Military Wives conductor Gareth Malone takes on hardcore rap, rock and R'n'B: Choir performs 'Guillotine' by Death Grips

 

Gareth Malone has called on British choirs to drop Purcell for punk after the award-winning choirmaster unveiled a new project in which a hand-picked group of singers lend their voices to radical new arrangements of hardcore rap, rock and R&B songs.

Malone, credited with leading a nationwide revival of community singing through his television series, topped the charts with the Military Wives, the choir he formed from the partners of serving military personnel in Afghanistan.

The Bafta-winning broadcaster now promises a “watershed” in choral singing with a new album, Voices, which he says is designed to expand the repertoire of British choirs beyond tried and trusted works by Bach and Handel and selections from the Glee songbook.

Malone has assembled “a new and revolutionary choir” of 18-25 year-olds after putting up posters of himself around Britain as a Lord Kitchener-style figure, with the phrase “your choirmaster needs you”.

The first track released from the album is a cover of "Guillotine" by Death Grips (video above - with strong language), an experimental Californian hip-hop band, who mix hardcore punk, dub and militantly political lyrics to create a highly confrontational sound.

Malone’s choral reinvention retains the title and repeats one line of the original lyric – “Hidden art, between and beneath, every fragmented, figure of speech” – to create a haunting interpretation, which transforms Death Grips’ aggression into sacred vocal music more closely resembling the Tallis Scholars.

The track, which Malone has posted on the Soundcloud website, will be followed on Voices by versions of songs by Fleet Foxes and Alicia Keys among others, with guest vocals from Lianne Le Havas, fashion model Amber Le Bon and Guillemots’ Fyfe Dangerfield.

Malone told The Independent: “In choosing music to record for this choir, David Kosten (producer, whose credits include Bat For Lashes) and I asked ourselves the question: ‘what is the unlikeliest piece of music for a choir to sing?’.

“David suggested Death Grips’ track ‘Guillotine’ and we wondered if we could pull it off. The result is, I think, a choir sounding very different from how you’d expect and yet it’s still distinctly a British Choral sound.”

Malone, who helped Gary Barlow record a No 1 single for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, added: “Death Grips appealed because they are inherently experimental. Consequently David felt they’d be unlikely to object to a choir covering their song because they’d appreciate the creativity and the spirit of trying to do something bold: he was right.”

The Bafta-winner rejected the easy option of an album of hymns and classic pop hits. “It would have been easy and safe to cover songs that you'd expect on a Glee show but Glee already exists, why repeat it?,” he said. “I want to challenge what ‘straight’ British choirs consider to be appropriate repertoire. I hope this is a watershed moment for choirs: they can do anything.”

Malone, who plans to take his new choir on a world tour, will post a series of web videos detailing the making of the album.

He said: “My mission is to create a ground-breaking choir, celebrating the amazing talent in our country, and initiate a new choral style that is fresh, modern and utterly unique. Our aim will be to inspire a whole generation.”

Malone’s web appeal for Voices choir members stated: “Regardless of background, if you have the voice and the vision, I want you.” The group attempted radical arrangements of songs by Radiohead and Lana Del Rey in order to fulfil Malone’s vision of an album which will “tread uncharted territory by mixing lush, choral textures with innovative and contemporary recording techniques.”

Malone, 37, who made his television breakthrough teaching teenagers choral singing in the 2007 BBC2 series The Choir, is poised to become a US star. It Takes A Choir, launching on the USA network in November, follows Malone as he travels the nation to help unite various American communities through music.

Death Grips – Guillotine original lyrics (video above - with strong language)

Can't stop the groove licks jaws clear off them locks relentless raw movement

Fit to knock you from here to that g-spot body rock connected

To everything you want, ever did want, we got it why not come get it

Stick your head in that hole and watch me drop this cold guillotine death sentence, yah, yah

Tinted windows, bulletproof, the slip knot fixing rope to noose

To the grave stone grinder of cold steel, the passion that blinds me so I feel, yah

Can't let go, no it flows through our veins

Blows through our tunnels and rattles our chains and they all fall down, yah

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years