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Magnetic levitation in Shanghai

The maglev train in Shanghai is the fastest commercial electric train in the world, with a cruising speed of 431 km/h, with a 30km journey completed in 7 minutes and 20 seconds. In this field recording by Mark Wilden, we’re on board this super-sleek, super-fast transportation.

City version:

There’s not much going on in the original maglev field recording, which is primarily a smooth drone punctuated by a light scattering of conversation poking through, as the train quietly gets on with its job.

The reimagined version, then, is based on what’s going on outside the train as it blasts through the suburban spaces towards the airport at 300kmh.

The original field recording sits panned hard left and right, while the central space is taken up by some kinetic 125bpm beats to symbolise the rapidity of the journey, and tape-effected synth lines to take up the ‘magnetic’ side of the MagLev’s name – magnetic pulses transformed into sound.

Memory version:

As an added bonus, here’s a short video clip of the reimagined piece: