What is mobile music? – Mobile Music #5

While writing a post about the difference between mobile music and locative music I realised that I hadn’t defined what I meant by mobile music. I’ve been discussing different examples of what I’ve been calling mobile music but hadn’t been explicit about what this meant. I started thinking about it a bit and realised that I need to give a definition to avoid ambiguity.

Mobile Music is an ambiguous term. Do I mean music to move to or music that is mobile, like a marching band, or music for mobile phones? There are lots of ways the phrase could be interpreted. I did a quick search of mobile music which turned up a the Wikipedia Mobile Music entry. This describes mobile music as music streamed and listened to on mobile devices. This is not what I’ve been writing about, I looked to the top of the page and noticed “This article is about music on mobile devices, for the musical form see aleatoric music.” I clicked the link. Read more

Bluebrain – Mobile Music #4

Bluebrain The National MallBluebrain are a musical group consisting of brothers Ryan and Hays Holladay. As well as producing music in the usual way they also like to create ‘different’ ways of experiencing music and have just released their third location aware composition The Violet Crown for the SXSW festival. This comes off the back of releasing their second location aware album Listen to the Light at the end of last year. They’re the first group I’ve come across who have come from a purely musical background and unlike the other works I’ve written about Bluebrain are actively creating locative music. By using mobile music as one part of their practice they’ve expanded musical expression to include physical space. Read more

Location33 – Mobile Music #3

Location33Location33 is a locative music work set in Culver City, California that explores the idea of an album in space and time.  People listen to the album by walking through audio nodes throughout the city. A different song is available each day as the album evolves over the course of the week. As implicit in its title, Location33: Envisioning Post iPodalyptic Mobile Music, this work looks at the question “What’s next in personal stereo listening?”. It was created by William Carter and Leslie Liu at the University of Southern California. Read more

Sonic City – Mobile Music #2

Sonic CitySonic City was one of the earliest mobile music works and is regularly cited in discussions of the field. It was one of the first works that allowed the user to “play” their environment and become an active participant in their urban musical experience. The user was fitted with sensors, headphones and a laptop. Sensor readings were taken as they moved about their environment which triggered musical events. This created an interactive music experience which allowed the user to improvise with their environment. The project was created by Layla Gayle, Lars Erik Holmquist, Ramia Mazé, Margot Jacobs and Daniel Skoglund at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science. Read more

Ambient Addition – Mobile Music #1

I’m taking a break from my series on open source controllers for a while to write about Mobile and Locative Audio. At the moment I’m working on creating a mobile music composition and wanted to share some of the interesting projects that I’ve come across in the process. The first project I’m going to cover is Ambient Addition. This was the work that got me interested in mobile music originally and started me thinking about mobile devices as a compositional medium.

Ambient Addition at the Media Lab

Ambient Addition is a hardware device that augments the sounds your hear around you by synthesising an augmented version in real time. The goal of the Ambient Addition is to change the dynamic of personal stereo use. It mediates environmental sound so that people can still remaining connected to their environment while listening to something musical. Shifting the listening experience from a passive isolating one to a one that allows you to actively engage with your environment. It was created by Noah Vawter for a masters thesis at the Media Lab. Read more