They shall be released - lost tapes at Windmill Lane await star owners

 

Spice Girl demo tapes, collaborations between the Chieftains, Mark Knopfler and Paul Brady; between Christy Moore, Bono and the Edge are among the mountain of tapes from the old Windmill Lane recording studios looking for a home.

An early version of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, Metallica performing with Marianne Faithfull and multiple film soundtracks are also among the wealth of tapes which are clogging up the studios.

The pile also includes early Riverdance demos, film music by composer Michael Nyman and soundtracks from films including Michael Collins, The Commitments, The Mask and The Talented Mr Ripley.

Tapes weighing a tonne

All are still in situ, years and in many cases decades, after they were recorded. More than 1,000 tapes, weighing a tonne, which are filling up the attic in the new Windmill Lane studios in Ringsend, are waiting to be reclaimed by the artists or recording companies that recorded them.

The two-inch multitrack tapes were used in the days before digital technology took over the studios in the middle of the last decade.

Over the years they have begun to deteriorate and are of questionable use. The tapes have started to “shed” their recording material.

“They are probably not of any practical value,” said Tony Perrey, a producer at the studio.

“You would only ever get one chance to play them again and that would be under archival conditions.”

Destruction

Many of the tapes are either demos, master tape back-ups or discarded takes. Mr Perrey said they will start to destroy the tapes from May.

He said they could be digitised but such a process would be “hugely expensive”.

A full list of acts who recorded at the studios can be seen at windmilllanerecording.com/ clients.