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On September 21st and 22nd, some lucky residents of London were treated to an unusual sight and some sweet sounds - A black taxi fitted with 67 speakers belting out some great music. However, the sounds emanating were not from the driver's personal music selection, but the bustling city's street noise turned into music.
The 'Make The City Sound Better' project was a clever way to launch Dutch headphone manufacturer AiAiAi's latest offering, the Capital which according to the company is designed for the on-the-go-urbanite. Hence what better way to do it then listening to music that is literally created from all the urban noise ranging from the 'hiss' of the bus to the 'vroom vroom' of the Ferrari and everything, in between.
Teaming up with sound artist Yuri Suzuki, they created a custom black cab that was fitted with microphones that recorded the street noise. Then, a specially designed software program instantly converted it all to unique music, which was belted out by the 67 speakers built into chassis of the car, as well as, the big Indian horns mounted atop the cab's roof. Of course those lucky enough to hire the cab had the dual advantage of listening to the music and, trying out the new headphones.
The fun project was a huge success and according to Tobias Holz, the AiAiAi representative that was in the cab the entire time, while listening to different music depending on the traffic patterns around was fun, what was even more so, was the reactions from the passers-by.
In some of London's posh, uppity areas like Mayfair, they were greeted with a few polite smiles, some raised eyebrows or simply ignored as though this were a sight that was encountered every day. In other, more down-to-earth areas like Hackney, they had people stopping their vehicles to inquire if the taxi played reggae music. Of course, the most bemused reactions were from the tourists that probably chalked it down to normal British behavior.
While the black cab project has drawn to an end, the music has been recorded for eternity. For those of you curious to hear what it sounded like, below is one of the many 'original' soundtracks straight from the streets of London!