Angel Recording Studios, where Adele, Sam Smith, Kylie Minogue and One Direction recorded albums – in addition to being the birthplace of numerous film and TV scores – is to close at the end of 2019 following the deaths of its execs, James and Rosalind de Wolfe.
The company was incorporated by James Warren Sylvester de Wolfe on 5 December 1978, and was since used to record both commercially successful work such as Adele's 2011 album, 21 and Sam Smith’s, In the Lonely Hour, in addition to numerous classical recordings.
The complex has three dedicated recording areas, one of which incorporates the original Victorian choir stalls and features a magnificent Speechley pipe organ dating back to 1888.
Throughout its long and illustrious history, Angel Studios has played host to an impressive range of international and award-winning music-makers, covering every conceivable musical genre and style.
Other notable bands and artists to utilise the three-studio complex in Islington, London include Westlife, Rush, One Direction, Emeli Sandé, Slade, Little Mix, Louis Tomlinson, Gary Barlow, Plácido Domingo, Seal, Liza Minnelli, Florence and the Machine, Kylie Minogue, Goldfrapp, Karl Jenkins (for his acclaimed Adiemus project), and Robbie Williams.
World famous orchestras, television and film score composers, advertising jingle writers, the cast of countless West End musicals and numerous chart-topping pop acts are just some of the clients who have made use of Angel Studios over the years.
The studio's orchestra room has been used by Éric Serra, who scored Léon: The Professional and the James Bond film, GoldenEye there. George Fenton used the studio to record scores for natural history shows, Blue Planet and Planet Earth, while other projects have included Maury Yeston for Nine, Craig Armstrong, who scored Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet, and Anne Dudley for The Full Monty and Poldark.
The studio has also been used to record the soundtracks to film The English Patient, The Crying Game, Buster, Memphis Belle, Pride and Prejudice, The Lion King, and Jackie. Television programmes to use the studios include The Night Manager and Downton Abbey.
A statement on the studio’s website reads: “Following the recent passing of James and Rosalind de Wolfe, we are sad to announce that the Angel Recording Studio building in London has been transferred to third parties and will therefore be closing its doors as our studio at the end of 2019. Its future beyond that date is unknown. The limited company ‘Angel Recording Studios Limited’ will remain within the de Wolfe group of companies; de Wolfe will continue to develop and licence their music catalogues as they have done for over 100 years.”
Warren de Wolfe, James's eldest son, said with heartfelt emotion: “It is a very sad day for our studio employees, the wider creative industries and for all those who have enjoyed recording music within the Angel Studio. I thank all the composers, producers and musicians who have graced the Angel Studio over the course of the past 40 years. It has been a great adventure and an honour to have worked and collaborated on so many marvellous projects in the studio. Special thanks as well to our incredibly dedicated team. Our wonderful family business looks forward to remaining connected and working with all of our clients and continuing to serve the music and media community.”
The three-studio complex is housed in a majestic United Reform Church that has been carefully renovated to provide a perfect fusion between the building's architectural heritage, the most up to date technology and the very best modern control room design. Angel Studios' three control rooms are equipped with the latest recording technology, reflecting the needs and working practises of today's studio professionals.
The building was originally constructed as a Congregational chapel in 1888, and is now Grade II listed. The premises were acquired by library music specialists, De Wolfe Music in the late 1970s and opened in 1982.
The chapel closed in 1979, and the building was purchased by De Wolfe Music. A major refurbishment and conversion project was undertaken, and recording began in 1982. The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees recorded at the studio the following year.
By 1986, the complex could accommodate 100 musicians and mix to 35 mm and 16 mm. A third studio was added at the complex in 1987. Studio One received major refurbishment in 2001.