Zia Hassan

Sounds Of The Metro

“I guess we have to stop talking now.”

These are the only words on an album I made called Lines, along with my friend Scott Colman.

A few days before we made this recording, we were going to a concert on the metro. After some conversation, we stopped talking and sat in silence for a few moments.

During those moments, I unexpectedly got absorbed in the sounds that I was hearing: the hum of the doors opening and closing, the soft clank of the machinery on the train, the gentle voice on the speaker telling us what the next stop would be.

Scott was having the same experience sitting next to me, and at some point we turned to each other and realized that we needed to make a recording of the sounds using a high quality battery powered microphone.

So we did, and I later overlaid ambient guitar sounds and synths on top of it to make our album called Lines.

I had been into albums like these at the time, which buck convention. One of them was simply some recordings of a pool hall, with many of the mid frequencies stripped away. The result was delightful, at least to me. Most people I played it for didn’t understand it.

What these albums are, both in creating them and listening to them, is simply an act of awareness. These are the sounds that fade into the background of our daily experience. When we bring them to the forefront, the result can be magical.