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Odyssey Studios

23-25 Castlereagh Street, London W1

Philsbook.com

By Tony Harris

Odyssey studios opened in 1979 and was the brainchild of record producer Wayne Bickerton. It was a "money no object" state of the art project, purpose built from the ground up. The studio was designed by acoustician Keith Slaughter. It featured one very large main studio and a mix room with a small studio area. A third studio was added later, this being a radio production and voice over room. A disc cutting suite was planned but never came to fruition. The whole building was isolated on neoprene blocks for effective sound insulation. Both rooms were conceived to be 56 track from day one. MCI equipment was used throughout, 56 channel JH 500 desks in each room.

The original plan was for each room to have a 24 track and a 32 track machine, unfortunately MCI's ground breaking 32 track machine (using 3 inch tape at 20 ips) never got beyond the prototype stage so both rooms ended up as 48 track using 2 MCI JH-24 machines.


Monitoring was by Audicon in both rooms. This system used JBL speakers bi-amped by BGW amps. Auratone reference speakers were also available. The monitoring was later changed to UREI 813 Time-aligned speakers.

The main recording area at Odyssey was impressive to say the least, a double height room with distinctive undulating ceiling. A balcony at half height ran round the room from above the control room to above the separation booths opposite.


There were two booths one nominally for drums the other housing the piano. The full height area to the right of the control room had a wooden floor for extra liveness. The author vividly remembers darting in to the room to get a mic stand whilst Tony Iommi's guitar set-up towered above him taking up most of the full height of the studio, the hiss being louder than most people's playing, thankfully he didn't strike a chord while I was out there.

An extraordinary video of Odyssey at this early stage can be seen at:

 www.youtube.com/watch

Love the background music and good to see a young Teri Reed getting to grips with a crossed pair of 414s!


The remix room was extensively rebuilt in 1985 by Neil Grant's "Discrete Research" company and utilised a Live-end/Dead-end design. The MCI desk was replaced by an SSL 6000E.


 The studio 1 control room was also redesigned by Neil Grant to match studio 2. A Calrec UA 8000 desk was installed but this was rapidly replaced by an SSL 6000E. In 1987   Mitsubishi 32 track and 2 track digital machines were added to the equipment available.


 

As with so many studios Odyssey got caught in the vice of diminishing record company budgets and increasing overheads and was sold, initially to Jazz FM. The building is currently occupied by Smooth FM (the home of Simon Bates no less).

 

 

Recorded at Odyssey Studios:

ALAIN BASHUNG             "PASSÉ LE RIO GRANDE"
ALISON MOYET               "ALF"
ARNO AND ANDREAS     "DIE PLATTE"
BANANARAMA                "TRUE CONFESSIONS"
BILL BRUFORD'S EARTHWORKS  "DIG?"
BLACK SABBATH            "MOB RULES"
BLUE RONDO A LA TURK      "CHEWING THE FAT"
CATHERINE DENEUVE          "SOUVIENS-TOI DE M'OUBLIER"
CHIEF EBENEZER OBEY       "JE KA JO"
FASHION                      "TWILIGHT OF IDOLS"
GERRY RAFFERTY       "NORTH AND SOUTH"
GODFATHERS              "MORE SONGS ABOUT LOVE & HATE"
HARRY SECOMBE AND MOIRA ANDERSON         "GOLDEN MEMORIES"
JAKI GRAHAM              "HEAVEN KNOWS"
KATE BUSH                 "THE DREAMING"
LOOSE TUBES             "LOOSE TUBES"
LOUISE GOFFIN           "THIS IS THE PLACE"
MAGNUM                     "THE ELEVENTH HOUR!"
MARC ALMOND           "STORIES OF JOHNNY"
MARVIN GAYE             "IN OUR LIFETIME"
MEN WITHOUT HATS          "POP GOES THE WORLD"
MONROES                         "FACE ANOTHER DAY"
NINO BUONOCORE            "NINO IN COPERTINA"
PAT METHENY GROUP      "THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN"
ROGER DALTREY         "UNDER A RAGING MOON"
ROGER DALTREY         "CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE MOVIE"
ROGER WATERS          "RADIO K.A.O.S."
THE WHO                     "FACE DANCES"
THIN LIZZY                    "RENEGADE"
THIS WAY UP               "FEELIN' GOOD ABOUT IT"
TRANVISION VAMP       "POP ART"
XTC                               "MUMMER"

       Studio Index

 

1982

 

The MCI desk in 1984

 

After a career as a successful musician, producer, then five years as head A&R at Polydor, Wayne Bickerton started State Records in 1975 with Tony Waddington.

 

1984

 

 

2012