Björk creates an AI composition that creates music that creates music to the weather


Björk creates new choir music with Microsoft AI software that will play on a loop and change depending on the WEATHER

  • Icelandic virtuoso Björk has created a new musical work for a hotel lobby
  • The music draws on ideas from her choir archives collected over 17 years
  • An AI designed by Microsoft will create dynamic variations of her new work
  • Those variations will respond to changes in the weather observed via a rooftop camera at the hotel 

This week Microsoft announced a new collaboration with Björk to create a series of musical compositions with a custom built artificial intelligence tool.

The AI will create dynamic new variations of Björk’s original arrangements based on the changing weather patterns and position of the sun . 

Called ‘Kórsafn,’ which means ‘choir archive’ in Icelandic, the composition will be played continuously in the lobby of Sister City, a hotel in New York’s lower east side that opened in the spring of 2019.

Björk has created a new AI-driven musical work, called ¿Kórsafn,¿ which will play in the lobby of New York's Sister City hotel in the lower east side

Björk has created a new AI-driven musical work, called ‘Kórsafn,’ which will play in the lobby of New York’s Sister City hotel in the lower east side

Described as a ‘generative soundscape,’ the composition combines sounds and motifs from Björk’s personal of choir archives, which she has compiled over the last 17 years as a solo artist.

‘Kórsafn’ isn’t just a series of old sound files, however, Björk revisited her old set of recordings and notes and samples to create a series of new set of arrangements just for the project. 

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Her new arrangements were performed and recorded live in a studio session by the Hamrahlid Choir, one of Iceland’s most renowned vocal groups. 

Microsoft’s AI will pick up where Björk’s arrangements leave off, creating an endless string of new variations with her work, in response to a live camera feed from the Sister City roof, 

The music will dynamically adapt to sunrises, sunsets, and changes in barometric pressure that might signal rain, wind, or snow, creating an all-encompassing mood for guests.

The music will adapt dynamically in accordance with changing weather patterns captured by a live video feed taken from the roof of the hotel

The music will adapt dynamically in accordance with changing weather patterns captured by a live video feed taken from the roof of the hotel

Björk says she wrote the music hoping it would 'float through the pinball of artificial intelligence by the grid of bird migrations, clouds, aeroplanes and that voluptuous thing called barometer'

 Björk says she wrote the music hoping it would ‘float through the pinball of artificial intelligence by the grid of bird migrations, clouds, aeroplanes and that voluptuous thing called barometer’

Sister City opened in early 2019 and first commissioned Julianna Barwick to write ambient music to play in its lobby

Sister City opened in early 2019 and first commissioned Julianna Barwick to write ambient music to play in its lobby

Björk's new arrangements were recorded in a live studio session by the Hamrahlid Choir, one of Iceland¿s most renowned vocal groups.

Björk’s new arrangements were recorded in a live studio session by the Hamrahlid Choir, one of Iceland’s most renowned vocal groups.

According to Microsoft, the AI will also learn over time, so that it will continue to create unique new sounds and learn to identify different weather phenomena. 

The idea of an original lobby score at Sister City began last year, when the hotel commissioned composer Julianna Barwick to create a similarly-AI driven soundscape for the lobby.

Since then, Microsoft says it has made significant improvements to the AI. 

Now it can accurately identify different types of clouds, detect individual birds, and distinguish different members of an entire flock of birds. 

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WHAT IS ‘KÓRSAFN’?

 ‘Kórsafn’ is a new AI-powered musical composition created by Björk and Microsoft that will play in the lobby of the Sister City hotel in New York. 

It will change dynamically based on the weather and time of day captured by a live video feed from the hotel’s roof. 

Björk’s full artist’s statement describing the project is below: 

‘an architectural structure downtown manhattan offered me the hand in an AI tango and i accepted the call, i am alert with curiosity waiting the results. i offered them my choir archives, written over 17 years that will float through the pinball of artificial intelligence by the grid of bird migrations, clouds, aeroplanes and that voluptuous thing called barometer ! hudson valley happens to be one of the most bird-trafficked deltas on the planet, i know this of my own experience …. hope you will enjoy this ! warmth björk”



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