Nokia Bell Labs

We Speak Music


Reeps One

“Our Voices are our most precious tool. As they grow, we grow.”

We Speak Music is an exploration into the human possibilities of the voice. Fronted by visual artist and world-class beatboxer Harry Yeff (aka Reeps One) and presented by world-renowned technological innovators Nokia Bell Labs, the series of 6 short documentaries explores how beatboxing is reframing our understanding of the human voice and influencing communities and creatives from all over the world.

The future of voice is a strange and exciting place which merges artificial intelligence, creativity and self-expression, bringing forth an innovation that will push the instrument further than it has ever gone before. This collaboration is an investigative journey of voice and human communication, offering scientific, cultural, technological and artistic insights into how the art of beatboxing is the ultimate exploration of its potential. The series raises many interesting questions about the importance we place on the human voice, its unstudied capabilities beyond speaking and the role it could play in an increasingly global society regarding interacting with machines. A discourse that is more important than ever with the rise of voice-controlled technology.

We Speak Music Trailer

Guided by the infectious curiosity of Reeps One, a Nokia Bell Labs artist-in-residence, the series investigates how the beatboxing subculture is creating a nonverbal form of expression between global, online communities. From its origins in the hip-hop community in New York, to modern collaborations with neuroscientists, educators and engineers. These members use their ability to communicate ideas and feelings across linguistic boundaries, using just the human voice. Reeps One, inspired by his journey and the pioneering work of Nokia Bell Labs, created a spectacle performance using a sophisticated, deep learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

The result is a world-first collaboration between the human voice and a technology that will soon be everywhere. The series culminates in a creative duet between Reeps One and his AI “vocal twin” showing the true creative potential when we bring together the best of humanity with the best of technology. This performance takes the audience to a new hyper-functional and creative watershed and, more importantly, highlights how these collaborations have the potential to create profoundly emotional experiences.

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