Home Liner – [a brief commentary]

Home Liner is the latter of three short sketches uploaded to YouTube during the first week of April 2021. The track concludes my theme of Japanese transportation, this time paying homage to a private rail service for commuters called ‘The Home Liner’.

The Home Liner is essentially a private commuter train, which charges a measly additional 300JPY (roughly £2/$3) ontop of the regular destination charge for JR customers. However, that additional price offers the passenger a usually near-empty train carriage, a guaranteed seat, ample leg room, limited stops and the chance to relax during a commute. It’s a tranquil and meditative contrast to the usually busy and uncomfortable carriages provided on the regular JR line.

Today’s track again references the previously mentioned Uehara, Inaizumi and Suzue but also touches on several surprising central European influences.

The opening segment (see fig A. below) repeats multiple times throughout the track and was heavily inspired by the meditative music of French Christian Taizé worship from the 1940s.

[fig. A – introductory bars to Home Liner]

Akin to Taizé music, my track achieves variety by building in texture (as can be seen with the introduction of keys, drums and bass in fig. B) however, I deviate from standard Taizé form by creating continuity through dissonance – in this case, by using a lot of chromatic movement which is easily noticeable in the bass line as well as the backing harmony. Overall, the music, by design, feels irresolute and necessitates a slow sense of movement, much like the slow and peaceful night train I was writing about.

[fig. B – building of textures from bars 5-8]

The majority of the upper line is improvised with the exception of the core melody, which is introduced in fig. C below. This core melody acts as an anchor at the beginning and also during an irresolute transition mid-way through the track, pulling the music on, like a train does its carriage.

[fig. C – introduction of core melody from bars 9 – 12]

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