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New Audio Experience 'City Symphony' Gives Walking Brisbane's Streets a Cinematic Soundtrack

Listen to an interactive soundscape featuring David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Kate Miller-Heidke and Jesswar as you mosey around town.
By Sarah Ward
July 05, 2022
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By Sarah Ward
July 05, 2022
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Plenty of movies have them: that moment when someone walks, moseys, runs or struts just as the music swells, soundtracking the act of putting one foot in front of the other in quite the spectacular fashion. You know the kind of on-screen scene we're talking about. When it happens, emotions swirling in the process, it's instantly memorable.

Always wished that real life could feel like that? We all have. And if listening to your usual playlist isn't cutting it during your strolls around town, Brisbane now has a new audio experience you'll want to try out. Available until Sunday, July 24 — launching as part of this year's Curiocity Brisbane, but also sticking around for a couple of weeks afterwards — City Symphony adds a thrilling soundscape to wanders around the River City. It also has some help from David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Kate Miller-Heidke and Jesswar.

Those famous names are all featured in City Symphony's interactive audio, which plays via an app as you walk through the Brisbane CBD. Also on the soundtrack: Keir Nuttall, Hope D, Ancient Bloods, Eve Klein and David Hudson providing tunes, plus original stories by Dr Helen Marshall, Kathleen Jennings and Anisa Nanduala.

The brainchild of singer and composer Dr Eve Klein, plus creative coder and engineer Ravi Glasser-Vora — aka Textile Audio — City Symphony offers a site-specific but evolving soundscape that you listen to via headphones, and by accessing the app via a smartphone, as you hit up the inner city. So, you can head to the Queen Street Mall, the Flower Gardens in the City Botanic Gardens, Goodwill Bridge and King George Square, as well as Reddacliff Place, Queens Gardens, Bunya Walk, George Street and Albert Street, and get what's being badged a 'sonically mapped landscape' piped into your ears.

In total, there's nine different pathways for folks to walk along, each with its own audio. And if you're wondering what kinds of things you might hear as you venture down Brissie streets and between landmarks, a mass choir singing a prayer to the Brisbane river, a rock concert buzzing with a roaring crowd, a pot-luck dinner and a whirring spaceship are all included — alongside those aforementioned tunes and tales.

Feel like you've seen every inch of Brisbane from every angle? And heard it, too? Delivered in conjunction with Queensland Music Festival, City Symphony wants to change that while it's giving you an immersive soundtrack. And, making the experience unique for each user is video game creation technology, which helps the app use real-time data from your phone to adapt its sound mixes as you move through each space.

"We've had to innovate and handcraft the technology underlying the experience from scratch," said Klein and Glasser-Vora. "But the point of this is not to make shiny new technology for its own sake. We believe art can break down barriers and emerging technologies provide new lenses on our surroundings. City Symphony is an open invitation for the people of Brisbane to come and play, and experience their city in a whole new way."

City Symphony is available to experience until Sunday, July 24. For more information, or to download the app, head to the City Symphony website.

Images: Pixel Frame.

Published on July 05, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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