Tate Switch House
Opened in June 2016, Tate Switch House is a ten-storey, 65m high tower, built above the subterranean oil tanks of the former Bankside Power Station, itself converted in 2000 into an art gallery by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron. Half of the original switch house building was demolished to make room for the tower, which was then rebuilt around it, with large gallery spaces and access routes to Tate Modern’s ‘main building’ (now called the Boiler House) on two levels. The design of the tower, again by Herzog and de Meuron, was first proposed as a glass stepped pyramid, but this was amended to incorporate a sloping façade in brick latticework (to match the original building). The Switch House extension provided an extra 22,500 square metres of exhibition and performance spaces, education facilities, offices, cafes and shops, and the tower is topped by a hugely popular viewing terrace that offers visitors 360-degree views across London. In May 2017 the Switch House was formally renamed the Blavatnik Building, after Anglo-Ukrainian billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik, who contributed a substantial amount of the £260m cost of the extension.
Langham Research Centre
LanghamResearchCentre (Felix Carey, Iain Chambers, Philip Tagney and Robert Worby) formed in 2003 to compose and perform new music using classic radiophonic instruments and techniques. LRC's soundworld emerges from vintage electronics, tape-recorders and sine-tone-oscillators. LRC compose collectively, integrating the four composers' work into highly distinctive concert pieces such as ‘Eschatology’, ‘Obamix’ and ‘Muffled Ciphers’. Alongside their own compositions, recently released as ‘TapeWorks Vol.1’ on the Nonclassical label, LRC have created authentic realisations of twentieth-century repertoire including John Cage’s early electronic and tape music (Sub Rosa 2014). LRC perform internationally, and have been commissioned by BBC Radio 3; nyMusikk, Oslo; Spitalfields Music; Barbican Art Gallery; and Thames Festival.
Terminal Voltage Traces is inspired by the architecture of the Tate Modern building located on the South Bank of the River Thames. The piece sucks in the vast, engulfing chasm of the Turbine Hall and the harsh geometry of the Switching House and cloaks sounds, that have been especially captured and constructed, with the acoustics of those spaces.
The fact that the building was once a power station has had some impact on the kinds of sounds composed and the lines and angles of the building are mirrored in the way the sounds connect and intersect. Sources include subdued public babble, analogue radios scrabbling for nearby stations and electronic circuitry fed through aging echo chambers. However, these sounds were not chosen to represent the building or tell any story about it; rather, they were chosen for their shape, energy and vibrancy and their ability to animate the acoustic magic of the building.
Langham Research Centre (2018)