Pentagram’s holiday card by Yuri Suzuki makes music with your face

Face the Music is an interactive platform that turns your face into a musical instrument, so you can play along with different musical styles including dubstep, opera, blues or sci-fi by moving your mouth, tilting your head or raising your eyebrows.

17 December 2019


Pentagram London's partner Yuri Suzuki has taken the mantle of this year's agency Christmas card, and as you might expect, it's no regular Christmas card.

Face the Music is an interactive online platform that uses facial recognition to turn your face into a musical instrument, so you can play along with different musical styles including dubstep, opera, blues or sci-fi, by opening and closing your mouth, tilting your head side-to-side, and raising your eyebrows.

Brilliantly silly as well as inclusive of anyone who's willing, it's sure to make a great party game over the festive period - but no one appears to have had more fun making it than Yuri himself, and two of his colleagues, who star in four demonstration videos. The sound designer spins in his office chair, transforming superhero-style into the frontman for each piece of music, playing the instrument in the foreground in various costumes. Meanwhile, his two colleagues act as backing dancers/musicians, tailoring their moves and instruments to each genre (keep your eyes peeled for the canny appropriation of colanders, spatulas and other kitchen implements in the sci-fi video).

Yuri explains the project concept was borne from a search for some much needed joy. "After spending some time with a good friend recently, I noticed that my face really ached from laughing so much," he tells It's Nice That. "I realised that I hadn’t been laughing (or even smiling) very much lately, which I guess was probably because of all the depressing stories that seem to dominate the news this year."

"I tried to think about how we might be able to provide a fun activity with this year’s holiday card," he continues. "Like many designers I’m dyslexic, and I’ve been told that dyslexia is all about the connection between our brains and our bodies. I thought that instead of manipulating our hands or arms to make sounds, using facial expressions might be a better and much more playful way to make music."

"The project came about after a lot of experimenting in the studio. I always have an image in my mind when I’m listening to music, and I could easily come up with certain expressions that would correspond with genres such as dubstep and blues. Making sounds – whether it’s by using your face or a musical instrument – is really the basis for making all music."

Try out Face the Music here or enjoy watching Yuri's performances below.

Yuri Suzuki's solo show Sound in Mind is on at London's Design Museum until 2 February 2020.

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.

Jenny is currently on maternity leave.

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