Watch James Murphy demonstrate his subway-turnstile music project (video)
The former LCD Soundsystem frontman ran through his “MTA audio concept” for The Wall Street Journal
Tue Feb 25 2014
Still via WSJ
Remember James Murphy's recently disclosed desire for subway turnstiles that make music? Far from a half-baked plan, the notion is one that the musician has been working on for the past 15 years; the idea is, simply, to make the public transit system a better-sounding place. In a new video for The Wall Street Journal, Murphy clarifies how he would achieve that.
The former LCD Soundsystem frontman starts out by describing his love affair with the subway, stating how much it would benefit from eliminating the shrill beep that a turnstile makes whenever commuters swipe in. As an alternative, he proposes a symphony of sorts. "He has worked out a unique set of notes for every station, one of which would sound each time a passenger swipes his or her MetroCard to catch a train," says the accompanying Journal article. The harmonies would be location-specific to each of the system's 468 stations and would also sound whenever a train pulled in.
In the video, Murphy goes on to explain how his "MTA audio concept" could be implemented when the MetroCard goes digital, supposedly by 2019. Turnstiles will have to be updated to allow for tap technology, allowing the transit agency to install his tuneful design. As for funding such a project? Murphy has that sorted, too, pointing out that some of the MTA's new $900,000-a-year investment in improving passenger flow and comfort could be applied here.
The MTA has expressed skepticism at taking each of the city’s 3,289 subway turnstiles out of use, even temporarily, to install Murphy's tones, but the musician is continuing his campaign, dubbed Subway Symphony. You can read more about it and sign a petition here.
What's your stance on Murphy's idea, readers? While we agree that the subway isn't particularly nice on the ears, a lot could be done to improve straphanger comforts, from a fresh coat of paint to getting rid of rats and trash. Or, as one commenter put it on the AV Club:
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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)