Author: Listen

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.

Listen Provides Soundtrack to “ED By Ellen” Launch

Pioneering comedian and talk show host, Ellen Degeneres, has entered the world of fashion with her brand new fashion line, ED By Ellen. The label made its debut during New York Fashion Week last month with stars like Justin Timberlake and Kanye West attending the launch event at Bergdorf Goodman. Here’s a peek into this special evening with Listen music providing the perfect soundtrack to mark the celebration. 

 

Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls) @ MOSCOT

For the latest Listen produced event for NYC eyewear institution MOSCOT, Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls fame joined us at The MOSCOT Gallery & Music Space to play a stripped back set for an eager crowd of longtime fans. Dee Dee was joined on stage by Kurt Feldman of Ice Choir, who provided background vocals and guitar. The duo delighted us with a 45 minute set of mostly Dum Dum Girls songs and even surprised us by playing a brand new track! Big thanks to Dee Dee and Kurt for stopping by the shop, we loved having you!

Penguin Prison @ MOSCOT Music

On a hot summer’s day back in June, Penguin Prison brought his electro-pop jams to an excited crowd at MOSCOT’s Orchard Street Gallery & Music Space, marking an intimate, one-of-a-kind experience for fans. See what Penguin Prison frontman, Chris Glover, had to say about the show over on Fuse and don’t miss the video of their live performance, featuring the addictive track “Calling Out”. 

Listen Scores AICP Awards Show Sponsor Reel

We were honored to be asked to score and sound design this year’s AICP Show sponsor reel, created by Quietman. The awards show was held at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art and celebrated the art and craft of the commercial with awards in 22 categories.

Jeremy Yang, our Creative Director composed the piece – “I really wanted the music to take the viewers on a journey through what is this beautiful, textural visual landscape, really moving with the image and creating this ambient, interstellar cinematic world. I’ve always been influenced by film scores and electronic music, and it was great to work on a project that allowed me the time and freedom to tell a story through music. I’m really pleased with how the project turned out, and of course always enjoy collaborating with Darryl Mascarenhas (Creative Director at Quietman).”
The sponsor reel will be on archive at the MoMA, but you can check it out here: http://www.aicpshow.com/show/2015-sponsor-reel/

Delicate Steve @ MOSCOT Music

We were thrilled to have produced an evening with Delicate Steve at MOSCOT’s Orchard Street Gallery & Music Space last month for a very special performance. Having toured with Australian band Tame Impala across massive venues and fresh off a recent headlining tour, it was an honor to have Delicate Steve drop in for an intimate evening of music and good vibes.
If you’re not familiar with their sound, they’re a predominantly instrumental band who’ve been praised by everyone from Pitchfork to The New York Times. And we can continue to heap the praise on Delicate Steve after experiencing their live show for ourselves. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the below video featuring the band’s performance of “Afria Talks to You”.

Don’t forget to RSVP for the next MOSCOT Music event on June 18th, featuring a performance by Penguin Prison http://donyc.com/moscotpenguinprison

 

Getting Music Fans #CloserWithSkype

Over the past few months we’ve been working with Skype and Live Nation to continue to get music fans closer to their favorite artists. We kicked off the New Year with a podcast series that finds our host, Jonny, interviewing some of the best emerging artists out there. Tour antics, crazy fan stories, and life on the road are all on the table as topics of discussion and these bands aren’t holding back!

We began with The Devil Makes Three, letting fans choose which song they’d like to see the band perform in a special acoustic set. Not only that, but fans were able to submit Skype Video Messages to the band, having their questions answered personally. Check out their answers below and listen to the Ones to Watch Podcast while you’re at it – they talk about their past, their present, and what’s to come.

We caught up with KONGOS at Irving Plaza before their New York show and sat down with them to discuss what life is like as a literal band of brothers. They told some great stories and even took some fan questions that were submitted via Skype. You can hear it all in the 2nd Episode of the Ones to Watch podcast. You don’t want to miss it.

We also found out just how powerful a music fan-base can be when we hosted a Twitter Party and Skype Group Chat with Kalin & Myles. The hip-pop group’s fans came to the Twitter Party armed with questions and Skype provided the forum for answers directly from the band. #CloserWithSkype even became a worldwide trending topic! The guys also connected with their fans on an exclusive three-day Skype Group Chat, making the 300 present fans ecstatic every time they got online. Getting to talk to their favorite band in an intimate, closed chat setting proved to be an experience that I doubt any of them will be forgetting anytime soon.

So, what’s next? We’ll be checking in with Kalin & Myles as they’re crossing the states on a nationwide tour and bringing you all the latest from Kodaline and Nico & Vinz. So stay tuned, check out The Ones to Watch Podcast, and #GetCloserWithSkype