My stop is an F minor

James Murphy

James Murphy

FROM: Sound Opinions #431

James Murphy may have mothballed  LCD Soundsystem, but he wants you to make some underground music for him. If it works, music will rise up like steam from those grates where you hear the subway passing below your feet. Every subway station will have its own song, which it will compose and play spontaneously, at the touch of a passenger’s body, passing in and out of the station. That has to qualify as a public art project. no? Those astute Chicago boys at Sound Opinions publicized this recently in one of their interviews:

James Murphy:  I’m trying to do music for subways.

SO (joking): You’d have to be really loud.

JM: I’m serious.

SO: Really?

JM: I’ve been trying for 14 years to make the turnstiles make music. I want to make every station in New York have a different set of dominant keys. I want each subway station to make music in a particular dominant key so that when someone grows up and hears a piece of music he might think, “Wow, that’s like Union Square.” When you go through a turnstile it would beep in a certain note. The root note would have a higher percentage of going off, and then a third and a fifth note. (Editor’s, uh, note: That would make a major chord. ) Each turnstile would have a random note generator based on a certain percentage. During rush hour, they might make a beautiful sound. New York is a brutal city, and I love it, but this would be one little bit of kindness.

SO: It could start in Jersey on the PATH trains, and New York would get jealous.

JM: You could have your active brain turned off but hear the notes of your station and wake up from your book and know it’s time to get off. Of course I’m envisioning a New York where everyone’s reading on the train.

Or they could have LCD Soundsystem in their earbuds and all that body music would be for naught. Wish somebody would take him up on it. What are the odds De Blasio would even consider it?

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