The 30 minute piece titled Espressivo is synchronised with the changing landscape along the Gatwick Express route, from leaving Victoria to arriving at the airport. Dubstep pioneer Benga and indie scamps The Milk have remixed the track to provide alternative soundscapes for the journey as part of a new music service Express Tracks.
It really works as well. The departure from Victoria is swathed in Shepherd’s strings, with gentle percussion emerging as you cross Grosvenor Bridge. There is even a key change as you go through Croydon. With Benga’s remix your arrival into Gatwick is greeted with ferocious drum ‘n’ bass.
Don’t worry, it won’t be blaring out of a PA system like some R’n'B at the back of a bus; it is available as a download when you purchase a Gatwick Express ticket online – yes there’s always a commercial side to these things. Just add it to your MP3 player then press play as you roll out of the station.
Unfortunately Espressivo doesn’t match the passing scenery on the return journey, but there are plans to roll out the Express Tracks initiative to incorporate more pieces and musicians in the future. Nevertheless, it’s good enough as a piece of standalone music regardless of the direction.
Of course, if you’re heading to Gatwick via any route you can soundtrack the journey with anything you desire. We’ve put together a Spotify playlist with the tenuous theme of trains and holidays for inspiration, including Kraftwerk’s Trans Europe Express, The Fall’s Victoria and personal favourite, The Yardbirds’ Train Kept a Rollin’.
Speaking to Londonist about his involvement, Benga admitted the remix was a challenge completely different to his previous remixes which he often ‘bangs out’ in a day:
“For about a week there was just an empty laptop screen and I was just staring and listening to Phillip’s piece, looking like a nut case. But I went to Italy on tour and I just thought, you know what I’m gonna attack it.
I came up with the idea of making the tempo move a bit and ending up where it’s lashing and screaming ‘arriva’l.
I do this journey all the time, cos I work up in London and I live just over there. I’m used to this journey and I know the experience.”
There is only one download per booking, so a group of people will have to share headphones because we would never condone playing it through a speaker – we will leave that for the back of the bus.