Best-known for producing The Human League’s iconic electro-pop classic Dare, Martin Rushent – who has died aged 63 – also worked with acts as diverse as The Stranglers and Osibisa.
Fascinated by the studio life since his school band had the opportunity to record a demo at EMI, English-born Rushent took his first steps into a recording career when he became a tape operator – alongside Tony Visconti – at Advision Studios. Progressing through the ranks to become staff engineer and finally head engineer, Rushent worked with an eclectic array of acts during the 1970s – from mainstream pop singer Petula Clark to prog-rock overlords Emerson Lake & Palmer.
His career took a decisive leap to the next level when he went to work for United Artists, where he became closely associated with The Stranglers, producing three of their most highly regarded albums: Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes and Black and White.
Enthused by the then-burgeoning electronic music scene, Rushent was to be found immersed in synthesizers, programming and home recording technology come the turn of the 1980s. Establishing his own cutting-edge facility, Genetic, he produced/engineered for Pete Shelley, XTC, Generation X, Altered Images and, most famously, The Human League. The Sheffield group’s innovative 1981 LP, Dare, went on to become one of the most enduring and oft-imitated artefacts of British electro-pop.
After a period away from the industry in the late ‘80s, Rushent returned to the scene in the early ‘90s, energised by the potential of rave culture. He developed an interest in club venues, and also returned to the studio, working with a host of up-and-coming acts, including The Pipettes, Killa Kela and Does It Offend You, Yeah?, whose lead singer is Martin’s son James.
Rushent – who was married with four children – passed away on 4 June 2011, aged 63.