12.30 pm: Underneath the Reeperbahn
Just a few yards from the Silbersack playground is my first transport stop of the day – my local S-bahn station at Reeperbahn. Remarkably (at least for me, given what I’m used to), the entire public transport system in Hamburg seems to run on a trust system. There may well be ticket inspectors, but I didn’t see a single one in four days (don’t worry, I had a valid ticket at all times like a responsible citizen!). So you won’t hear ticket barriers beeping or slamming shut, just the free flow of people around the stations – though there are precious few modern stations and everything looks a little worn around the edges, it all feels quite welcoming and friendly, like a second-hand rug with a bit of character to it.
Christian Hagelskjaer From, who lives in Aarhus, Denmark, took on this sound and made it altogether darker, which I found especially interesting given that my experience of the S-bahn was that it was quite a relaxing and pleasant place to be. But then I’m used to the London Underground, which really can be an Dantean nightmare of a subterranean journey!
“I wanted to transform the relatively benign space heard in the original recording into a darker, more dramatic version of itself. Slowing sounds down and using various types of processing revealed voice-like screams and approaching collisions in exaggerated reverberations through dark tunnels, along with a general eeriness. Sounds come and go, like travelers do – but more abruptly and sometimes unexpectedly. What, I wonder, lurks beneath cosy St. Pauli?”