Wired UK posted this excellent article today that provides an in-depth look at the Festival City project. Included are detailed descriptions of how the music apps work. We loved this:
To compose Festival City, which Machover hopes will bring out the contrasts of the city, Machover first invited people to submit raw material that reminded of them of Edinburgh during festival time. These could be pieces of music, sounds or recorded stories and anecdotes which were submitted by email, uploaded toSoundCloud or recorded on an answering phone. Sounds that particularly stood out for Machover were those of church bells and people talking in the lobbies discussing shows they’d just seen, as well what he describes as an “indie rock band of traffic”, where each of the cars stood out like soloists, rather than just collaborating to a single mass of traffic noise.
Tod is in Edinburgh this week and next, busy fine-tuning and rehearsing “Festival City”, which premieres next Tuesday, August 27th, at the Edinburgh International Festival. Tickets here.
The M.I.T. Media Lab Opera of the Future group’s work is the subject of a full-page article by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in the August 16th issue of the New York Times. It’s an engagingly written piece that covers the history of Tod Machover’s work in music composition and technology, from hyperinstruments to “Death and the Powers” to “Festival City”, including a description of the Cauldron app in action. Accompanying the story is a terrific slide show of photographs by Katherine Taylor. Tod’s newest work, “Festival City”, premieres next week, on August 27th, at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Special Interactive Improvisation Session for
Tod Machover’s Festival City
Commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival
Created at the MIT Media Lab
Hosted by The Guardian
Composer Tod Machover is in the midst of creating a “collaborative symphony” called Festival City, to be premiered on August 27th at the Edinburgh International Festival. The work is a sonic portrait of Edinburgh – the city and the festival – created with input from Edinburgh lovers, both residents and visitors. For the past few months, Tod has been soliciting audio samples of – and stories about – the city, as well as providing tools created by his team at the MIT Media Lab that allow everyone to help shape the composition.
Now is your chance to participate in a one-time-only special event to further shape Festival City. From 2-3pm Boston time (7-8pm UK time) on Tuesday, July 9th, you will be able to help select musical elements from the repertoire of pieces performed at the EIF since its inception in 1947. Here’s how it works: Continue reading Join our interactive live-stream event Tuesday, July 9th!!
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!!
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.
“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!
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.