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Music at Tate Britain

18 November 2013 | Chris Mugan

While art galleries normally recommend themselves as places for quiet contemplation, Tate is increasingly findings ways to soundtrack its collections.

It is a concept that goes much deeper than high profile events such as the UK première earlier this year of Kraftwerk's 3D set in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. Instead, the institution has been developing its collaborations with cutting-edge sonic talents, whether during one-off nights or in digital spaces.

This December, lauded dance label Warp Records takes over the Pimlico branch's Late At Tate series of Friday evening shindigs with a host of activities that continue the institution's long-running invitations to musicians to interact with its collections. Warp has taken as its inspiration Jeremy Deller's History Of The World, his textual and graphic piece from 1998 that joins the dots between acid house and brass bands, illustrating the thought processes behind his earlier Acid Brass project.

The Fairey Brass Band will once again be trumpeting their versions of rave classics, though current Warp artists have come up with their own responses to Deller's work. Presenting a series of installations in the galleries are Bling Ring soundtrack composer Oneohtrix Point Never, precocious DJ/producer Rustie and the eclectic Hudson Mohawke, all inspired by other points on the artist's matrix: Melancholy, Rave and Summer of Love respectively. The label's latest signing out of leftfield, Patten, will perform an AV set.

By curating a night around one work, Warp follows in the steps of a series of musical explorations that have evolved over recent years. One of the most ambitious has been 2006's Tate Tracks, when the institution invited 12 acts to compose pieces inspired by Tate Modern works, then made available on its website. The first, from The Chemical Brothers and based on Jacob Epstein's Torso in Metal from 'The Rock Drill', has since been removed, though you can still go to the microsite to hear Blur guitarist Graham Coxon's meditation on Franz Kline's Meryon, Basement Jaxx playfully riffing on Karel Appel's Hip, Hip, Hoorah! and grime star Lethal Bizzle getting lost in a Cristina Iglesias installation.

Looking at the roster, you can see Tate working to attract a younger, more diverse audience, an ambition given extra focus during Tate Britain's 2010 Chris Ofili retrospective. A live event in the gallery brought together a talented selection of upcoming performers to deliver responses to the exhibition, led by rapper Tinie Tempah, vocalist GoldieLocks and dubstep pioneer Mala. Videos on the Tate site show the artists explaining their reactions with exerts from the performances. Last year, Tate reprised the idea, filming musicians talking about favourite works and, in the case of the sublime Anna Calvi and doe-eyed Lianne La Havas, performing in front of them to provide background music to their monologues.

Now the institution has taken it to a more sophisticated level with its latest strand of audio-visual creativity, Tate Meets Music. This kicks off in December with Manchester's alt-pop outfit Everything Everything documented playing an instrumental inspired by Francis Bacon's Triptych - August 1972 in front of the work at Tate Britain. It is an especially thoughtful contribution, partly down to the group's roots – guitarist Alex Robertshaw studied next door at Chelsea School of Art. Tate aims to post a video of their performance beside one where the boys explain why they chose the triple portrait of Bacon's lover George Dyer and how they devised the piece.

Tate's desire to reach beyond the art world to other disciplines seems to gain further impetus as the Pimlico site officially marks its comprehensive rehang while also opening its new and renovated spaces. November's House Warming Party features a DJ set from Hot Chip's ever tasteful vocalist Alexis Taylor and a performance from intense virtuoso guitarist James Blackshaw. Once again, Tate brings art and music together in harmony.

The Everything Everything videos are set to be posted week commencing 2nd December. For more information, head here.

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