Robert Rental

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Robert Rental
Robert rental.jpg
Background information
Birth nameRobert Donnachie
GenresIndustrial, avant-garde, post-punk
LabelsIndustrial, Mute
Associated actsThe Normal, Thomas Leer

Robert Donnachie (1952–2000), known under the stage name of Robert Rental, was a British pioneer of the post-punk DIY industrial electronic music scene in the United Kingdom.


Originally from Port Glasgow, Scotland, he moved to the south of England with Thomas Leer in the late 1970s, and became involved with the local music scene. Robert Rental however released very little of his solo music, preferring to collaborate with Thomas Leer, as well as with Daniel Miller (as The Normal). The only solo recording from The 1970s is the 7" single "Paralysis" first released on the homemade Regular Records,[1] then re-released on Company Records in 1978.[2] "Paralysis" was recorded at home on a 4 track Tascam tape recorder which he hired in collaboration with Leer. The single features the distorted sound of a Stylophone. Another distinctive sound that Rental used was that of the EDP Wasp Synthesizer, which he introduced to Chris Carter of Throbbing Gristle and William Bennett of Whitehouse. He also made an acclaimed album with Thomas Leer called The Bridge which was released on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records.[3] The album reached number 9 on the Independent Chart in 1980. His other two official releases were the 1980 single "Double Heart/On Location", released on Daniel Miller's Mute Records, and Live At The West Runton Pavilion, recorded with Miller in 1979, and released via Rough Trade in 1980. Robert Rental toured with Daniel Miller as The Normal, supporting Stiff Little Fingers. Miller had met Rental through a Throbbing Gristle concert.[4]

Robert Rental died of lung cancer in 2000.




  • "Paralysis" (1978), Regular Records
  • "Paralysis" (1978), Company Records
  • "Double Heart" / "On Location" (1980), Mute Records


  1. ^ "Robert Rental - Regular Records", accessed 4 March 2009
  2. ^ "Robert Rental", accessed 4 March 2009
  3. ^ [1] Archived November 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Daniel Miller Interview", accessed 4 March 2010

External links[edit]

  • Article about Robert Rental at the archives of, scroll down.
  • Review of the live album in collaboration with The Normal
  • Discography