By Andrea Romano
January 22, 2020

What’s better than checking into your hotel after a long trip? Checking into your hotel after a long trip while being greeted by the musical stylings of an Icelandic pop icon.

Icelandic singer Björk has lent certain choral arrangements to be played in the lobby of Sister City, a tech-focused hotel in New York City from the founders of the Ace Hotel. Her arrangements, entitled Kórsafn, have been composed over 17 years and will now play in the hotel lobby 24/7, according to a statement.

The choral piece uses Microsoft AI and a rooftop camera to record and translate activity in the sky. Birds, clouds, planes, and other aspects of the ever-changing New York City skyline get turned into data. The AI program then uses this data to generate a unique musical composition that will greet travelers any time they step foot in Sister City. The arrangement itself is rooted in Icelandic music as well as snippets of Björk’s favorite choral arrangements from her career, including recordings by the Hamrahlid Choir of Iceland.

Björk is well-known for implementing new technology into her work, so collaborating with both Microsoft AI and a sleek, aesthetically pleasing hotel like Sister City seems like a match made in heaven.

“An architectural structure in downtown Manhattan offered me the hand in an AI tango and I accepted the call. I am alert with curiosity waiting the results,” said Björk in a statement. “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!”

According to a statement from Sister City, this AI-generated lobby score is part of an ongoing project at the hotel. The project was launched at Sister City’s opening in April 2019, with arrangements from experimental electronic musician Julianna Barwick. “It was always a dream to have Björk contribute to our Lobby Score project, and we couldn’t be happier to see this collaboration come together with Björk and Microsoft,” said Ryan Bukstein, VP of brand with Atelier Ace/Sister City, in a statement.

To hear the score online, visit the Sister City website. Or, to hear the score in person, book your stay online.

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