03.04.2012, Words by Charlie Jones

London beats at exactly 122.86 beats per minute, according to David Bryne

The legendary Talking Heads' boss David Byrne discovers the capital's tempo during his stay at the _A Room for London_ architecture installation.

A Room for London is a one-bedroom installation built, designed and placed above the Thames in London by Living Architecture in collaboration with the artist Fiona Banner. It’s shaped like a small boat and will be available to rent for night-long stays throughout 2012.

Even more interesting, during the year it will also transmit a programme of writing, performance and music.

To help promoting the project a range of popular musicians have been invited to spend a short stay in the small pod which has a 360-view on the city.
Each musician will stay in the space every month, ending the residency with a Sounds from a Room live performance that will be streamed to international audiences over the web.

David Byrne was invited to stay there for three days last month, during which he studied London’s rhythm and tempo from above. He went out during the day and recorded sounds that he thought might be useful and evocative for his work.

In his words: “It turned out that most of the sounds—even the church organ in Southwark Cathedral—seemed to converge around a common rhythm.”

He then discovered that the city beats exactly at 122.86 beats per minute, and added: “It’s a bit too good to be true—that every large city should have its own rhythm, but here it is. I let the sounds dictate the groove, the tempo, and then I simply played along.

You can stream David Byrne’s 122.86 tempo video below, featuring sounds from Borough Market, Embankment, Waterloo and many other London’s spots, and get more details on A Room For London’s website.

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