Montreal Subway Soundwalk

Interesting soundwalk by Dan Tapper at North American Sound Diaries

Sherbrooke to Jean-Drapeau station, Montreal – Quebec

My second post for North American Sound Diaries week is a soundwalk recorded in Montreal, travelling on the subway between Sherbrooke and Jean-Drapeau stations.

The recording begins with my walk to the subway, the sound of my footsteps, the trickling of a water feature as I walk through a small park. As I enter the subway (4.02) you can hear the audible change in pressure as I am blasted by a wave of warm air. The subway reveals new sounds: an accordion player whose music reverberates through the tunnels, the sound of conversation between passengers, as well as the very distinctive train noises. The amplified audio idents (8.55) sound reminiscent of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the trains are transported by wheels instead of electrified tracks.

Over the course of the recording you hear a number of different sound spaces within the Montreal subway system: the quiet meditative sounds of the outdoors, a dynamic interior world of tonality from buskers and conversation to the roar of the trains. You can hear small snatches of conversation giving little insights in the day-to-day lives of the passengers. The piece finishes on words of parting encouragement between two swimmers who had only recently met on transit. Both were competing in the world masters championships, held in the Olympic Park (20.30).