Sound becomes art at Tate Modern

Tate 803 D3

Once again we are very proud to be working with ground-breaking artist Wolfgang Tillmans. His eponymous exhibition opens at London’s Tate Modern next week and includes an immersive ‘Playback Room’ featuring a pair of Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 speakers, a Rotel RC 1590 pre amplifier and Rotel RB 1590 power amplifier.

The quality of the listening experience is integral to the concept and we worked with expert acoustician Nick Whitaker on room design and build materials to improve the acoustic properties and tame the reverberant characteristics of the gallery space providing an optimal listening experience and bringing out the best out of the Bowers & Wilkins system.

Nick has worked on some of the best recording studios all over the world, such as Abbey Road & Astoria Studio for
Pink Floyd.

Three tracks from British band ColourBox, Looks Like We’re Shy One Horse / Shoot Out, Sleepwalker and Just Give ‘em Whiskey, were picked by the artist to be played on a continuous loop throughout the day.

A long-time fan of the band, Wolfgang has compiled a personal selection of tracks, Music of the band (1982 – 1987), as a celebration of their music which will be released on 4AD to coincide with the exhibition. A high-resolution digital download will also be available from Society of Sound music store.

Previously speaking of the band, Wolfgang said,

“Brothers Martyn and Steven Young together with Ian Robbins, Lorita Grahame and Debian Curry were pioneers of experimental pop music. They created an eclectic sound drawing from reggae and soul influences, beat-box driven hip-hop rhythms, blue-eyed soul, as well as a fusion of far-ranging influences spanning from classic R&B, to dub and industrial. Using montages of analogue magnetic tape pieces and experimenting with tape machines, Colourbox were at the fore-front of sampling, which in its digital form would become ubiquitous in the course of the 1980’s. The band worked in a seeming contrast of pure artistic research in the studio and an anti-intellectual stance towards the outside world.”

Wolgang first created a conceptual playback listening space using Colourbox’s music at his Berlin gallery, Between Bridges, in 2014. Here the band’s lyrics and samples were pasted on the walls and where copies of the records sat alongside original session ½” and ¼” tape reels, seeking to provide a unique environment for the audience to immerse themselves in the band’s modest but potent legacy.

His passion for high-fidelity sound and regard for pop music as art was obvious during an evening of listening at House of St Barnabas late last year where he told an intent audience:

“There isn’t a place anywhere in the world where you can listen to the 12” of Blue Monday by New Order in master quality or in the way the record was recorded. We end up listening to these works of art on iPhones.”

Wolfgang Tillmans 2017 is on at the Tate Modern from 15 February – 11 June 2017

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