You can't beat a bit of music when you're driving, and Underworld - who you'll remember as the people who organised all the music for last year's Olympic opening ceremony - have teamed up with Volkswagen to create the Play the Road experience and attempt to redefine the meaning of driving music.
Together with digital agency Tribal Worldwide London, they've created an iPhone app that works with the Golf GTI to generate a unique soundtrack that's directly affected by the car's behaviour. Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of Underworld created a dynamic musical composition that can be altered by the GTI's engine, steering, and acceleration, as well as the GPS data from the phone. The end result is a different performance every time, and one that promises to be completely in tune with the drive.
The big challenge was ensuring that the end results would be something you'd actually want to listen to. "I think we all felt from the beginning that if it was just an experiment that produced an experimental result, and that was it, then it was going to be a failure," says Rick Smith. "It needed to arouse emotions, as music does."
Play the Road has taken months of collaboration between sound designers, developers, drivers and Underworld themselves, and maddeningly it's not being made available for general release because of boring old safety reasons. However you can enter a competition to win an opportunity to drive the Volkswagen Golf GTI with the Play the Road Experience.
Words: Jim McCauley
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