Associated Independent Recording

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Associated Independent Recording (AIR) is an independent recording company founded in London in 1965 by Beatles producer Sir George Martin and his partner John Burgess, [1] after their departure from Parlophone. [2]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom, as well as the largest city within the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

The Beatles English rock band

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The line-up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr led the band to be regarded as the foremost and most influential in history. With a sound rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the group were integral to the evolution of pop music into an art form, and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s. They often incorporated elements of classical music, older pop forms, and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways, and in later years experimented with a number of musical styles ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As they continued to draw influences from a variety of cultural sources, their musical and lyrical sophistication grew, and they came to be seen as embodying the era's sociocultural movements.

George Martin English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician

Sir George Henry Martin, was an English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer, and musician. He was referred to as the "Fifth Beatle" in reference to his extensive involvement on each of the Beatles' original albums. Paul McCartney said upon his death, "If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle, it was George".


The leading independent recording studio complex was founded in 1969. Since then, AIR has operated its own professional audio recording facilities, AIR Studios. [2]

Oxford Street - London (1970–1991)

AIR's first facility opened on 6 October 1970. It was located on the fourth floor of 214 Oxford Street, containing four studios, and later a MIDI programming room. The facility included two large studios (one 58×32 feet, the other 30×28 feet) and two small ones. The studios contained two Bösendorfer pianos, many soundproof booths, and a 56-channel mixing console, custom-designed by Neve to AIR's specification. [2]

Oxford Street major road in the City of Westminster in London

Oxford Street is a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors, and as of 2012 had approximately 300 shops. It is designated as part of the A40, a major road between London and Fishguard, though it is not signed as such, and traffic is regularly restricted to buses and taxis.

MIDI electronic musical instrument industry specification

MIDI is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors that connect a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and related audio devices for playing, editing and recording music. A single MIDI link through a MIDI cable can carry up to sixteen channels of information, each of which can be routed to a separate device or instrument. This could be sixteen different digital instruments, for example.

Bösendorfer is an Austrian piano manufacturer and, since 2008, a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha. Bösendorfer is unusual in that it produces 97- and 92-key models in addition to instruments with standard 88-key keyboards, and in its use of 3 strings-per-hammer model of construction.

AIR Montserrat - Montserrat Island, West Indies, Caribbean Sea (mid 1970s–1989)

Ruins of the AIR Studio in Montserrat May, 2013 AIR Studio ruins Montserrat May 2013.jpg
Ruins of the AIR Studio in Montserrat May, 2013

The company built another recording studio on the Caribbean island of Montserrat in the mid 1970s. In 1986, the facility was described as such:

Montserrat British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean

Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory (BOT) in the Caribbean. The island is in the Leeward Islands, which is part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles, in the West Indies. Montserrat measures approximately 16 km (10 mi) in length and 11 km (7 mi) in width, with approximately 40 km (25 mi) of coastline. Montserrat is nicknamed "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants.

"Recently refurbished control room now featuring 60 channels by SSL with automation and TR and 12 fully integrated channels by Rupert Neve of Focusrite, two 32track Mitsubishi X850 digital machines and 24track Studer A800. Digital mixing on two Mitsubishi X86. Very comprehensive ancillary equipment list."

Jimmy Buffett recorded Volcano at the Montserrat studio in May 1979, naming the album and its title song for the then dormant Soufrière Hills volcano on the island. Elton John recorded three albums at the Montserrat studio in the 1980s. Dire Straits recorded their successful Brothers in Arms album between 1984 and 1985. Other artists such as Ultravox, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (Pre-recorded Junk Culture ), Paul McCartney, Marvin Gaye, Rush, the Police ( Ghost in the Machine and Synchronicity ), the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Midge Ure, Little River Band, Duran Duran, Sheena Easton and Luther Vandross have also recorded albums there. The first album cut in the newly opened studios was Real to Reel by the Climax Blues Band in 1979.

Jimmy Buffett American singer–songwriter and businessman

James William Buffett is an American musician, songwriter, author, actor, and businessman. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an "island escapism" lifestyle. Together with his Coral Reefer Band, Buffett has recorded hit songs including "Margaritaville" and "Come Monday". He has a devoted base of fans known as "Parrotheads".

<i>Volcano</i> (Jimmy Buffett album) 1979 studio album by Jimmy Buffett

Volcano is the ninth studio album by American popular music singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett and is his 11th overall. It was released in August 1979 as MCA 5102 and was his first release on that label after its absorption of ABC Dunhill.

Volcano (Jimmy Buffett song) song performed by American popular music singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett

"Volcano" is a song performed by American popular music singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. It was written by Jimmy Buffett, Keith Sykes, and Harry Dailey and released as a single on MCA 41161 in November 1979.

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo devastated the island and the Montserrat facility was severely damaged and was forced to close.

Hurricane Hugo Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in 1989

Hurricane Hugo was a powerful Cape Verde hurricane that caused widespread damage and loss of life in Guadeloupe, Saint Croix, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and the Southeast United States. It formed over the eastern Atlantic near the Cape Verde Islands on September 9, 1989. Hugo moved thousands of miles across the Atlantic, rapidly strengthening to briefly attain Category 5 hurricane strength on its journey. It later crossed over Guadeloupe, St. Croix and St. Thomas on September 17 and 18 as a Category 4 hurricane. Weakening slightly more, it passed over Puerto Rico as a strong Category 3 hurricane. Further weakening occurred several hours after re-emerging into the Atlantic, becoming downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane. However, it re-strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall just slightly north of Charleston, on Isle of Palms on September 22, with 140 mph sustained winds. Hugo had weakened into a remnant low near Lake Erie by the next day. As of 2016, Hurricane Hugo is the most intense tropical cyclone to strike the East Coast north of Florida since 1898.

According to George Martin, [3]

The buildings are still standing but their roofs are failing, leading to extensive damage to the floors of the accommodation area and inner part of the studio complex making them unsafe to walk on. The facility is now a modern ruin, and is closed to the public.

The buildings are located at 16°44′28″N62°12′53″W / 16.74111°N 62.21472°W / 16.74111; -62.21472 .

AIR Lyndhurst Hall - Hampstead, London (1991–present)

AIR Lyndhurst Hall in May 2007 Different sounds... - - 432857.jpg
AIR Lyndhurst Hall in May 2007

In 1991, with the lease on the Oxford Street premises coming to an end, AIR Studios took over Lyndhurst Road Congregational Church, a Grade II listed building designed in 1880 by Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse and located in the Hampstead suburb of northern London. The space was revamped as a recording facility and opened for business in December 1992. AIR Lyndhurst is now a key London facility for classical and popular recordings, as well as film scores, television post-production, and dialogue, sound effects and music for video games.

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  1. Eugene Chadbourne . John Burgess at AllMusic
  2. 1 2 3 "AIR Studios". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  3. Hastie, Paul (2014-03-27). "BBC News - Why do the children of Montserrat sing about a volcano?". BBC. Retrieved 2014-07-25.