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I’m working on a Trans-Siberian Rails and Stations 2019 sound pack for Freesound.org. Currently adding descriptions and meta-data (locations & tags) to the files. I have some three hours of raw material to work trough (excluding a 40 min interview with our train steward, which I wont release unedited). Majority of the clips are 5 min long and they focus on complete work cycles (eg. break check at a station, bathing in a toilet) and ambiences from different locations (eg. restaurant wagon, cabin by night). Majority of the sounds were captured during our 180 hour return trip Vladivostok-Helsinki.

There are a some Trans-Siberian train related clips and a lot of train sounds on Freesound. Martin Sadoux has released a nice collection Russia Trans-Siberian Train in 2018. He has a good recording from the open third class wagons (which I don’t have). The collection I’m prepping will compliment previous releases well. I’m particularly proud of my recording of a break check at a station and I also collected a lot of interesting announcements. I also have some special sounds like the rattling of a samovar (using contact mics).

Miina made an interesting remark about my collection. Finnish explores of the early 20tieth century collected geological samples in hopes of tapping to natural resources and items made by other cultures or groups to develop ethnic narratives. Bringing stuff back home and displaying it for the public was an important gesture in the process of producing cultural capital for the developing Finnish state. Displaying stuff others had made here, illustrated our distance. The act of displaying stuff and material, validated the work of the explorers. Many ethnographic museums got started this way and the contemporary souvenir business echoes this.

My delight over a break-check sound, is a delight over a conquest of a rare resource. Field recordings can be identified as a geologic-like-wealth! Controlled distribution of this material makes it possible for me to harvests cultural capital. Could this process be put to good use? I don’t see hope in returning to esrek-like lisencing models. How could I share the material in a non-exploitative manner? Emphasizing movement to location: Playing the sounds in a Finnish train as the train is moving?

I’ve sometimes explained performances as condensed behavior which is informed by a site: A particular performance is only possible in a particular situation. This idea works better in Finnish: “esiintyminen” means acting, exhibiting or performing and is very close to the word “esiintymä” which means a geological deposit of ore. My condensed behavior on the Trans-Siberian railway trip made it possible to harvest documentations of events, where the train and people of the train performed in interesting ways. I was mining these event using my recorder.

Spotted interesting eurorack projects on the Freesound blog. CTAG Strämpler is a module which connects to the Freesound API and allow users to download sounds directly from the service. BeagleBoom works the same. Really interesting and specific devices.  I’m tempted to make an eurorack module which would only play sounds of particular event. A module dedicated to playing news reels and interview covering a specific public protests or animal? YLE should make something similar for their archive.

Saw Earth (2019) Nikolaus Geyrhalter at DocPoint festival. It was a really dull film which failed in its attempt to hide the fetishization of mining equipment and wastelands. There is nothing wrong in exploring toxicities. The directors attempt to disguise their interest into a moralistic sermon was perverse.

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