The art of noise: Tate works given soundtrack

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The Independent Online

The reverential hush around the vast galleries of the Tate Modern is about to be shattered by the pumping sounds of hip-hop, garage and rock tracks.

Curators have commissioned cutting-edge British music acts, from the Chemical Brothers to the former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and the hip-hop star Estelle, to record tracks set to their favourite works of art at the gallery. Starting today, the Tate Tracks series will feature a dozen musicians whose track will play for a month at a listening post adjacent to its subject. The initiative is an attempt by the gallery to change the fact that few 15- to 25-year-olds attend the gallery.

The project will begin with the electronic duo The Chemical Brothers, whose recording is inspired by Jacob Epstein's Cubist sculpture Torso in Metal from "The Rock Drill", 1913-1914, which shows a man turning himself into a machine. "We chose to write music for The Rock Drill as it seemed so dynamic, powerful and modern. We could imagine music as soon as we saw it," the duo said.

Coxon, who was an art student at Goldsmiths College in London, where he was a contemporary of Damien Hirst and Sam Taylor-Wood, opted for the American Abstract Expressionist painter Franz Kline's Sixties picture Meryon. He usually designs Blur's album covers, so this time he was "doing things the other way round".

Coxon said he was inspired by Kline's work because of its "meditative" qualities, and had attempted to convey this in his piece. "There's a sort of power and strength and stillness in the painting and I didn't want to interfere with that meditative quality. I just went into my junk room and started making vibrations and playing around with oscillations.The black and white Klines had a huge impact on me, one I never understood and probably never will."

Estelle recorded her song "Common Sense" in homage to a montage of hundreds of pictures documenting the UK in the Nineties by the photographer Martin Parr. "I like that it looks like a bunch of superstars in the sense that all the clips look staged but are probably people just being them."

The east London garage act Roll Deep recorded their contribution inspired by the Turner prize-winning Anish Kapoor's 2003 sculpture Ishi's Light.

Will Gompertz, Tate Modern director, said: "To hear a track in context to the work of art that inspired it is fantastically illuminating. You can see both the profound impact that the work had on the musicians and the correlation that exists between music and art."

Popstars' choices


Musicians: Chemical Brothers

Track: 'The Rock Drill'

Artist: Jacob Epstein

Artwork: Torso in Metal from 'The Rock Drill' (1913-14)


Musicians: Roll Deep

Track: 'Searching'

Artist: Anish Kapoor

Artwork: Ishi's Light (2003)


Musicians: Graham Coxon

Track: 'Meryon'

Artist: Franz Kline

Artwork: Meryon (1960-61)


Musicians: The Long Blondes

Track: To be decided

Artist: To be decided

Artwork: To be decided


The Landscapers

Track: 'Vavavoom'

Artist: Andy Warhol

Artwork: Brillo (1964)


Musicians: Estelle, below

Track: 'Common Sense'

Artist: Martin Parr

Artwork: Common Sense (1995-99)


Musicians: Klaxons

Track: To be decided Artist: Donald Judd

Artwork: Untitled (1980)


Musicians: Union of Knives

Track: To be decided

Artist: Cy Twombly

Artwork: Quattro Stagioni: A Painting in Four Parts (1993-94)