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James Murphy’s “Subway Symphony” has found his place: an Underground Park in New York

James Murphy’s “Subway Symphony” has found his place: an Underground Park in New York - sound identity music blog sound audio branding marketing sound design

For a very, very long time, James Murphy has been trying to achieve a goal. His hope is to redefine new sounds for the New York City's subway stations.

The idea was simple as well as brilliant:

"I started noticing that the subway sounds quite brutal" Murphy says. "There's a missing opportunity at the turnstile."

He explains:

“New York City is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind place, and the people who are willing to do what it takes to live here – deal with the crowds and the commotion and the noise – deserve a little sonic gift like this. I want to turn the cacophony of the subway into unique pieces of music. It might seem like a small thing, but that’s exactly the point. This is such an easy way to make this great place I call home even greater.”

Back in 2015, Murphy has announced an official partnership with Heineken. The project, that aims to make the city a slightly nicer place to be, has been called Subway Symphony.

It sounds like a great idea, but it is not so easy.

MTA, the company that manages transit, buses, subways, trains, bridges and tunnels in New York City, discourages Murphy.

MTA spokesperson: "It would be a very cool project, don't get me wrong, but we can't mess with turnstiles that handle 6 million customers a day for it."

But don’t worry, this story doesn't end here. In July, a new promotional video has arrived.

Directed by Swedish filmmaker Petter Ringbom, LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang voices a walk through an underground garden lab with a sound designed entrance by James Murphy.

Under the streets of New York’s Lower East Side, a former trolley terminal adjacent to the Essex Street subway station is in the process of being turned into the world’s first underground park — the Lowline, as we can see via Nowness.


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