The Singing Subway

James Murphy, formerly of LCD Soundsystem, has had a dream for 14 years: To make the New York Subway sing.


Currently each ticket gate on the subway is programmed to make a noise every time a commuter passes through. By default that noise is a predictably angry chirp. chooOPP!


James wants to re-engineer each set of gates to sing the parts of a major chord. Together the gates would function something like a wind chime.


This means at quiet times a gentle, church-like hymn might tinkle through the empty subway spaces. At peak hour an ever-evolving, chiming symphony would sing along with the hustle of the crowd.


It’s such a brutal city – and I love it. But I think one little gift of kindness would be nice“.


What’s more, James wants to compose different signature sounds for each station. In theory, as you approach your home station you’ll know where you are without looking up from your book, just by the ambient G major melody in the background.


After a long campaign, it’s seeming likely that James’ idea will be adopted. With an average weekday ridership of nearly 9 million, this relatively small and inexpensive change can impact a lot of ears and minds.


While the NYC Subway is only one application, it is a very visible one and could influence a lot of designers and thinkers to think more about sound.


I think this is a great idea. Fingers crossed.


Alex Walker
SitePoint Design Channel


(Via SitePoint : )

This New Release Plays on Fisher-Price Record Players ONLY | NOISEY

This New Release Plays on Fisher-Price Record Players ONLY | NOISEY.

It goes without saying that analog—à la vinyl and cassette—is totally en vogue right now. Encouraged by being able to touch your music rather than watch as you accidently vanquish it to the depths of the recycle bin, loads of labels are pressing releases that you can feel.

Well, it seems that Canadian label Kelp Records has combined this touchy-feely admiration with an admiration for childhood. You know: the time when playtime was actually a session on the monkey bars and not a euphemism for heavy-petting.

The Ottawa-based brand is issuing the music of local band Hilotrons exclusively for the Fisher-Price toy record player. This means that instead of raving hands aloft to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” you can get down to “My Number” and “Not There Tonight” playing in some creepy glockenspiel tones. Unfortunately, you’ll only get roughly 25 seconds to drown in the euphoria, as the format can only carry about half a verse and half a chorus of each song.

The decision came after label founder Jon Bartlett, tracked down the Zeppelin disc’s creator in Surrey and arranged to have them produce the Hilotrons two-sider, taken from their recent LP At Least There’s Commotion. Being a boyhood fan of the 1970s kiddy jukebox, he thought this would be a rad idea for the novelty item shelf. Because of costs, however, the label was only able to make five of the records, which were sold as part of an exclusive package at last Saturday’s Toronto edition of the Independent Label Market.

Bear with us as we raid the aisles of Toys ‘R’ Us.

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