Delhi Metro Electromagnetic Soundscape

Every now and then something unusual is sent to me or brought to my attention. And just like London Buses and services to Hainault via Newbury Park, two have come along in short succession.

Sound and hearing is an incredibly evocative experience and often comes from unusual places like transit systems. For me the sound of any 70’s era Brush Traction motor brings back memories of tube travel as a child and there’s a particularly distinctive wallow that the tunnels make at Bank on the Central Line that reminds me of long night shifts when I moved to London.

Some folk have decided to go deeper, and explore the sounds we never notice, or those we as humans can’t normally hear at all. In the same week where I showcased Robin The Fog’s “Embankment” – a rich soundscape made from audio recordings on the Bakerloo Line, I have been sent something equally spooky.

Poulomi Desai got in touch and sent me this VLF (Very Low Frequency) Electromagnetic recording of a trip on the Delhi Metro.

Poulomi says,

“The first ever Very Low Frequency (VLF) electromagnetic / kinetic landscape recordings of the Delhi Metro system in India – exploring the hidden sounds. Probably the first VLF recording made of any part of the Indian transport system and by a South Asian woman. These unheard sounds are produced electromagnetically by trains and associated equipment. The recordings are Very Low Frequency (VLF) electromagnetic radio, a frequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum. The recordings expose a sound world that is experienced everyday but never heard by the passengers of the expansive Delhi Metro network.”

She goes onto say,

“I used a home-made VLF receiver with a zoom recorder [to record the sounds]”

The homemade setup then translates the naturally occurring electromagnetic radiation into an audible alien like soundscape.

The work is part of the “Vermillion Sands” project in India, supported by a grant from the British Council and Arts Council England. Listen to and see the other VLF recordings on the Usurp You Tube channel, including similar projects on the London Underground and Tyne & Wear Metro. If you want to learn more about Poulomi’s work then head to:

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