James Murphy launches plans to turn New York subway into a ‘turnstile symphony’

LCD Soundsystem frontman's Subway Symphony project aims to give each station a different turnstile sound

LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy has launched his Subway Symphony project, which aims to turn New York subway into a ‘turnstile symphony’, giving each station a different turnstile sound.

Murphy first announced his plans for the venture in 2013, now confirming that he’s partnered with Heineken to make his ideas a reality.

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The musician previously said of the project: “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’.”

Now, he states in a press release: “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.”

Murphy states his intent to have “new turnstile notes installed in our first station” by the end of the summer. Watch a trailer video for the project below and find out more information here.

However, the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) in New York have issued a statement to the Gothamist denying that the project will come into fruition. “We have heard from him, and as we’ve told him many times, we cannot do it,” a spokesperson said. “The tones are an ADA element for the visually impaired, and we won’t mess with them—much less take turnstiles out of service and risk disabling them for an art project. (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.) As a condition of filming in the subway, we made them acknowledge that we can’t and won’t do it.”

Murphy has also announced plans to open a wine bar in New York City. The musician and his wife, Christina Topsoe, will open a bar called Four Horsemen in early June. The drinking establishment will be situated in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighbourhood, serving food and up to 350 different wine selections.

Murphy told the New York Times that he’s developed the acoustics of the bar himself. “That’s why it doesn’t sound cavernous,” he said. “All people will know is that they’re happy. They’ll not feel the unpleasantness.”

Last year, James Murphy launched his own coffee brand called House Of Good, made in collaboration with coffee company Blue Bottle. Its flavour has been described as “syrupy, well-balanced and thoroughly accessible” with tones of “dried cherry, cocoa, meyer lemon”.