Sister City, In Partnership with Microsoft, Announces New Generative Music Lobby Score Created by Experimental Musician Julianna Barwick

Sister City, a new hotel in NYC that embraces technology to offer guests a modern respite, debuts a first-of-its-kind lobby music score. Sister City’s goal was to completely rethink how sound can be specifically designed for public spaces by responding directly to the environment it lives in. Instead of a set playlist, this idea expands the possibilities of audiospheres and conceived an idea borne from Sister City’s experiential design, use of technology and love of harmony and balance. Sister City looked to Brian Eno’s Music For Airports and John Cage’s concept for “4’33”” as touch points for these conversations.

The hotel worked with Microsoft to help with the project and together brought in indie electronic musician Julianna Barwick to collaborate on a generative music score that exists as an extension of the hotel instead of an added layer.

Julianna worked with Microsoft to create a composition that uses Sister City’s sky camera on the roof to respond to the neighborhood: sounds that loop and shift as a pigeon flies overhead; during sunrise, sunset or rain; as a cloud or airplane traverses across the sky. Ever-evolving and in concert with nature’s moving targets, the piece enlightens guests to their surroundings in exuberant and innovative ways.

This installation utilizes Microsoft’s Custom Vision API to identify the objects captured by the hotel’s roof cam. The AI has been trained to ID various objects or incidents and match them with specific loops and sounds composed by Julianna.

The new partnership is part of Microsoft’s Music x Technology program, bringing together Microsoft technology and boundary-pushing artists to transform the way we create and experience music. Past partnership have featured Brian Eno, Childish Gambino and Alison Wonderland. Sister City’s score will continue to evolve as they invite new artists to contribute.

Sister City was created by the people behind Ace Hotel and inspired by the functional perfection of Finnish saunas, Japanese bento boxes, the rock-cut cliff dwellings of prehistory and John Cage’s 4’33”, offers 200 intimate, efficient rooms, a ground-floor restaurant Floret and rooftop bar Last Light right on the Bowery, Manhattan’s oldest and most storied thoroughfare. The hotel has the philosophy of less, but better with the inherent satisfaction of having just enough. They asked what was needed for today’s traveler, and shaved off the excess, considering aesthetic sustenance and human connection modern needs as well.

To learn more about the Sister City hotel or to book a room and experience this new technology yourself please visit: