This week’s issue of The New Yorker has a nice little nugget of contemporary music trivia: Phoenix’s upcoming record Bankrupt! was mixed on the fabled Harrison 4032 solid-state recording console used to make Michael Jackson’s legendary Thriller.
According to The New Yorker, Phoenix guitarist Laurent Brancowitz found the console for sale on the eBay page of owner Clayton Rose, who owns a Christian music studio in Fullerton, California. Upon consulting with the band, they decided they “had to have it” because they “liked the idea of working with a consecrated artifact, as well as having something strange upon which to fixate between albums.”
“The most mysterious part to me was that no one else– no nerd or music engineer or memorabilia freak– seemed to want it,” frontman Thomas Mars told The New Yorker. “There was something a little spooky about him [Rose]. He was very pushy. It seemed like a scam. ” After a prolonged and skeptical online back-and-forth with Rose, Mars committed to the console for a price of $17,000 (the original asking price was $32,000) and shipped it to Paris to begin mixing Bankrupt!.
A couple more tidbits from the piece: The Harrison is as “long as a Ping-Pong table and weighs eleven hundred pounds” and Bankrupt!’s original working title was Alternative Thriller.