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Trams and ferries: travelling in Lisbon

Lisbon is a stunning city – and some of its transportation is among the most iconic in Europe, most notably its famous tram system. On our sonic tour of Lisbon, our first stop is aboard the tram network, as recorded first by Luís Antero, who writes:

“This is a trip on the famous and old tram 28, in Lisbon, between Largo da Graça and Estrela, mirroring the acoustic dynamics of this means of transport and the city itself.”

City version: 

Richard Gadd’s reimagined sound takes an unusual starting point as its inspiration:

“I was attracted to the rhythmic elements of the field recording and the sound of the leather hanging strap.

“As we cannot travel at present, I wanted to create something that was an act of imaginary travel, a dream constructed from memories of journeys. In those journeys there were experiences of sensory overload, culture shock, deep conversations with strangers, anxious waiting for pa announcements, hearing ambient sounds while in that liminal state between sleep and wakefulness. And at the end of every journey there is a new beginning.”

Memory version:

Staying aboard the trams, we tune into Marcel Gnauk’s field recording of the trams passing by.

City version: 

This recording was reimagined by Rafael Diogo, who writes of his piece:

“Nostalgia is a visceral urban soundscape of Lisbon in the near future. The sounds and vocal manifestos were inspired in the poems of the great Fernando Pessoa and tend to reflect a society that tends to neglect nature in order for capitalism culture.

“The soundscape itself can raise emotions such as loneliness, anxiety and depression which naturally creates a quality of life disorder in the future.

“The tonal qualities of the original recording offer me so many different pitches and textures that become a limitless sound source on the development of my piece.”

Memory version:

Our third and final stop is aboard the Cais do Sodre ferry – an altogether different Lisbon soundscape, as captured by Marcel Gnauk:

City version: 

Andy Lyon created the composition “Embarcation” based on this recording:

“The ferry in the recording departs from a terminal that is typically used for commuter journeys rather than tourist journeys.

“This got me thinking about how journeys to work have changed drastically in the past year, reflecting on rare moments of calm, daydreams and the more usual urgency in our former routines and whether we really want or need a return to that way of life.”

Memory version: