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On the Waterloo and City Line

The Waterloo and City Line is an unusual one – a line with only two stations, connecting the city hubs of Waterloo and Bank stations. Three sound artists tackled our recording of a journey on the line.

City version:

First up is Rob Smith, from the group Meet On Titan:

“When creating the piece I tried to use as little instrumentation as possible, limiting the project to two synths and creating all percussive elements by honing in on the moaning and clattering of the tube.

“I commute regularly though London and always feel like I’m passing through Thea Von Harbou’s Metropolis, the pounding mid-section is a reflection of this. “The machines of Metropolis roared; they wanted to be fed.””

Memory version by Rob Smith:

Next is Trixie Delight’s dreamy interpretation:

“The field recording of the Waterloo and City train journey reminded me of the peculiar state of half sleep commuters often find themselves in.

“They are in a stuffy, slightly too warm train that is rocking and swaying. They are worn from work, have their eyes closed, slipping in and out of a light sleep – but are subconsciously listening to the familiar noises of the tracks, until the sound of the train pulling into the station brings them back to life just in time to alight.

“I tried to describe this dreamlike condition with sound. The little clicks and glitches are the commuters’ sleepy thoughts, while the noise of the train is both present as a back ground drone and a wavelike stab into the subconscious, updating on the current location and gently rocking back and forth in echo.

“I am an experimental musician and mostly work with field recordings. I like to evoke moods with manipulated sounds. My tools are simple: I use audacity to cut, reverse, glitch, pitch and stretch sounds. I then arrange the created snippets in an order that tells a story.”

Memory version by Trixie Delight:

And finally, a personal interpretation by Mark Williamson:

“I worked for a while in Waterloo and took the Waterloo and City line to and from work each day. As I was travelling away from the City in the morning and towards it in the evening the trains were usually fairly deserted.

“I wanted to show, then, not the rhythmic, crowded chaos most users associated with the Waterloo and City, but the calm at the centre of the storm that it was in regards to my commute.

“With that is mind I simply found a nicely pitched screech of wheel on rail and worked with that and some other aspects from the original recording to create this piece.”

Memory version by Mark Williamson: