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Musicity: famous London SE1 landmarks inspire new compositions

A new project aims to help visitors experience famous buildings in a new way

Musicity: famous London SE1 landmarks inspire new compositions
Paul Bavister and Nick Luscombe (left) explain the technology

Music journalist, Radio 3 presenter and SE1 resident Nick Luscombe has worked with architect and sound artist Paul Bavister and a variety of new music composers to create short pieces which evoke the spaces within several SE1 buildings.

They have developed an app which can be downloaded from musicityglobal.com to a smart phone or iPad with wifi.

To hear the pieces it is necessary to travel to the location of the building and when in range the piece will play. Headphones are a good idea as some locations, such as Borough Market, maybe very noisy at some times of day.

Once played in situ the piece can be retrieved anywhere.

The compositions are inspired by a range of acoustic data. A balloon is blown up as large as possible and then popped. The resulting reverberation and sound waves can be captured electronically and guide the composers in the sound worlds they wish to create, making truly site-specific works.

The local venues include The Shard, Borough Market and Elephant & Castle. There are further sites in SE16 and SE15.

Nick and Paul want to encourage people to go out and explore new places and to experience buildings in a different and inspiring way.

The piece made for The Shard, called The Facades, is by composer and performer William Doyle. 'Forever City' inspired by Borough Market is by Throwing Shade, a DJ and composer, who has also worked on a commission for Tate Tanks.

A map and explanatory leaflet is available to download from the musicityglobal.com website.

The Southwark pieces are supported by Southwark Council as part of the High Street Challenge. There are tracks available for different parts of London. The team is shortly to visit Seoul with UK and Korean musicians to extend the project on a global scale.

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