”

Adamsom, who currently runs Invisible Girl Records, acknowledges she’s aware of the legal issues surrounding such tapes — namely that it would be difficult to release any such material without the involvement of the copyright holders and original recording artists. “I’m a music publisher,” she notes, “probably one of the reasons these tapes are in my hands in the first place, they were incalculably valuable and needed to be rescued from a skip.”

She adds:

“The digital copies will be available for all the artists and record companies … the tapes have always belonged to me, as I rescued them. I am keen for a collector to have them (the whole collection ideally) as they are very old and probably deteriorating and should be baked or whatever, nor do I really want to look after them anymore.”

In the lengthy Facebook thread about the tapes, she encourages any interested parties to message her directly about the tapes. She notes: “I reckon it will go viral (not by me).”




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