The weird-looking taxi in the picture above is not from some steam-punk convention. It's an actual London cab that has been fitted with microphones, 67 speakers, and Indian horns on top by Make The City Sound Better, a project by sound artist Yuri Suzuki. Suzuki and his team designed the cab to record the ambient noise you hear in the city--traffic, people walking and talking, restaurant sounds--and turn the noise into music in real time via a specially-made computer program. Passersby can hear the music as it's broadcast through the speakers, and passengers within the car can tune in with headphones.
Because each pocket of London has different sounds, each journey made a wholly new melody, which you can listen to below. It basically sounds like generic ambient club music--nobody said this is a hit-creating machine--but the process is indeed fascinating. Also, be sure to watch the short video below showing how the taxi was outfitted. [PSFK]