Devon train journeys depicted in music downloads

The Teign estuary The train from Exeter to Newton Abbott travels along the coast

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Passengers on two of Devon's most picturesque train lines are now able to while-away their journeys by listening to specially created musical soundtracks.

One of the free music downloads was inspired by the rail trip from Exeter to Newton Abbot, which hugs the Exe Estuary and South Devon coast.

The other is based on a journey along the Tarka line, which follows the River Taw in north Devon.

The lyrics for the "Sonic Journeys" were composed by Devon spoken word artist Earle Fontainelle with Sam Shackleton producing the music.

Mr Fontainelle, who lives near Chagford on Dartmoor, said he and Mr Shackleton had spent a day taking the two train journeys, recording the ambient sound and getting ideas.

He said: "The day we went out Devon was covered in snow, so the specific mood of the pieces is probably influenced by that."

The busy Exeter to Newton Abbot line is one of the main routes into the South West, while the Tarka line travels through England's only UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

Tarka Line Mr Fontainelle said he found the north Devon journey "provocative"

"I found the northern trip much more provocative because it goes through very unpretentious farming countryside.

"It's very quiet, there are enclosing hills with a lot going on within them."

Mr Fontainelle, who plays in the Amsterdam-based Cajun "death country" band Earl Fontainelle and the Pearl of Great Price, said it had been interesting mixing the music to be listened-to through headphones rather than a sound system.

"People are probably more likely to listen to the words in their headphones," he said.

He predicted that, while he does not own a mobile phone himself, advances in mobile technology mean that soundtracks linked to a specific journey or place could become more common.

"In the near future places will broadcast their own soundtrack, for example a 'Welcome to Chagford' soundtrack, when you arrive in Chagford."

The Sonic Journeys project was commissioned by the Dartington Hall Trust and Beaford Arts in North Devon, along with SoundUK and the Arts Council.

The purpose was to allow passengers to experience the train journey in a new way by watching the landscape unfold at the same time as listening to the soundtrack.

The free downloads are available until 31 August.

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