click thru for description
Shot from Q and N Trains between the Dekalb (Brooklyn) and Canal (Manhattan) Street Stations. The zoetrope (affectionately titled “Masstransiscope’ by its artist, Bill Brand) was painted in the old Myrtle Ave subway station in 1980 and restored in 2008. Always a transporting diversion.
Update (Dec 2012): Masstransiscope was apparently tagged over during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Haven’t seen the extent of the damage to the artwork, but it sounds like it’s been rendered, well, un-rendered.
The 11th Disquiet.com Junto Challenge in March 2012 required the group to make an original field recording, and to then make something of it. It focused on rhythm. I captured audio of an N train (from inside the train) going over the Manhattan Bridge as well as sounds from the Canal Street and Atlantic/Pacific Street stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, respectively.
The assignment allowed that “to [your recording] you can add whatever sounds you like, but the rhythm should be central and prominent in the finished track.” I think I kept it central. I couldn’t get the train beat to syncopate to build drama at the end, so I added some drums and cymbals and tried not to bury the train in the kit.
Certain newer model R142 subway cars have propulsion mechanisms that emit tones as they accelerate and excite the steel rails with electrical current. Many people swear the trains sound out the first three notes of “Somewhere” from West Side Story. I caught the tones coming off a J Train leaving Canal Street and couldn’t resist manipulating them to finish the 1st phrase of the song (“there’s a place for us…”) to open this track.
Here’s a story about the “Somewhere” subway sound:
And here’s my raw capture of the tones for this project:
The ringing synth-like sounds are the subway door chimes chopped, extended and pitch manipulated, and the general calliope is reworkings of the propulsion mechanism sounds that made up the “Somewhere” phrase. Vamping over the beats and noises with my cherry es335, Jolie, turned it into a “track.”
More details on the Disquiet Junto at: