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Train Remix MP3

At freesound.iua.upf.edu there’s a running tag of text that appears above the free, public-domain, open-source samples of sound uploaded by the site’s many contributors: “Is this sample illegal or abusive? Click here to let us know.” Illegal, likely no; abusive, certainly not. But some of the best material on the Freesound site was most definitely abused, especially the entries in the site’s “Remix! tree” area. Case in point, there’s a file of a train (link), a little over three minutes in length, posted by frequent Freesound contributor RHumphries. As at many field-recording websites, the sound itself gets less text description than does the equipment used to capture it. Humphries on the sound: “Freight train by. sorry, no engine. Good wheel squeaks.” Humphries on the tech behind the sound: “Recorded with a Zaxcom Deva II, Sennheiser MKH 30 & MKH 40 as Mid-Side, decoded to AB stereo.” Well, another Freesound participant, by the name of nicStage, heard some poetry in there, and some fiddling with the original sound yielded a rumbling headphone trip of tubular weirdness, 51 seconds long (link). Or, as nicStage puts it, “swirling machine-like texture created by remixing RHumphries freight train sample. sped the sample up and applied various delays and reverbs.”

By Marc Weidenbaum

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