Tom Middleton: Shinkansen

You might have been there too: You are in a commuter train, leaving or arriving at a station. The train rolls slowly over the track switches. You look through the window, listening to some music and watch as a parallel train comes into view.
It is a bit faster and proceeds to pass your window. Then it slows down until it travels at exactly your speed.
You can watch the people sitting and standing in the other train. You lost all sense of movement. Then the speed of either train picks up, but you don´t know if its "you" or "them".
While you watch dreamily, the trains are passing more switches and the trains move closer and closer until they are on parallel tracks.
For a moment it appears that your compartments will merge, but then one train picks up speed again and a seemingly endless stream of people and waggons are gliding past you.
Its the closest thing to a waking dream.

The Video to Tom Middleton´s "Shinkansen" catches this parallel trip in a simple, yet chilling way.
It reminds me of the 1934 short film "Le Metro" by french director Georges Franju (Eyes without a face). In this he follows a small girl through her dreamlike voyage through the deserted parisian underground.
We see her wandering through the endless, magically lit empty stations. Escalators begin to run as soon as she nears, doors open for her and she rides train after train with wide-eyed fascination.
Franju then mounts his camera in another train and films the girl in the adjacent train as they travel at the very same speed.
Sadly, I could not find this masterpiece of surreal film online.

But back to Tom Middleton: He is one of the heavy weights of the chill-out, deephouse and electrofunk scene. All through the nineties he and partner Mark Pritchard were recording under different monikers, such as Global Communication, Link & E621, Reload and Jedi Knights (they had to drop that name after George Lucas sued them!). Every project name was a synonym for a different genre and they excelled with everything they did.

In late 2007 Middleton released his first true solo album "Lifetracks". I found it a bit disappointing as some of the sounds and tracks are a bit too bland and wallpaper-ish for my taste.
However, the track "Shinkansen" is one of the highlights and was releases as a single. I was very surprised that the single was even accompanied by a promo-video. A rare thing these days.

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