Starlings is an album born of two excitements, two moments whose physical place shapes the resonances on it. First, Tundla Station, evening: stepping down from thirty-six hours on a train and walking back into the body of the building, feeling the travel that had been hanging so heavily slip off.
The arches of the place were alive with birds, flicking off the walls and the top of the crowds, delicate bodies who seemed drawn up, in ever more numbers, to the vaulted roof, where they were coming into roost. The host of them were all singing, in a high, pure pitch that was contained and multiplied by the masonry of the station into an incredible noise, loud but not painful. Walking through that station and out again into the night was one of the most exciting aural events of my life. I found out later they were Starlings.
Secondly, the album is very much about moving to London, after looking forward to it for so many years, and just being overwhelmed by things to do and the places to do them in. The East London Line extension had just opened, and I was up and down this railway all the time, and the spaces of this travel were just incredible to me.
The brutalist intervention of the new stations, into what is otherwise a very old railway line, brimming with clichés - the dripping tunnel under the river, the elevated section on Victorian arches - helped to fix my ideas of London's special syncretic character. That character very directly fed into the making of the album, and the kinds of sounds and atmospheres used.
Jacob Burns: London, June 2012