To transmit - "to convey or communicate (usually something immaterial) to another or others... Also, to convey (force or movement) from one part of a body, or of mechanism, to another" (OED). Joy Division's Transmission implores us to "Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio," invoking the electromagnetic wave of wireless telephony as well as the body's desire to reach another body through physical action. Transmission reproduces through language the commentary on repetition and the new which Drumming, Pt.1 performs -
And we would go on as though nothing was wrong.
And hide from these days we remained all alone.
Staying in the same place, just staying out the time.
Touching from a distance,
Further all the time.
The song presents dancing and listening to the radio as methods through which human interaction can become possible - the repetition of the mandate to "dance" acting as a reification of the "ecstatic structure of time in our moment" (McClary 295). Yet, unlike the visionary fervor which ends Reich's Drumming, Pt.1, Transmission laments the distance and loneliness embedded in the act of dancing to the radio, a kind of isolation which leads to abjection despite the possibilities which repetition opens up. The longing to connect is what animates both of these tracks, whether they are negotiated and absolved through rapture or resisted while still aching to close the gap.
Joy Division. Transmission. Factory, 1979.
McClary, Susan. "Rap, Minimalism, and Structures of Time in Late Twentieth-Century Culture." Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music. Ed. Cristpoph Cox and Daniel Warner. New York: Continuum, 2008.
Reich, Steve. Drumming, Pt. 1.
"transmit, v." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 12 Feb. 2010