If they were to compile a list of the top five recording studios in history (not sure why they would, but go with it) then the Columbia 30th Street Studio in New York would be vying for top spot. Originally a presbyterian church and later part of the Armenian evangelical faith, the building was converted by CBS in 1949, taking advantage of the incredible acoustics of the recording room – a massive chamber with 100ft ceilings and a 100sq ft floor space. The studio was the birthplace of numerous classic albums; Highway 61 Revisited, The Wall, and Kind of Blue were all recorded here.
The studio closed in 1982, and after some ownership wrangles was demolished to make way for apartments, but by then The Church, as it was known, had cemented a place in music history. For his Luanda Kinshasa film project, Canadian artist Stan Douglas recreated the studio for a fictional recording session exploring the influence of African music on the scene in New York in the early 1970s. The era’s vibe is strong through costume and props, and of course the music from a troupe selected by pianist Jason Moran. A supporting cast of journalists, girlfriends and entourage mill around while engineers work their magic on the dials and faders. The film is being shown at David Zwirner in Manhattan until 22 February.