We just made a new version of Constellation and it is ready to go at edinburgh.media.mit.edu/scores. It has a completely new set of sounds based on new sounds submitted, sounds Tod recorded during his recent trip to Edinburgh, along with mixes that he has started to make. “It is really cool, and gives a sense of how the piece is developing,” he says. “We also changed a few features and the mixes are beautiful, plus the differences between the 5 different parameter versions is remarkable…it is worth trying them all.”
The new setting is called “Edinburgh Soundscape 2”, and it is the default setting when you now go to Constellation. The previous one – “Edinburgh Soundscape 1” – is still available as well.
Tod Machover and the Festival City project were recently featured in a BBC interview with host Jemimah Knight. Perhaps the conversation about listening attentively to the sounds around us inspired Knight to try her own experiment. She writes about it with great charm on her personal blog, “How radio leaves you breathless”:
I particularly like Tod’s work because I love the sounds of cities. It’s one of the reasons why I love to live in London. I live near a fire station, not far from a busy enough road and a high street. When I work from home, I can hear life all around me and I value that a great deal.
Contributed sound is a lovely thing to work with. There’s a great deal of trust involved and it pushes you to think your way through audio to include something that is new to you.
Here’s her SoundCloud file of the “Reverse Interview” – pretty funny!!
We’re starting to see some lovely media coverage of the Festival City project. Check out:
The Scotsman – Sounds of Edinburgh to be used in festival symphony – “Birdsong, buskers, traffic and even tramworks could all end up being part of Tod Machover’s crowd-sourced work, Festival City, which he will work on until just shortly before it is premiered. Billed as a “sonic portrait” of the city, it will be unveiled at the Usher Hall in August in a one-off show to be performed by the Royal ScottishNational Orchestra.”
Boston Business Journal – A score for the world’s biggest music fest? There’s an app for that – “Machover said he said he sees Edinburgh as a divided city, with beautiful, 18th Century architecture on one hand, but the historical backdrop for “Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde” and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” Series. He said that while the Toronto project was “like a journey where it ends up pretty classical,” the Edinburgh music will be different, because he’ll be letting the Cauldron – and everything residents stir into it – to determine its flow. ‘I think this piece may end up being more experimental,” he said. “I don’t want to write a simple melody to tie everything together. What’s going to tie everything together will be the soup.'”
West End Broadway World – 2013 Edinburgh International Festival Launches New ‘Cauldron’ App “With Cauldron we grow closer and closer to the idea of a sonic portrait of Edinburgh. I want Cauldron to give users a feeling akin to standing on top of Arthur’s Seat and absorbing the entire city at once. Having spent time working the RSNO and different school groups across Edinburgh, I’ve been directly inspired by their enthusiasm and energetic input, and am excited to share further the sounds created through Cauldron’.”
The Constellation and Cauldron apps are now live! You can start creating your own scores for Festival City. With the brand new Cauldron app (designed by Akito Van Troyer and Tod Machover at the MIT Media Lab), you’ll be able to create and experience a bubbling brew of Edinburgh sounds that have been concocted and collected for Tod Machover’s Festival City , currently being composed by Tod – with your collaboration – for the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival. Starting now, you can experiment with our first selection of musical and audio ingredients to stir up your own special mix. We will be adding new features and sounds quite regularly over the coming weeks, so please visit the app often. Each time you’ll find something new to add to the Cauldron and will experience new ways that the elements blend, bubble, and surprise.
Click here to play with the Constellation and Cauldron apps!
The Constellation app is now live! You can start creating your own scores for Festival City. These patterns and collections of sounds will contribute to the next stage of the project. Make sure you keep on submitting your sounds as next Edinburgh Soundscapes will be launching in June and July.
We’re getting wonderful support from the digital media team at the Edinburgh International Festival! Please help us engage as many people as possible in the “Festival City” project. Here are some of the ways:
“Festival City” was featured yesterday in the inaugural episode of BBC Scotland’s new show, “The Culture Studio with Janice Forsyth.” Janice’s interview with Tod Machover starts at 1:34:00 and runs to the end of the show. There is also a fantastic interview with media historian David Hendy (at 1:21:00), who talks about the role of noise in human history and plays a soundscape from an imagined early 19th century Edinburgh. Plus a superb interview with Annie Lennox (at 0:04:21). Enjoy!
The idea behind “Festival City” — of inviting a community to collaborate on composing a musical work — developed over many years of musical and technological exploration at the M.I.T. Media Lab, as explained in this article in the Guardian. Composer Tod Machover describes his hopes for “Festival City”:
…he envisages it as a collaboration with anyone who loves the Scottish capital. The work will, he hopes, be a kind of “tone poem” that “feels and sounds like the city and its festivals”. Anyone interested can submit a recording, or simply suggest a particular sound that they associate with the city. Machover adds, somewhat darkly, “It may be hard to imagine avoiding bagpipes completely.” (GuyFromPortugal has already submitted a snippet entitled “The sounds of constant wind”.) From early June, via an app, there will also be the chance for members of the public to manipulate and alter the weight, complexity and texture of melodies composed by Machover, who will use the best in the final piece.
Where do you find the music in your life? The Edinburgh International Festival invites you to contribute sounds of Edinburgh and of the renowned festival that is held there every summer:
What is the first sound you hear in the morning? What is your favourite Festival memory? What does your street sound like? Do you regularly pass a busker? Do you enjoy the sound of crowded foyers or standing ovations? Climb Arthur’s Seat or take a trip down Portobello Prom? We are inviting people to record or describe these sounds and to send them in to provide composer Tod Machover with the basis of a creative work which he will then continue to develop through to the beginning of July.
If you have a smartphone, all you have to do is capture the sound and upload them to Soundcloud and add it to the Festival’s Soundcloud account. It will show up in the player below. Invite your friends to comment, and start a conversation! Details here.