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Cambridge live

Asian Dub Foundation will perform their latest live soundtrack to George Lucas’ 1971 visionary cult sci-fi classic THX 1138

Thursday 23 July 2015

Retaining much of Lalo Schiffrin’s distinctive score and soundtrack, Asian Dub Foundation’s sparse and beautiful new interpretation creates a memorable live experience to Lucas’ chilling, stylistic dystopian fantasy where mood-stabilising drugs are mandatory, sex is prohibited, and a young Robert Duval rages against the system.

Talking about the project for the Barbican podcast, Steve Savale of ADF says, “After the success of Battle of Algiers and La Haine I wanted to find a film that’s technically possible to rescore so that audiences can actually watch the film and experience the music live… it was very important to respect the avant-garde, classical, discordant soundtrack that’s there - by one of my great all-time heroes Lalo Schiffrin –  where the only melodic instrument is the flute – so Nathan ‘Flutebox’ Lee’s interpretation of those discordant strings is very relevant to the film – it represents the emotion.”

About the film, Savale is struck by its prescience: “It’s got religious fundamentalism, mad out-of-control consumerism and a totalitarian, centralised, computerised system of domination – I think all of those things exist now.”

On release THX 1138 was a box-office disaster and almost destroyed Lucas’ career on the spot before Star Wars was conceived. Now considered a cult classic (last year it was included in Time Out’s 100 Best Sci Fi movies), the original soundtrack has been widely sampled by a host of influential electronic artists including, Nine Inch Nails, The Shamen, Meat Beat Manifesto, UNKLE, Orbital, Front 242, Laibach and Clock DVA.

Produced by Francis Ford Coppola, THX 1138 was George Lucas’ directorial debut. Three times Academy Award Winner Walter Murch – famed for his sound design for Apocalypse Now – made the film’s famous soundtrack and also co-wrote the script with Lucas.  

The project has been commissioned by Music Beyond Mainstream (MBM), which is a company owned by major venues across the UK committed to collaborative programming and developing new and exciting work. The tour and project has been produced by No-Nation with MBM and funded by Arts Council England and with agreement from Warner Brothers.

The Cambridge performance is hosted by Cambridge Live in partnership with the Cambridge Festival of Ideas and is part of the cornex: discover series, encouraging audiences to venture beyond the mainstream.  Cambridge Edition and Slate the Disco are cornex: discover series media partners.

Tickets are £21 and just £12.50 for Under 26s / Students.  All prices include a booking fee of £2.50.

Book tickets from the Corn Exchange via or on 01223 357851


Visit the Cambridge Live event page here.

Watch the official film trailer here.    

Find out about the making of THX 1138 here.

George Lucas on how THX 1138 got made here

Cambridge Festival of Ideas here.