Customized London Taxi Cab Converts Street Noise Into Electronic Music

<p>Sound art project <i>The Sound Taxi</i> from Yuri Suzuki turns traffic noise into a party.</p>

Oct 22 2012, 12:06pm

A few week’s back I got a lift in a sound taxi. It was no big thing, just a normal London black taxicab that had Indian horns plastered all over it that recorded the hustle of the city and turned it into EDM. Like I said, a normal everyday black cab, but with a few minor adjustments. The Sound Taxi—a promotional campaign for AIAIAI’s latest headphone release—was the idea of sound artist Yuri Suzuki and his team, and was partly inspired by Dali’s Rainy Taxi.

I was picked up at a garage and driven to a train station via the City of London at a pace more suited to a snail taking a light stroll. Traffic was heavy, but it meant we had plenty of time to sit in the cab and be ogled at by curious pedestrians and ignored by city workers. On the outside, the cab had a microphone that recored the sounds of the streets—buses breaking (which gave a heavy, alarming bass sound), cars screeching, and the general murmur of a city going about its daily slug.

Then, using a combination of Max and Ableton Live, the sounds were converted into music (a low rumble converts to a bass line, a loud hiss into some hi hats)—the louder the noise, the louder the music. This was then blasted back at the world through 67 speakers positioned on the pimped cab, so if the Indian horns weren’t attracting enough stares, then the 67 speakers could pick up the slack. It was essentially a mobile musical instrument touring London for two days, picking up random people, and causing a fuss.

You can hear some tracks made from the project here.


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