El Tren Fantasma
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||La Anunciante||Chris Watson||4:00||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Los Mochis||Chris Watson||6:29||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Sierra Tarahumara||Chris Watson||5:23||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||El Divisadero||Chris Watson||5:34||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Crucero la Joya||Chris Watson||4:58||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Chihuahua||Chris Watson||4:34||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Aguascaliente||Chris Watson||3:26||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||Mexico D.F.||Chris Watson||9:14||£0.79||View In iTunes|
||El Tajin; el Dia y la Noche||Chris Watson||10:16||Album Only||View In iTunes|
||Veracruz||Chris Watson||5:44||£0.79||View In iTunes|
Chris Watson's late-2011 disc starts out as the train recording it is, pulling into a location with a rumble and a metallic screech. But with the Spanish and English announcements for "the ghost train," things move into a slightly different arena, a kind of ultimate train journey of the mind. Watson drew on recordings he made for a BBC project on a now discontinued Mexican railway line from the Caribbean to the Pacific to create El Tren Fantasma. With his ear for field recording and collage again at play, the resultant hourlong disc sometimes has the feeling of a retrospective advertisement at work to some unavoidable degree, a tourist impulse that can't be fulfilled. But it's a marvelous portrayal in miniature of the tensions between the "natural" and the "man-made" — thus "Los Mochis" and its bird and dog sounds slightly undercut by a distant rumble and then another approaching train, while "El Tajin"'s insect sounds inevitably call up the feeling of a quiet, still night in a tropical area. Subtlety is the order of the day throughout — a gentle flattening of tone on the horns on "El Divisadero" collapsing into long, distant tones and drones, near silence in moments like "Sierra Tarahumara" and the first half of "Aguascalientes." Throughout, trains recur in various ways, sometimes a quick clip on tracks, other times with a more extreme impact, as with "Chihuahua," where silences are suddenly punctuated by another quick train rush that then slowly fades away, also heard again on the conclusion of "Aguascalientes." The transformation of the train into a rising and falling loop on "El Divisadero" adds a through rhythm not previously heard on the album, a further remarkable transformation in an enticing listen.