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Genetic Studios

 

Wood Cottage  - Aldworth Road, Streatley,  West Berkshire.   

Genetic Studios was established in 1980 by producers Martin Rushent and Alan Winstanley.The studio was built in the barn at the back of Martin Rushent's home, Wood Cottage, situated in the countryside outside Reading. The area was called 'The Holies', an area of outstanding natural beauty, managed by the National Trust.

In March 1981 Martin Rushent started working with the Human League on what was to become the Dare album. They had completed demos of Sound of the Crowd and Love Action in Monumental Studios in Sheffield  with producer John Leckie but Simon Draper at Virgin Records didn't think that they were right. He loved the drum sound on Homosapian that Martin had produced so asked him to have a go at a track.  So the band turned up at Genetic with the 'The Sound Of The Crowd' multitrack.

"I think Simon had conned them a bit and told them that I'd mix it! I said 'We're going to start again and do it a lot better.' There were a few grumbles but by the time we'd finished they were really pleased".

"That got to something like number six, by which time we'd started 'Love Action'. Everything we put out was a bigger hit than the last and when we sent Virgin 'Don't You Want Me?' they went absolutely bananas."

 

 

 

 

 


After the success of Dare they decided to build another control room with an overdub booth at the other end of the building. The MCI desk was moved there with all of the computer-based gear, so Martin  could work there while the main studio would house an SSL for outside clients.

"The SSL had the most advanced mix functions of any board available at the time, so everybody wanted to use it. What everybody missed was the fact that, in my view, the SSL may sound technically correct, but its never sounded musically correct. I hated working on it, and it ended up ruining my main control room. At the same time, you can never build two rooms that are identical, and I never got the monitoring sound up the other end the way it was in the main room when the MCI was in there.


Sadly times change and Martin Rushent was forced to sell his home and studio.

He moved on in 1989 and the studio was put up for sale. It was sold but continued as a studio till the early nineties

Wood cottage was sold in 2000 for £906,000 and again in 2003 for £1.5 million. At some point the cottage, studio, accommodation blocks and grounds were just abandoned and left to deteriorate, open to vandals, and used as an adventure playground for local kids. It was presumably bought by a property developer waiting to get planning permission to build on the highly sought after land.

More recently battles have raged with the local community over the plans to build a giant mansion house on the site.

Equipment at Genetic.

1982  -  An MCI 32 channel desk.  Otari MTR 90

On the sad death of Martin Rushent in June 2011 his son Tim wrote:

'He made electronic dance records in 1980 when to do so didn't involve a Mac and a cracked copy of Cubase with a bunch of hooky sample cds. It involved working on hugely expensive equipment, that took an age to  programme  the brass swells in the League track"Hard Times" had to be programmed step  by velocity step by velocity step .... it took him DAYS to do the whole riff!)and normally it would drift out of time whilst the synths drifted out of tune as it was being printed to tape!

But the guy sat  there and did it so he could bring something new to the table, something exciting and fresh ... whilst making sure that the tracks could be strummed on an acoustic guitar a nd still be remembered chord for chord, note for note, word for word as decent songs that you could remember.

 He made sure that the songs were instant and drilled
into your brain. Don't believe me? Hum the intro riffs of Don't You Want Me.

See?' 

Recorded at Genetic :

The Human League  :  Dare  - Between March & Sept 1981

The Human League : The Sound Of The Crowd  -  March 1981

The Human League : Love Action (I Believe in Love)   -  July 1981

Pete Shelley : Homosapien  -  1981

Level 42  :  True Colours   1984

Sisters of Mercy : First and Last and Always - Aug 1984

Circus Circus Circus  :  Magic Girl   - 1987

 

 

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