King’s Cross London Undergound

One of the Kings Cross upright pianos sampled with the ambience of the great station!...

The story

Spitfire Audio hosted an incredible event in London this past February which gave me the opportunity to both see the city for the first time, and to meet some of the incredible members of the Pianobook community! After the festivities had ended, a few of us composers went out to dinner where we had the “brilliant” idea to sample an upright piano we had passed in the King’s Cross underground station the day before. The intonation was deplorable, and at least five keys flat-out didn’t work. But close your eyes while playing and you’re practically teleported to the station!

We recorded everything with my phone and tried our best to pause during the announcements and the louder portions of the crowds. Velocity layers are decent but we didn’t manage to record round robins. To make up for that I included a fun bonus feature controlled by CC1!


Special thanks to Christopher Belsey, Jess Henderson, and Thorsten Hoppe for performing, and encouraging this reckless sampling behavior!



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  • Perfect Atmospheric Album Closer

    I love libraries that are very atmospheric and full of noise from the surroundings as it immediately conjures up an environment in your mind - and you certainly get that with this library recorded on the piano in London's King's Cross Station. I like to embrace the noise with these types of libraries, so I made a demo with lots of notes with the pedal down to really let the atmospherics swirl as it is playing. Then it ends with simple big chords played and held so you can hear all the noises from the tube station. Brilliant! The piece only uses sounds from the library. No effects used other some reverb at the beginning and end to so that it feels like you are walking towards and then away from someone playing the piano as you walk by, and then a final touch of mastering. I liked this demo so much that it ended up being the basis for the closing track of my last album, Circuits.

    Stephen Caulfield13 October 2021