Sound Taxi turns bustling city sounds into sweet music

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[Credit: AiAiAi]

Do you get stressed out by the sounds of a noisy city center? Sound artist Yuri Suzuki thinks there is melody amongst the madness, so he sent a decked-out “Sound Taxi” around London to transform ambient city sounds into music.

For the project, dubbed Make The City Sound Better, a traditional black London cab spent September 20 and 21 cruising the city streets, armed with a measurement microphone and 67 speakers. The result is a number of interesting, yet calm, music tracks made up of sirens, road work, traffic, and other city hums.

The Sound Taxi is part of a collaboration between Suzuki and Danish headphone retailer AiAiAi. The team’s taxi picks up sounds using the microphone on the roof of the car and passes the sound off to specially designed software that analyzes the frequencies. It then gets turned into actual music using Ableton Live.

Once the tones become a track, it gets played through the Sound Taxi’s speakers (which includes two giant Indian horns) or, if you’re a passenger, through headphones inside the vehicle.

Yuki told Ars Technica that the most rewarding part of the whole project was the different reactions and smiles from pedestrians and motorists alike. If you missed the spectacle, never fear—Yuki might use the Sound Taxi in future live performances.

Listen to a selection of the tracks over on the project’s website, or check out the video of the taxi build on AiAiAi’s Vimeo page.

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