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Music and the City : New Tracks from Musicity London

Do you associate a place with a piece of music ? A new project is taking this concept a stage further by creating new songs and music inspired by the buildings of London.

Musicity London combines music, architecture and technology to build a living archive of the sounds of cities.

Musicity invites musicians to choose a building and then create new songs and compositions inspired by the design, history or their personal connections to that place. The new track is then available for free streaming or download via the new, free Musicity app on any smartphone, but only at that particular location..

Created by BBC broadcaster, DJ and music curator, Nick Luscombe, Musicity is a new kind of travel guide to a city, exploring the ways in which cities influence the culture that emerges from within them and the melodies and stories inspired by our personal experiences of architecture. The plan is to build soundtracks of cities – with compilations of the tracks eventually being released as a physical box set.

From Saturday 2 June 2018, an assortment of London buildings will be given their own new soundtrack, as part of a project which invites musicians and recording artists to compose tracks for buildings in cities around the world. In the latest instalment of the Musicity project, seven artists have created seven new songs or pieces of music especially for seven London buildings. Each composition can be streamed and downloaded free of charge but only by visiting each building with a smartphone. Once there, people can listen to the new music on musicityglobal.com while taking in the architecture and neighbourhood that inspired it. 

The chosen buildings include twenty 18th century almshouses built for the ‘poor decayed men’ of Southwark, the White Cube Bermondsey gallery, the box-shaped tribute to pioneering scientist Michael Faraday that sits at the centre of Elephant and Castle gyratory system and Southwark Cathedral, parts of which date back to the 13th century. Each track is geo-tagged so that they become available to hear when a person – and their smartphone – reaches each building.

Participating artists include The Memory Band, led by producer and bassist Stephen Cracknell and combining digital machinery and acoustic instruments to make ‘traditional music from the future’; Shamus Dark, who performs songs from the ‘American Songbook’ using contemporary arrangements and digital technology; Langham Research Centre, whose sound emerges from classic radiophonic instruments, vintage electronics, tape recorders and sine-tone oscillators; Lossy, aka composer, prouder and multi-instrumentalist Sam Sharp working with talented singers and musicians from the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey; Hatis Noit, hailing from northern Japan, self-taught and inspired by everything from Gagaku (Japanese classical music) and operatic styles, Bulgarian and Gregorian chanting, to avant-garde and pop vocalists; singer-songwriter, actor, dancer and performance artist, Chisara Agor, who is influenced by jazz, folk, storytelling and electronic sounds; and music producer and interior architect, Sooski, who pursues both professions in parallel and with equal passion.

 Artists and their buildings:

The Memory Band – Flat Iron Square, 68 Union Street, SE1 1TD

Shamus Dark – Hopton’s Almshouses, Hopton Street, SE1 9JJ

Langham Research Centre – Tate Switch House (aka Blavatnik Building), Hopton Street, SE1 9TG

Lossy – Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, SE1 9DA

Hatis Noit – White Cube, Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ

Chisara Agor – Faraday Memorial, SE1 6TG 

Sooski – Siobhan Davies Studios, St George’s Road, SE1 6ER 

The introduction of the seven new works means that there is now a total of 14 Musicity songs waiting to be collected at all sorts of buildings across Southwark, one of the oldest parts of the capital and an area in the midst of dramatic architectural transformation. These include Peckham Library, The Shard, Canada Water Bus Station and Borough Market. And the project is not limited to London; so far, 43 tracks have been created across 7 cities, including, Oslo, Tokyo and Singapore.

For more information , visit the Musicity website here

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