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News February 1, 2023

A Historic Abbey Road Console Finds New Home Inside Hobart Museum

A Historic Abbey Road Console Finds New Home Inside Hobart Museum
Image: Jesse Hunniford

A truly iconic piece of recording equipment has found a new home in Australia.

The Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania, has become the only museum in the country to house a recording studio.

Known as Frying Pan, the studio happens to host the historic REDD.17 console, which formerly lived at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London between 1958 and 1980.

During that period, the vintage piece was used to mix albums by acclaimed artists like The Beatles, and is one of only four ever built in the world.

The console was purchased by Aussie businessman David Roper, who then came up with the studio idea and developed it further with Brian Ritchie, Artistic Director of MONA FOMA and Music at MONA.

After it was presented to MONA founder David Walsh, it wasn’t long before the recording studio was built in the heart of the Hobart museum.

Frying Pan (so-called because of its location opposite Frying Pan Island) will be open to local artists from Tasmania, as well as musicians from all over the world.

The studio is led by producer and sound engineer Chris Townend, who brings over three decades of experience working with artists like Silverchair, Augie March, Tim Finn, and Portishead.

“It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to design a fully functioning recording studio inside a museum,” Townend says.

“Mona is an artistic cave of wonders, with music such an integral part of the experience—from city-wide festivals to intimate gallery gigs. Frying Pan artists will benefit immensely from the surrounding inspiration, ridiculous location and abundance of equipment, both historic and hi-tech.”

The vintage REDD.17 console will be utilised alongside a collection of other rare analogue equipment, as well as an array of digital touches, including a state-of-the-art lighting rig and several HD cameras.

And even if you’re not a musician, Frying Pan should be a must-visit on any Hobart trip, with visitors able to witness the music-making happening via a large viewing window.

Bookings for Frying Pan are open now via the official website.


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