MAKE THE CITY SOUND BETTER
is the determined name of the campaign for our latest headphone-release, the Capital, which we designed for the on-the-go urbanite. Striving to back up words with action and break new sonic territory, we teamed up with London-based sound artist Yuri Suzuki in the efforts to engage in an ambitious, design- and sound project that very literally delivers on the campaign’s motivated promise: to make the city sound better.
The Sound Taxi is equipped with a microphone that record its surrounding noise: the rumbling traffic, screeching brakes, sirens, construction work all are a part of the everyday din of the city. A specially designed software written in Max analyses the frequencies of these noises and uses them to generate unique music in real time. The spectrum is split into 25 frequency bands, like a graphic EQ, these bands are used to control different types of sounds in Ableton Live. For example a low rumble starts a bass line or loud hiss would trigger some hi hats, with the loudness of that noise controlling the loudness of the music. The music generated matches the dynamics of the street, the sounds will change and evolve as you drive in different parts of the city.
Passersby heard the music via the 67 speakers built into the entire car body and the big, shiny Indian horns mounted on top of the taxi’s roof. Finally, the passengers of the sound taxi could tune-in to the converted sounds via headphones installed inside of the vehicle.
We'd like to say a big Thank You to all Londoners and those who've engaged with the Sound Taxi. The enthusiasm and positive feedback was overwhelming.
We will let you know the next time the taxi makes an appearance in a major city near you. In the meantime check the right hand side for music from London's city noise recorded during our tours.