Sonorama (2015) is a new audio work by composer and artist Claudia Molitor for the otherwise silent view of the train journey between London St Pancras and Margate. Inspired by trains, journeying and the disconnect between looking at the passing landscape and hearing only the interior sounds of the carriage this work fills the gap between the visual and sonic realities of train travel.

Imagining the journey as the 'Score', this collection of compositions, interviews, readings and archive material respond to the social history of the route, covering topics as diverse as visio-centricity, Roman history and hop-picking - all relating to a different point or area between London St Pancras and Margate -informed through a collaboration with historian David Hendy and the British Library.

The work lasts the duration of the whole route, yet is equally designed to be dipped into for part of the route, or you may prefer to browse by content. Once listening to a track, the screen will go dark, and the App will continue playing the work unless you return to the menu. The ‘text’ button will display information about each track whilst it is being played.

The Sketch of the Score for Sonorama, a graphic score of the reading of the journey, will be exhibited at Turner Contemporary between 20 June and 13 September 2015.

The publication for Sonorama with extended interviews and a print of the entire score is available from Uniformbooks.

Sonorama is curated and produced by Electra in partnership with Turner Contemporary and the British Library. With funding and support from Arts Council England, Kent County Council Arts Investment Fund, University of Kent, Southeastern, Hornby.

iPhone App design by Strangeloop Limited


SECTION ONE (St Pancras to Ebbsfleet)

All Aboard for Margate
Recording from the British Library archive, 1905, sung by Florrie Forde.

Tunnel Waltz
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor including a field recording by
by Jay-Dea Lopez.

Night on London's River
Recording from BBC sound archive, 1933, spoken by Gerald Cock.

Thames Suite
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor including a field recording by Peter Toll.

Reading 1 (railway)
With quotes from

Charles Dickens, Household Words, 1851. Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, Edgelands: Journeys into England's True Wilderness, Copyright ©2012 the authors.

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, translated by Jeffrey T. Schnapp, in J.T Schnapp(ed.) Speed Limits, Copyright ©2009 the author.

Wolfgang Schivelbusch, The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century, Copyright ©1986 the author.

L.M. Evans, Navvies and Their Needs, 1878.

Read by Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Tim Meacham, Conal McStravick, Ain Bailey, Irene Revell, Maria Chavez.

 

SECTION TWO (Ebbsfleet to Ashford)

The Crane: Quayside Dreaming
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor including a field recording by Lawrence Shove.

Reading 2 (journeying)
With quotes from

Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Copyright ©2006 Canongate Books.

Tim Ingold, Lines: A Brief History, Copyright ©2007 Routledge, reproduced by permission of Taylor & Francis Books UK.

Rainer Maria Rilke, in a letter to a friend, 1923.

Read by Amber Priestley, Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Irene Revell, Maria Chavez.

Pylon Murmurings
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor.

Evan Parker and Graham McKenzie in conversation
Evan Parker in conversation with Graham McKenzie at the Turner Contemporary Gallery

 

SECTION THREE (Ashford to Canterbury)

Interlude 1
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor.

Subterranean Histories
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor including a field recording by by Nigel Tucker.

Reading 3 (hop picking)
With quotes from

John Christopher and Simon Jeffs(eds.), Bradshaw's Guide: Vol.4: South Eastern Railway: London, Chatham & Dover, Copyright ©2014 Amberley, reproduced by permission of Amberley Publishing.

George Orwell in P. Davidson (ed.), The Orwell Diaries, Copyright ©2009 Penguin.

Recordings of 'Opping Holiday' BBC interview with hop pickers in 1934, Nelson Ridley 'The Hop Picking Tragedy' (Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger collection), Ray Driscoll 'Hopping down in Kent' (Gwilym Davies collection).

Read by Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Conal McStravick, Amber Priestley.

Woodland Variations, no.14
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor including a field recording by Richard Margoschis and Phill Riddett.

Interlude 2
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor.

 

SECTION FOUR (Canterbury to Ramsgate)

Stour-Rhine
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor.

Reading 4 (looking & listening)
With quotes from

Jean-Luc Nancy, Listening, Copyright ©2007 Fordham University Press.

Steven Connor, 'Edison's Teeth: Touching Hearing' in V. Erlmann (ed.) Hearing Cultures: Essays on So.und, Listening and Modernity, Copyright ©2004 Berg Publishers, used by permission of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, Copyright ©2008 Random House Publishing. Read by Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Tim Meacham, Ain Bailey, Conal McStravick.

Bird Song
Composed and recorded by Claudia Molitor including field recordings by Jay-Dea Lopez and Phil Riddett.

Charlotte Higgins reflections on Roman Kent
Conversation with Charlotte Higgins at Richborough Roman Fort.

 

SECTION FIVE (Ramsgate to Margate)

DIE MUSCHEL VON MARGATE
Music by Kurt Weill, Text by Felix Gasbarra.

Published by European American Music Corporation.

Recording by Angelina Reaux with Robert Kapilow.

Used by permission of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc.

In celebration of immigration
"Immigration RSVP", a poem by, and read by, Lemn Sissay. Music composed by Claudia Molitor. Performed by Jan Hendrickse (flutes).


St. Pancras to Ebbsfleet

All Aboard for Margate    2:08 Text

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All Aboard for Margate

Archive recording of a popular music hall song sung by music hall star Florrie Forde in 1905.

Tunnel Waltz    4:20 Text

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Tunnel Waltz

Whilst building the first tunnel under the Thames Brunel wrote: “Works have been uneasy during the night… ground very tender… very threatening… things had a terrific appearance this morning… the effluvia was so offensive that some [workers] were sick on the stage…”. For the opening in 1843 there was a banquet in the tunnel accompanied by a specially commissioned waltz. Between St Pancras and Margate there are about 16 miles of tunnels.

Night on London's River    4:27 Text

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Night on London's River

BBC sound archive recording from 25 Oct 1933. Description by Gerald Cock of his travel along the river Thames (Extract).

Thames Suite    3:40 Text

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Thames Suite

“My bias … tends towards the more cynical view ascribed to William Burroughs by Jack Kerouac. ‘When you start separating the people from their rivers what have you got? Bureaucracy!’… the Thames: generator of life, origin of the city, a passage between the eternal verities of deep England and the world ocean.”

Reading 1 (railway)    5:38 Text

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Reading 1 (railway)

With quotes from Charles Dickens, Paul Farley and Michael Symmons, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Wolfgang Schivelbusch and L.M. Evans (Iain Sinclair)

Ebbsfleet to Ashford

The Crane: Quayside Dreaming    4:19 Text

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The Crane: Quayside Dreaming

In order to enable huge amounts of goods to feed our growing consumption 100km of river bed was recently dredged to allow large vessels to enter the Thames Estuary. “For [Antonio] Negri we live in a time of the total subsumption of capital, it penetrates every aspect of our lives, including our experience of time. Thus, …, the importance … of daydreaming, of being with friends, of being creative …. a kind of non-productivity in capitalist terms … but … precisely productive …” (Simon O’Sullivan)

Reading (journeying)    5:45 Text

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Reading 2 (journeying)

With quotes from Rebecca Solnit, Tim Ingold, Rainer Maria Rilke

Pylon Murmurings    3:30 Text

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Pylon Murmurings

“The present-day flâneur carries a camera and travels not so much on foot as in a car or on a train.” (Patrick Keiller) And in the case of the route from St Pancras to Ashford this journey is accompanied by hundreds of pylons running along side the trainline and motorway, following the path of the ancient Roman Road from London to the Kent coast.

Evan Parker and Graham McKenzie in Conversation   6:57 Text

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Evan Parker and Graham McKenzie in Conversation

Evan Parker in conversation with Graham McKenzie at the Turner Contemporary Gallery

Ashford to Canterbury

Interlude 1    3:14 Text

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Interlude 1

“Space seems to be either tamer or more inoffensive than time: we’re forever meeting people who have watches, very seldom people who have compasses.” (Georges Perec)

Subterranean Histories    3:02 Text

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Subterranean Histories

“Why in the case of the ear, is there withdrawal and turning inward, a making resonant, but in the case of the eye, there is manifestation and display, a making evident?” (Jean-Luc Nancy)

Reading (hop picking)    5:35 Text

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Reading 3 (hop picking)

With quotes from Bradshaw, George Orwell and recordings from the Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger collection, Gwilym Davies collection, and British Library BBC sound archive.

Woodland Variations, no. 14    3:06 Text

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Woodland Variations, no.14

The last stanza of one of W.H.Auden’s poems reads: "A culture is no better than its woods." We are entangled with our environment more profoundly then we might expect: “Language imitates the sonority of the environment: it is attuned to its music.” (Adreana Cavarero)

Interlude 2    2:53 Text

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Interlude 2

“Every text, story or trip … is a journey made rather than an object found. And although with each journey one may cover the same ground, each is nevertheless an original movement.” (Tim Ingold)

Canterbury to Ramsgate

Stour-Rhine    4:48 Text

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Stour-Rhine

George Bradshaw in his guide-book to railway travel described the Stour landscape as a miniature Rhineland. This might sound slightly out of proportion when gazing at the Stour river that runs along the train line, but then perception and its interpretation is relative. “My body is truly the navel of my world, not in the sense of the viewing point of a central perspective, but as the sole locus of reference, memory, imagination and integration.” (Juhani Pallasmaa)

Reading (looking and listening)    3:58 Text

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Reading 4 (looking & listening)

With quotes from Jean-Luc Nancy, Steven Connor, Georges Perec

Bird Song    4:40 Text

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Bird Song

“… there is no signal without noise… birdsong represents the very principle of meaning amidst noisiness …” (Steven Connor)

Charlotte Higgins Reflections on Roman Kent    5:20 Text

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Charlotte Higgins reflections on Roman Kent

Conversation with Charlotte Higgins at Richborough Roman Fort

Ramsgate to Margate

Muschel von Margate    4:22 Text

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Muschel von Margate

A song by Kurt Weill from the play Konjunktur (Oil Boom) by Leo Lania from 1928 that tells the story of a seaside town destroyed by the oil industry. Live English version sung by Angelina Reaux with Robert Kapilow

Ode to Immigration    4:52 Text

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In Celebration of Immigration

Starting with the wonderful poem ‘Immigration RSVP’ by Lemn Sissay, this piece is based on Salisbury Plain, an English folk tune that has common ancestry with a Burgundian basse dance. Played here on flutes from India, Turkey and the Middle East by Jan Hendrickse.