I currently live in Paris and although the metro here sounds cool (old school squeaky trains = cool in my books) it is generally pretty dirty, overcrowded and desperately in need of an upgrade. Whenever I have to take the metro here, it’s rarely a journey that I look forward to. The subway system in Bangkok, however, was quite the opposite. Perhaps we experience things differently as a foreigner, but I used to love taking the subway in Bangkok. There always seemed to be a vibe both in the stations and in the trains themselves. A big part of my appreciation comes from the richness of the soundscapes I experienced.
There was often music playing in the ticket hall and along the walkways from the ticket hall to the platform, either coming from P.A. system, from shops or sometimes from local buskers. When I listen to the recordings I took in the Bangkok subway system, I immediately think modern. All the user interface sounds that emit from ticket machines or barriers were not over-bearing, all employing modern sound design. Trains were relatively quiet, both in their approach to a platform and once inside. And even the general acoustics of the open spaces seemed to generate a fairly soft, calm atmosphere. Of course, these are my own personal experiences gained over only a week or so. I’m sure it’s not all that rosy, but I’d like to feature these two soundscape recordings to demonstrate what I experienced.