Lastly. It needed to occur. Quietus Editors John Doran and Luke Turner have discovered a cultural artefact they’re in equal settlement about. When tQ’s mission is lastly over – hopefully a few years from now – and the highest 100, all time favorite albums this website has coated is tallied, there’s one album that each agree will likely be someplace close to the highest of the checklist: Chris Watson’s El Tren Fantasma.
Watson, a gregarious south Yorkshireman with the unlikely CV of getting completed important work for each Cabaret Voltaire and Sir David Attenborough, is a sound recordist of some nice reputation, and this album is one in every of his most interesting moments. The sound was recorded in 1999, for a Rick Stein-fronted episode of the BBC’s Nice Railway Journeys throughout a 5 week journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from Los Mochis to Veracruz, throughout the FNM – Mexico’s state railway – simply weeks earlier than the road was closed down for good. However Watson spent a very long time eager about the journey – over a decade in reality – earlier than setting to work on the DATS.
Out of the unimaginable quantities of audio – clattering rails, reverberant tunnels, squealing brakes, hissing pistons, plus all the wildlife surrounding the tracks and the phantasmic voice of the station announcer at both finish – Watson blended an album for the ages. El Tren Fantasma is a pleasure to hearken to. It could current itself as musique concrete, however at totally different occasions it seems like techno, industrial and ambient; it might comfortably be filed as a area recording, however at occasions you would swear you have been listening to the audiobook of a novel.
From this advantageous springboard, the pair take pleasure in a protracted ranging chat concerning the radical transformative energy of steam railways, practice journey as psychedelic metaphor, songs about trains, songs that sound like trains, music to hearken to whereas on trains and the way W H Auden invented rap music in 1936… presumably. And the pair additionally reminisce about The Woman Conductor and one psychedelic afternoon spent on a steam practice in Somerset many moons in the past listening to racy poetry about her practice driver husband. What pleasure it was &c.
Due to our producer Alannah Probability, to Lisa Cradduck for the illustration and due to you, pricey reader, for serving to us do what we do.
To hear, you’ll have to subscribe to be a Quietus Low Tradition or Sound & Imaginative and prescient subscriber by way of the Regular checkout under. This podcast is only one of a bunch of perks together with month-to-month playlists of all of the music we’re overlaying on the positioning, a bonus long-form Low Tradition essay and the Natural Intelligence publication deep dive into genres you’ve barely heard of, from Scandinavian Balearic to the Swiss 80s underground. Sound & Imaginative and prescient subscribers additionally get an unique music launch each month, commissioned by us.
Leave a Reply