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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sounds of the Underground

An escalator & lift engineer on the London Underground has got a bit of following by re-mixing sounds he's sampled while working on the Tube into dance music. 28 year old Ben Langham carries a digital recorder on the job and captures sounds of escalators, hacksaws, brakes and trains running over tracks.

He said "I liked the idea of having this concept, noises from behind the scenes on the Tube which the general public don't get to listen to."

But are they any good? The BBC played some of his toons to people at a station and and you can see their reaction below:


I listened to Ruislip Rhythms on Ben's site -
Tunnels - and the beginning didn't do that much for me, but after a while it picked up. Whereas the sample from Tunnel Sounds was darker & the engineering sounds worked quite well with the atmospheric mood.


Ben's currently working on a album and on his site, you can listen to the following err.. tracks.

"A long way down
Every single noise in this track is a field recording. It contains the sounds of relays controlling a lift at Earls Court and various trippy noises from deep in the tunnels.

Escalating
The beat is based around the noise of one of the escalators at Moorgate station recorded from underneath and slowed down. There's a hacksaw and an electromagnetic brake in there as well.

Silhouettes
The machine that forms the basis of this track cuts running rails to prepare them for assembly. The rail traverses back and forth against a cutter which removes the steel in shavings which you may hear falling on the ground. Whispering, humming and singing are all provided by the wonderful Plum
."

Not sure if they'll be on my iPod but an interesting concept if you want to take the sounds of the Tube home with you, or dance along to them at a club.


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