Partway through a meeting this evening over drinks, BBC Click presenter LJ Rich took Matthew Hawn and I out into the streets of Covent Garden to experience ‘glitching’ – her music hack that turns urban landscapes into music.

As a “shared auditory hallucination”, it’s kind of trippy. Essentially, it uses effects and harmonisation to turn the city scene into an entirely different audio soundscape – and quite a musical one at that.

LJ has both synaesthesia and perfect pitch, and assures us that London is in the key of B-flat. And so this stripped-down version of the glitching rig makes use of that fact with prepared sounds. With the full kit, LJ has a keyboard strapped to her, a laptop in a backpack, binaural headphone microphones, a portable wifi router and all sorts of other gadgets and bits.

She’s quite keen to bring the kit to Music Tech Fest in September, and let everyone simultaneously experience glitching. That would be interesting….

3 thoughts on “Glitching the city

  1. Glad you remembered to take a picture! And I’m honoured you blogged about it. Some extra info for you: A lot of Central London is in Bb and F major. Shibuya in Tokyo is also in the same key as Oxford Circus which is very pleasing.

    I enjoy giving these ‘guerilla recitals’ because a) glitching accentuates the music that I hear already, b) it’s an attempt to share my musical world with others – with some degree of success, and most importantly c) people seem to enjoy it! For me, it’s spontaneous music composition in the wild, an interactive recital where everyone and everything is contributing to the orchestration – Dubber, you’ve glimpsed into some of the inspiration for my classical music compositions!

    I’d love to run an evening where a bunch of us glitch the city together, walking, laughing, eating and drinking to music! That would require a bit of forward planning but if enough people are interested I’d probably do it.

  2. I’d do one of those eating, drinking, walking and listening to music evenings. Those are some of my favourite things to do. :)

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