All Aboard the 2:30 Express

I grew up in a town with no trains. I don’t know why I found it odd  at the time – I’m sure plenty of towns, cities, and states in the world  have no trains. In my town we had no trains. In my state we had no  trains. Actually there was the odd train. I don’t know what they  carried, but there were no passenger trains. So I found trains quite  fascinating.

When I was 18 I moved out of home to a state that was  full of trains. I found it very interesting, and was always happy to  catch the train somewhere. Which is just as well, because I had no car.

I’ve  always found train-travel interesting. Something about the gentle  rocking, the light (and sometimes heavy) clack clacking, while gazing  out the window seeing the world blur by. Something about being able to  travel above and under the footpaths and roads. Something about going in  a direct line to where you want to go. In Europe I love how you can  catch a train and be in another country in an hour or two. I love the  sound of the beeps in those modern stations. Where announcements mention  first class travel. Where there is set seating. Where it feels like  you’re at an airport, and maybe you even are at an airport.

And  following on with my constant obsession with the stars, with feeling  like I belong more up there than down here, with feeling like home is  out there and not here… I have often thought of space train travel.

So  a few months ago I went to one of my local train stations to get some  photos of the old diesel passenger trains that seem like they’re from  another timeline. In this semi-rural area we only have these beat up old  trains running on a single track.

I combined some of these photos with some Milky Way shots to get these space train images.

In the process I had already started writing some new songs for an  upcoming album (for later this year!). One of the songs I actually wrote  a year or so ago, but it wasn’t sitting right so it remained  unreleased. It was a song about a train. Train travel. Through the  night. To new places. The song hadn’t quite landed. But when I created  these space train images, it all came to me. The song was about space  travel. By train 🙂

Have you ever been on a train by yourself going to other countries?  It seems so far-fetched to me in this vast country so isolated from the  rest of the world. When I was young and free, and when international  travel was possible, I took a trip to Europe. I did a few summer courses  with some of the most acclaimed flute players in the world. And I took a  few train rides on high speed trains. This, for someone who grew up  without trains and found them fascinating and exotic, was very exciting.  I loved the feeling of travelling solo late through the night. One  minute in Germany (or was it Belgium? I’ve completely forgotten), the  next in Amsterdam.

On that particular trip, I remember arriving  very late at night. It must’ve been close to midnight. I got off at the  station and texted my friend that I’d arrived. She would meet me the  next day. But first I had to find some accommodation. There’s something  about solo travellers who are magnetised to each other, and I found  myself with two guys walking down the street with nowhere to stay. One  left early to stay in a real hotel. He said he was too old for staying  in hostels. The other stayed close as we looked for a hostel at a  reasonable price.

He was very protective, and warded off the  potential scammers throwing leaflets at us to stay at their hostels. We  went from place to place and they were all booked out. Finally we found  one and the receptionist asked if we needed one bed or two. The guy said  two. Oh thank you! I thought. I can trust him. We got  into a shared room to claim our bunk beds, then head out for a late  night dinner and a smoke. I’m pretty sure he paid for everything. He was  basically my guardian angel.

In the morning we got up and walked  around to explore the city. I nearly karate chopped him when we were  back to back looking at street names figuring out where to go. He  accidentally bumped into me and I spun around so fast I was ready to  knock him out. It was kind of funny and we laughed it off. But as a solo  female traveller with a rather expensive flute and piccolo in my  backpack that I even slept with at night for safe keeping, I was  particularly alert.

Anyway, we spent some time drinking beer until  my old school friend rocked up. Once he knew I was taken care of, he  caught the train to his next destination. What a sweetheart.

So  when I think of train travel, I often think of late night  gazing-out-the-window, seeing the lights of the towns and cities fly by,  hearing the train tracks, the gentle rocking, the freedom of no set  plans, and that sense of peace that comes with the solitude of late  night travelling.

And with this ongoing feeling like I belong more  in the stars than on Earth, I really wanted to capture a sense of late  night solo travel through space.

2:30 Express is just that.

It’s  for the wild ones. The weird ones. The ones I may have travelled with,  in parallel solitude through cities and galaxies unknown.

To  top it off, it’s available in Dolby Atmos – an immersive spatial audio  experience where the music wraps around and above you like your  favourite soft blanket. Dolby Atmos is supported in Apple Music, Tidal,  and Amazon Music.

If you have a 5.1 surround sound system, or a  soundbar, then you’ll get a great immersive sound. If, like me, you  don’t have that, then a regular set of headphones plugged in works  perfectly fine.

If you don’t use one of the above streaming  platforms, I’ve got you covered with a 5.1 surround sound vid on  YouTube. Plug in your headphones for the best experience.

You can purchase the single via Bandcamp here.  I give you the stereo and binaural recordings. Binaural is more  immersive than stereo. Try it and let me know what you think 🙂

You can stream everywhere else here, keeping in mind that the Dolby Atmos versions are currently only in Apple, Tidal & Amazon.

The 5.1 surround sound video is on YouTube (video at top of post). Use headphones!

Enjoy 🙂

Anna


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