Marc Bessant

graphic art and design

This Train I Ride / Original Soundtrack by Warren Ellis


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The Australian musician (Dirty Three, Bad Seeds, Grinderman) has scored a number of high-profile films (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Hell or High Water, The Road) and his latest score – ‘This Train I Ride’ is for a documentary film directed by Arno Bitschy.

“…My idea was to record, collate and produce the music on trains, in the spirit of the women in this documentary. Brian was so encouraging with this approach and told me about a train journey he had taken in the 80’s with no fixed destination. Over the next month I sat with my computer, loops, iPhone, Reface DX synthesiser and forgotten ideas and composed the music on the Metro and Eurostar and in various hotels while working on Ghosteen. I would send the pieces to Arno from the train, or wherever I was located, and he edited them into the film.” – Warren Ellis

The film tells the story of women hopping freight trains around America and follows the life-journeys of these women living on the fringe in a rapidly changing country, in their quest for identity, freedom and finding their place in the world.

I really enjoyed watching this film, listening to the score and consequently doing the design. Motion was the most important aspect I wanted to convey in the artwork – motion of the trains, the people, the landscapes and the sense of time passing on your own terms. The film is rich with wonderful imagery of an America we rarely see on out televisions. I was keen the sleeve art should be abstract, and fortunately so was Warren and Arno, so I set about taking screen grabs from the edit – blurry, glitchy, but alive with movement.