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 35 Little Russell Street Lonon

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Matrix studios opened at its original location at 35 Little Russell Street in 1977. It was set up by Nigel Frieda, who had previously had a studio in a flat in Notting Hill that had outgrown its location.

The premises used to be a dairy, the area that the studio occupied was below ground and had been previously used as accommodation for the horses that pulled the milk lorries!

The studios were very much "hand made" at first, built by Nigel and engineer Nick Bradford (ex-Trident) with a little advice from Eddie Veale. Other engineers based at Matrix included Simon Heyworth, Richard Whaley and Kenny Jones.

    35 Little Russell Street  - 2011

 The first control room featured a home built 30 channel desk designed by Tim Isaacs (colleague of Dick Swettenham). The main studio area measuring 38ft by 25 ft with varying acoustics and a raised drum area. A Bechstein grand piano was resident in this room. Early clients included the Police, Penetration and the Fall, Matrix became very popular with the punk scene as word got round of this new affordable 24 track studio.

Soon another room was added, the custom console going into this new room (studio 2) and a 28/24 Trident A range (from Trident studios) was put into the existing studio (studio 1). Other equipment in studio 1 consisted of an MCI 24 track (ex Brian Eno) with MCI and Scully stereo machines. Outboard was AMS DDL and Harmoniser, Marshall Time Modulator, limiters by UREI, Rebis and Valley People; reverb by ubiquitous EMT plates. A unique feature available at Matrix was "the Dungeon" a live echo chamber leading off from studio 1.

Studio 2 was a much smaller room (22ft by 15ft) but recorded some seminal albums most noticeably Marianne Faithfull's "Broken English" and "Dangerous Acquaintances". The custom desk was paired with a Telefunken 24 track machine (32 track compatible). Outboard included AMS DDL/flanger/harmoniser; UREI 1176 and DBX 160 compressors; reverb EMT (Plate and Gold Foil) and Masterroom. Monitoring throughout the complex was by Tannoy.

By 1980 Matrix had built a dedicated mix room to retain work lost by people recording at Matrix then going elsewhere to mix. This room featured a brand new Trident TSM (32/24) and copious outboard. The tape machine was a Lyrec transport modified by Colin Broad to incorporate a noise gate for every channel, triggerable from the sync head during mixdowns. Monitoring in this room was by Tannoy Super Reds. This TSM was later replaced by the SSL 4000B from the Townhouse studios. A small recording area was added to, this room now becoming Studio 3.

A big attraction of Matrix was the "communal" feel to the place with a central recreation area (with pool table) onto which all the control rooms opened. This fostered a creative atmosphere with lots of random musical hook-ups with people adding overdubs to each other's recordings.

A flood from the upstairs Pizza Express in 1985 caused major damage and wrote off the Trident A range in studio 1 which was replaced by a Soundtracs. The old Studio 2 was rebuilt as a mix room, the old control room becoming a vocal booth. The desk was an 48 channel SSL (ex PowerPlant). This mix room became very popular with producers such as Lee Perry, Tim Simenon, Adrian Sherwood and Soul II Soul. Tape machines in all three rooms were replaced by Otari MTR-90s.

The Little Russell Street premises was sold by United Dairies and had a series of different owners all of whom had different ideas about the future of the building. This insecurity spurred Nigel on to buying a new property outright, this being an old church hall in Studdridge Street SW6, the aim being to move all the equipment over. However a combination of a change to a more humane landlord at Little Russell Street and a glut of work meant that both premises carried on working concurrently.

Studdridge Street had two rooms designed by Andy Munro, upstairs the desk was an old Neve A210 from Music Station Studios and in the downstairs studio was a 48 channel SSL G series. This boom in business continued and the Matrix empire expanded with the purchase of firstly Maison Rouge Studios then Wessex Studios (see separate entries). This took their studio count up to 10 rooms!

As with many studios Matrix became a victim of diminishing studio rates and increasing overheads, Nigel saw the writing on the wall and sold the whole lot by 2000 and retrenched to his current incarnation of Matrix in Parsons Green, a flexible business of mix rooms, programming rooms and offices.

http://www.matrix-studios.co.uk/

 

 

RECORDED AT MATRIX  (Russell Street or Studdridge Street)

ADAM AND THE ANTS    "KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER"
AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE  "SONGS OF PRAISE"
AKABU    "WARRIOR QUEEN"
ALTERNATIVE TV   "STRANGE KICKS"
ANDROMEDA STRAIN  "IDOL" E.P.
ANTHONY PHILLIPS   "SIDES"
APOPTYGMA BERZERK  "7"
BABY NAMBOOS   "ANCOATS 2 ZAMBIA"
BARMY ARMY    "THE ENGLISH DISEASE"
BERNARD SZAJNER    "SOME DEATHS TAKE FOREVER"
BRENDAN CROKER AND THE 5 O'CLOCK SHADOWS  "BRENDAN CROKER AND THE 5 O'CLOCK SHADOWS"
BIM SHERMAN   "EXPLOITATION"
BIRTHDAY PARTY   "JUNKYARD"
BOMB THE BASS   "UNKNOWN TERRITORY"
BOO RADLEYS   "BOO UP!" E.P.
BRYAN FERRY   "TAXI"
CHELSEA    "EVACUATE"
CHERRY BRAKEWELLS  "FIRST BITE"
COIL     "THE SNOW" E.P.
DARRYL WAY    "CONCERTO FOR ELECTRIC VIOLIN"
DJ SPIKE    "TASTELESS CUTS"
DOMINIK VON SENGER  "THE FIRST"
DUB SYNDICATE   "STONED IMMACULATE"
DUFFO    "BOB THE BIRDMAN"
GANGWAY    "THAT'S LIFE"
GARY CLAIL AND ON-U SOUND SYSTEM "END OF THE CENTURY PARTY"
GARY NUMAN   "TELEKON"
GLENN WARREN   "RHYTHM OF HAPPY FEELINGS"
GOD MACHINE   "SCENES FROM THE SECOND STOREY"
GRAHAM COXON   "THE GOLDEN D"
IAN CARR'S NUCLEUS  "AWAKENING"
INNER CITY    "YOUR LOVE"
IPE LAZA    "STIŽEMO"
JOHN WATTS    "THE ICEBERG MODEL"
JO  LEMAIRE AND FLOUZE  "PRECIOUS TIME"
LEE "SCRATCH" PERRY  "FROM MY SECRET LABORATORY"
LIMELIGHT    "LIMELIGHT"
MARIANNE FAITHFUL  "BROKEN ENGLISH"
MARIANNE FAITHFUL  "DANGEROUS ACQUAINTANCES"
MIKE WESTBROOK BRASS BAND "GOOSE SAUCE"
NATIONAL HEALTH   "D.S. AL CODA"
ONCE MORE    "STRESS CONFERENCE"
OPPOSITION    "BREAKING THE SILENCE"
PARADISE LOST   "HOST"
PIERRE MOERLIN'S GONG  "DOWNWIND"
RAW     "RAW"
RED CRAYOLA WITH ART AND LANGUAGE "KANGAROO?"
RENTALS    "SEVEN MORE MINUTES"
ROGER CHAPMAN   "MAIL ORDER MAGIC"
SAINTS    "CASABLANCA"
SMITHS    "THE SMITHS"
SONS OF JAH    "REGGAE HIT SHOWCASE"
SPIKE     "INVISIBLE"
SPIZZLES    "SPIKEY DREAM FLOWERS"
STEVE HILLAGE   "GREEN"
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS  "TINDERBOX"
STILLPOINT    "MAPS WITHOUT EDGES"
SUBCIRCUS    "ARE YOU RECEIVING?"
SWERVEDRIVER   "RAISE"
TACKHEAD    "FRIENDLY AS A HAND GRENADE"
TOY     "BAD NIGHT"
TRANCE DANCE   "A-HO-HO"
TRANSVISION VAMP   "POP ART"
UK SUBS    "CRASH COURSE-LIVE"
WILDING / BONUS   "PLEASURE SIGNALS"
XTC     "GO 2"  

            

By Tony Harris  2012.  With thanks to Nigel Frieda and Kenny Jones

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RECORDED AT MATRIX