Combine music and architecture and you get “The Sound of London,” an electro-house tune that generates sound waves that replicate the shape of the iconic buildings that make up London’s skyline. You’ll easily recognize landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Gerkin, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and The Shard as you listen to the song and view the sound waves on SoundCloud.
“The Sound of London” is part of “SoundCloud Without Borders,” a campaign promoting Fogg, a startup that provides borderless Internet access throughout Europe.
The idea for the visual track came from Perfect Fools art director Karl Nord. “While he was listening to a song on SoundCloud, Karl noticed the sound waves reminded him very generally of the look of the New York skyline. Soon afterwards, every song he listened to ‘became a city’ and different famous cities started to look like different pieces of music,” says Perfect Fools creative director and partner Tony Högqvist. “He kept that idea for a long time, and when we were approached by Fogg to create something really memorable, he suggested this format as a way of expressing SoundCloud Without Borders.”
Prova, a Stockholm-based producer and DJ, was commissioned to create the track. The Perfect Fools team was quite familiar with his music. “We dance to it all the time in the clubs of Stockholm,” Högqvist says.
“When Perfect Fools told me about the project, I knew I had to do it,” Prova says. “I played around a bit in my studio, and then I said yes within a couple of hours. Prova means ‘try’ in Swedish, and with my curiosity and willingness to explore, this was a perfect project.”
Prova began the creative process by studying London’s skyline “to really understand how to approach the build up and arrangement of the song,” he says. “To create a skyline out of sound waves, you have to take both tempo and length into consideration. After that, I used different types of compressions and limiters and played around with lots of synths and envelopes to build the actual buildings.”
Prova worked closely with Nord from Perfect Fools on the tune for almost three weeks, striving to generate sound waves that would form the shapes of the landscape–as the music hits a crescendo, the track resembles The Shard–while maintaining a danceable structure.
The British electronic music he listened to growing up in the ’90s influenced “The Sound of London” and is represented via the two-step drums Prova mixed into the track.
“It’s a very upbeat, very refreshing sound,” Högqvist says. “We deliberately wanted something that echoed the youthful vibe of London, as well as its outline, and I think we achieved both.”
[Image: Flickr user Francesca Cappa]