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Chris Hanzsek and Tina Casale opened Reciprocal Recording in Seattle in 1984. It was originally located in an office suite next to a railroad switching yard in Seattle's Interbay neighborhood, and in 1985, the business moved to the "basement in Madrona" location. Later that year, Chris and Tina launched C/Z Records while both producing at Ironwood Studios Recording, and in March 1986 they released the "Deep Six" compilation.
In June 1986, Chris partnered with Jack Endino to reopen Reciprocal Recording at 4230 Leary Way N.W. in the Ballard neighborhood. The tiny building had formerly been home to Triangle Studios, and before then had been the site of a small neighborhood grocery, called Triangle Foods.
Chris Hanzsek was the original studio owner, and Jack Endino and Rich Hinklin worked closely under Hanzsek, both often filling the role of house producer. The studio was commissioned by indie rock bands from all over the United States, some of which were associated with C/Z Records, Sub Pop, Amphetamine Reptile, Twin Tone, and other independent labels. The studio specialized in grunge music, and recorded bands such as Soundgarden, Mudhoney, TAD, and Green River.
The studio was also the site of the first Nirvana demo session on January 23, 1988. Jack Endino recorded ten new songs with the band, and afterwards sent a copy of the demo tape to Sub Pop. Nirvana re-entered the studio a few months later to record Bleach. Of the original demo session, 2 songs are on Bleach, and five are included on Incesticide. Only one demo, a version of Spank Thru, remains unreleased.
Since Reciprocal closed in 1991, the Ballard building has housed a string of other recording studios. Rich Hinklin took over the building lease and managed a studio called Word of Mouth Production until mid-1993, while Chris Hanzsek opened Hanzsek Audio in another location in 1994. After Word of Mouth, the building was used by John Goodmanson and Stu Hallerman for John and Stu's Recording, and more recently, it was the temporary home of Hall of Justice, a studio run by Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie.
Recordings from Reciprocal
- Bleach - Nirvana
- Dry as a Bone - Green River
- God's Balls - Tad
- Mudhoney - Mudhoney
- Screaming Life - Soundgarden
- Spanking Machine - Babes in Toyland
- Superfuzz Bigmuff - Mudhoney
- Another Damned Seattle Compilation - Various Artists
- ''Helplessness Blues'' - Fleet Foxes
- ''The Photo Album'' - Death Cab For Cutie
- ''Transatlanticism'' - Death Cab For Cutie
- "Amazon Buffalo" -Michael Marlin