James Murphy’s Subway Symphony installed in underground New York park

The LCD Soundsystem man wanted to reprogram subway turnstiles to play different keys

James Murphy‘s Subway Symphony project has been installed in an underground New York park.

The Lowline is located in the city’s Lower East Side and has been open to visitors since last year, despite still being under development.

It is now home to Murphy’s project, in which he wanted to reprogram the city’s subway turnstiles to play sounds in a different key at each station.


Last year, the LCD Soundsystem man described the Heineken-sponsored endeavour as “an easy way to make this great place I call home even greater“.

He said: “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.”

Previously he had explained his idea by saying: “I’ve been fighting for 14 years to get all the subway turnstiles to make music. I want to make every station in New York have a different set of dominant keys, so that people who grow up will later on in life hear a piece of music and say, ‘Oh, that’s like Union Square’.”

The MTA, the organisation who operate New York’s subway system, rejected Murphy’s plan, saying: “We won’t mess with [the turnstiles] – much less take the turnstiles out of service and risk disabling them for an art project.”

Watch a video tour of the Lowline, including the Subway Symphony and narrated by LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang, below, via Pitchfork.