Ever wondered what the Northern Line would sound like in song form? Or whether the Metropolitan Line is an upbeat pop number or a maudlin minor key masterpiece? Neither had we.
But then we heard about musician and composer Daniel Liam Glyn, who has used his rare neurological condition to create songs based on the London Underground map. And the resulting album, Changing Stations, is a beguiling contemporary piano journey.
“From a young age I’ve envisaged numbers, letters and words in colour,” says Glyn. “Each day would have a specific colour in my mind as well as months of the year, enabling me to have an expansive long-term memory. I identified myself as someone who had both Grapheme Colour and Spatial Sequence Synaesthesia – a neurological phenomenon where a person perceives words, letters, shapes, and numbers in colour and sometimes in taste and smell.”
Applying this unique ability to the London Underground, Glyn has produced Changing Stations – including Abode (above) based on the sound and vision of the Northern Line.
“Each line I travelled on had contrasting atmospheres, a certain type of commuter and an overall feel,” he says. “Different speeds, sounds and smells – but more importantly, a different colour! I wrote 11 pieces for piano, assigning the key signature in my mind to the colour of the tube lines.”
London commuters who can be heard throughout the record
So it is that the District Line, green on the iconic tube map created by Harry Beck, is in F# minor – a gloomy key according to Glyn, signifying that it is full of delays and lethargic thoughts.
To top it off, Glyn added voices from London commuters. “I aimed to bind the characteristics and emotions with the thoughts, feelings and descriptions of the Underground by London commuters who can be heard throughout the record.”