Author: Listen

Music X Technology: Big Grams

We recently caught up with Big Grams (Big Boi & Phantogram) to see how they use Microsoft’s Kinect technology to create an immersive visual experience for their unique live shows.

Big Grams worked with new media and entertainment studio V Squared Labs to develop this experience, which is triggered by the band’s movements on stage. The result is a spectacular interactive backdrop that was custom made to compliment Big Grams’s energetic performance, bringing fans into their world.

To see more about the Music x Technology program go to:

Inside The Music of KEXP

To celebrate the opening of KEXP’s New Home, we worked with KEXP and Microsoft to create an interactive installation inviting the audience to physically go inside the music of KEXP. 

Using Microsoft’s Kinect technology, participants remixed songs by favorite KEXP musicians alt-J, Floating Points, Olafur Arnalds and Samaris. Both the visuals and the music responded intuitively to the audience’s movements and interactions in the ever-evolving environment. 

As people moved through the installation, they continuously reshaped and customized the music, blurring the line between creator and audience.

The installation was part of our ongoing work with Microsoft for their Music x Technology program, created to explore emerging modes of artistic expression and celebrate advances in interactive technology.

Find out more about the Music x Technology program here:

Spring Moves Brand Anthem

Spring Moves is the world’s first ‘sonic-energy company’, combining music and technology to make people live better by working out better. Their first product – the Spring app (iOS) – is a rhythm fueled music service and exercise tracker. Think Pandora meets Fitbit.

For the launch, Spring Moves asked us to take their mission of “realizing human potential through the power of music and technology” and translate that into a musical brand anthem.

Interactive Artist Portraits

We are proud to have been the Project Lead for a new interactive photography project that profiles forward-thinking musicians who have created compelling and innovation work using Microsoft technology.

Shot by Satellite Lab founder and artist Carlo Van de Roer, the portraits are an homage to Microsoft’s recent creative collaborations with critically acclaimed DJ/producer Matthew Dear, electronic pop duo Phantogram, and electronic music band Neon Indian, capturing them in a moment of creating sound.

The result of the project is a series of interactive portraits in which the viewer can become participant by controlling and moving light-sources within the image – enabling them to explore and discover the content, context and details of a moment in music. Each set was tailored to the individual style of the artist, who have all used the Microsoft Kinect to create engaging music experiences.

Interact with the portraits at:

Listen Scores GrubHub Commercial

We recently composed a fun, energetic track for GrubHub’s latest commercial that complements the fast paced imagery and narrative of the ad. It was important to us that the piece be rhythmically interesting and to integrate with the ‘larger than life’ sound design, which really brought the energy of the scenes to life.

DELQA Nominated for SXSW Interactive Innovation Award

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2016 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards. As part of our ongoing music program for Microsoft, we created an installation that invited the audience to physically go inside the music of critically-acclaimed music producer and artist Matthew Dear–all powered by Kinect technology. View the behind-the-scenes video here.

Listen’s Year In Review

As 2015 comes to a close, we’d like to reflect on some our favourite moments of the year, from the release of Kendrick Lamar’s groundbreaking ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, to the rebirth of N.W.A, to Drake releasing the most meme worthy video ever. Not only was 2015 a great year for music, it was an incredibly exciting year for the team here at Listen!

 This year, we collaborated with a range of innovative artists to create exciting experiences for fans and bands alike by harnessing the power of Microsoft technology. We kicked off Microsoft’s music program with Delqa, a sonic installation that went inside the music of celebrated DJ and producer, Matthew Dear. This powerful installation at The New Museum let users bring Matthew’s original track to life by interacting with the Kinect powered environment.

 We continued our work with Microsoft by partnering with New York’s CMJ Music Marathon, a weeklong music festival that attracts music’s most promising talent. We used this opportunity to bring a brand new live performance experience to the festival, working with Neon Indian to update his live show with Kinect technology. Neon Indian’s show came to life through immersive visuals created in real time, taking full advantage of the latest interactive technology.

 Finally, we wrapped up the year by helping electronic pop duo Phantogram share their story of how their “favorite show ever” came together in a cemetery using Kinect technology. The band worked with creative technologist Blair Neal to create a projection using the band’s bodies as a canvas in real time. The result was an unforgettable live experience at the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery – a story we were proud to help bring to those who couldn’t be there. 

 This year we also created sonic identity systems for a variety of brands and products around the globe, including Microsoft, HoloLens, Xbox and Skype. We are incredibly proud of our work re-designing Skype’s iconic sound, for the first time in 10 years. This was a huge highlight for us and you can find out more in this in-depth piece from The Verge, ‘Sound Decisions: Inside the world of audio branding with Skype’s new pings, bounces, and pops’. In addition to our identity work, we provided soundtracks for the likes of ED by Ellen, Stella Artois Sensorium and the AICP Awards Show.

  We also had the pleasure of working with the team at MOSCOT to create Listen-produced music events, in their Orchard Street Gallery & Music Space. We were lucky to be joined by some amazing artists, including Penguin Prison, Delicate Steve and Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls). We ended the year with the MOSCOT 100 year anniversary concert, ‘Legendary Rock of the Lower East Side feat. GE Smith & Friends’, at City Winery.

This year, along with Pharrell Williams and the team at Control Room, we brought together the smartest young minds in climate activism, to create ‘The World is Watching’ panel for 24 Hours of Reality. Pharrell and the panelists discussed how youth today can take climate action, in the lead up to the historic climate agreement that was signed by 196 countries at the COP21 United Nations climate summit in Paris.

  Lastly, we continued our work on Ones To Watch, a partnership between Skype and Live Nation that supported emerging bands and helped music fans get closer to their favorite artists. Along the way we caught up with The Devil Makes Three, KONGOS, Kalin & Myles, Kodaline, and more and watched as they made stronger bonds with their fans via Skype. Check out some of those special moments here.

Here’s to an even bigger 2016! 

Inside the Music of Neon Indian

As part of our recent work for Microsoft, we collaborated with Neon Indian to bring a brand new live performance experience to the 2015 CMJ Music Marathon. Powered by Microsoft technology, Neon Indian’s show came to life through immersive visuals created in real time, taking full advantage of the latest interactive technology. Five Kinect sensors were used to capture each  band member, reacting to the music and movements happening live on stage.

This unique collaboration between Microsoft and Neon Indian, produced by Listen, will allow Neon Indian to continue bringing his unique vision to life each night as he continues to tour throughout the United States. Following our activity at CMJ, a performance tool-kit is being released, granting other musicians, developers, and artists access to the blueprints that were used to create this dynamic concert experience.

In conjunction with Neon Indian’s updated live show, CMJ badge holders were invited to attend a panel discussion on the evolving role of interactive technology in the music space. Attendees got an in-depth look at the creation of Neon Indian’s show as well as the creation of DELQA, a previous Listen project, that transformed the music of Matthew Dear.

Watch Neon Indian perform “The Glitzy Hive”, live from Webster Hall below.

Just a few of the kind words written on the project:

Wired: The Light Show in Neon Indian’s New Video is Kinect-Powered

Spin: Neon Indian Enters a Laser-Lit Jungle at ‘VEGA INTL. Nightschool Show’

Slant: Neon Indian and Microsoft Want to Change the Way You View Music


Listen Refreshes Skype’s Product Sounds

We’re very proud to announce some of our recent work for Skype, highlighted in this in-depth piece from The Verge, ‘Sound Decisions: Inside the world of audio branding with Skype’s new pings, bounces, and pops’. Adi Robertson, the author of thearticle, dives deep into the history of the sounds that make up our digital world and what makes them so important. Listen’s Founding Partner, Steve Milton, speaks to our task of re-designing Skype’s iconic sonic identity and the ongoing mission to make the world sound better. 

Listen Provides Soundtrack for Stella Artois Sensorium

The Stella Artois Sensorium event was all about bringing the senses together in an immersive environment, and creating an exciting dining experience. As we looked at the musical direction to accompany this unique event’s launch video, our aim was to capture the drama and emotion of the event and commercial through the music, by matching music to the fast paced visuals and encapsulating the feeling of anticipation and excitement. The integrated sound design further enhances the action, and the whole piece builds into a dramatic finale.