Our recent project Until We Travel featured some incredible sounds from voyages across the world’s biggest country – Russia’s railway network is, as you might expect, extremely extensive, and there are many ways to reimagine it. Today’s post highlights three fantastic remixes of Russian rail travel.
First up, let’s listen to a sound from the very heart of Russia – a clip from Zima train station, as recorded by Mark Wilden.
Alex Hehir turned to Russian hardware for inspiration for his reimagined Zima sound, as he explains:
“This piece was inspired by the Russian station announcer mixed with the train sounds. These recordings were cut up and used to create all of the rhythms and background textures.
“The synth sounds were almost entirely made from my Russian collection of noise boxes… I enjoyed limiting myself to these only. The track was recorded and edited in Ableton and heavily processed!”
Moving further east, we tune into the motion of a sleeper train moving through open countryside, recorded from a vestibule onboard by Mark Wilden, as part of a trip from Chita to Harbin in China.
This sleeper train field recording was reimagined by Jeff Dungfelder, who writes:
“This piece of music is based on a field recording of the motion of a sleeper train moving through the open countryside in Russia (from Chita to Harbin).
“Staying in my neighbourhood here in New York City and having not traveled anywhere in over a year, all I can do is close my eyes and imagine what it must be like for my senses to feel the motion and hear the sounds of being on a train.
“An emotional journey relying on memory and history, to be able to experience this moving landscape.
“Sights, sounds, feelings and anticipation all coming alive through these rhythms and textures. All aboard the Trans-Manchurian Express.”
Finally, we listen to shunting trains recorded from an overhead footbridge in Ulan-Ude, a field recording captured on the same trip by Mark Wilden.
Ulan-Ude station was reimagined by Anthony Miller, who writes about his own lockdown travel daydreams:
“During the lockdown I was searching YouTube and came across videos of train journeys. The camera was filming from the driver’s cab and the view of the track and landscape was quite mesmerising.
“I wanted to try and write a piece that encapsulated that feeling. I reimagined the piece as a journey through a cold, windswept, barren landscape.
“All sounds, apart from the piano, were created from the original field recording and manipulated using Iris 2.”