James Murphy Crafts an Actual Sound System

Christelle De Castro/Red Bull Music Academy
May 25: James Murphy DJs the DFA 12 Year Anniversary party presented by Red Bull Music Academy at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, NY

James Murphy, musician and founding mastermind behind the now dormant LCD Soundsystem, has designed an actual sound system rig for use in clubs. The musician, who has been working on the new Arcade Fire album for the last few months, will debut his creation at the Manchester International Festival.

According to The Guardian U.K., the custom system will be assembled for three nights in the city’s New Century Hall from July 18-20 as part of a club night called Despacio, which will feature Murphy along with David and Stephen Dewaele of Soulwax/2ManyDJs.

The rig was crafted by Murphy with John Klett, a New York-based sound engineer who helped build the DFA Records studio. The speaker stacks are meant to be arranged non-traditionally, in this case in a circle so that people can fully immerse themselves in the music.

“It's a simple, floor-standing series of giant stacks, comfortably doing full, smooth sound,” Murphy told The Guardian. “It's pretty wide-open, pretty raw.”

The sound system is designed to highlight the sound of vinyl. Fittingly, Murphy and the Dewaele brothers will play vinyl-only DJ sets. Murphy added that he is not interested in high-impact systems because they make music sound “tinny, sad, hyper-aggressive. ... They don't sound beautiful. If you play certain dance music, great. But if you play jazz or AC/DC, they sound terrible… It's a challenge. If I don't have it on vinyl, I can't play it. The idea will be to take chances without forgetting the principal thing about DJing: making a fun time for people.”

Despacio itself is meant to be an “alternative Ibiza party,” according to Murphy. “I've been to Manchester enough to know it's a real place,” he said. “It's not Factory Records and the Smiths bicycling around. I get it. It's a modern city. If you're trying to have an Ibiza party outside that island, it's the city that makes most sense.”

Murphy, who disbanded LCD Soundystem in 2011, is presently not focused on creating new music himself. Besides running DFA Records, the musician said he has been “producing the next Arcade Fire record, some Yeah Yeah Yeahs stuff, building a studio, DJing a lot, drinking coffee. Getting my shit together -- slowly, but unsurely.”

Murphy’s sound system is currently only scheduled to be used in Manchester in July. There is no word on whether the musician will bring the rig to additional venues in the coming months.


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