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!