Simon’s Top 5 Tunes for Long Bus Journeys

Unless you are rich and willing to suffer Michael Hodson’s vengeful fury by flying short-haul everywhere, most of us travellers will have to go through the very modern hell of extended bus trips from time to time. Like the adaptable human beings we are, we all develop our own methods of coping.

For me, it’s a large pot of Pringles, a bottle of Coke and pre-95 dance music.

Here are my top five tracks.

Autobahn by Kraftwerk Kometenmelodie 2, Kraftwerk—Autobahn

It’s on an album called Autobahn.

Leftism by Leftfield Storm 3000, Leftfield—Leftism

Melt is by far my favourite Leftism track, but it’s much more suited to daydreaming in fields than surviving torturous bus journeys.

This one is a little more euphoric and mixes well with the stimulants required to keep you awake so that your bag doesn’t get nicked.

And by stimulants I mean Caffeine. Obviously.

Brown Album by Orbital LUSH 3-1, Orbital—Brown Album

I could listen to the high-pitched doo-weee-ooohs forever. The drummer in me loves the way they play with the rhythms and their mildly hypnotic effect helps distract me from all of the potholes.

Leftism by Leftfield Passenger, Deftones, White Pony

Not only is the name entirely appropriate but it’s full of positive forward-looking travel advice like “Who cares what’s behind?” and “Drive faster.”

(Most bus drivers in South America don’t really need that last one.)

Leftism by Leftfield Heliosphan, Aphex Twin—Selected Ambient Works 85-92

This one conjures up images of flying in to futuristic space ports.

Granted, the Bangkok bus terminal isn’t quite the same thing but it still adds a certain amount of ‘I’m in an exciting, alien, and possibly dangerous new place’ gravitas.

Recommend Me Some

As you can probably tell by the fact that basically all of these tracks are over TWENTY years old (and you have no idea how much this fact depresses me), I don’t listen to a lot of dance music but I’ve found it to be the most soothing for those long and bumpy road trips that we as travellers are destined to suffer from time to time.

I am therefore very interested in recommendations for other albums along similar lines (I guess ambient? Electronica? I have no idea what the kids are calling it these days). I would like to get my collection up to at least 8 hours.

Ideas in the comments.

Coming soon: Simon’s Top 5 Tunes for Sitting In A Field

Trail Wallet

Your top 5 bus travel tunes in the comments below, please.

This entry was posted by Simon

20 thoughts on Simon’s Top 5 Tunes for Long Bus Journeys

  1. Great choice of songs, Passenger by deftones is a good one. I would highly recommend listening to some songs by Explosions in the Sky – Your Hand in Mine, Six days at the bottom of the Ocean, Only moment we were alone are my personal favorites. They are great for long bus rides; they truly stimulate deep thought and let your mind wander heheh :D
    Cheers from NJ USA!

    -Mike

  2. If it’s pre-95 electronica you’re after then I have to recommend Dimension Intrusion by F.U.S.E (early Richie Hawtin) and Ginger by Speedy J. Both have kept me entertained and relaxed on more long trips than I care to remember. Both are available on bleep.com

    More recent stuff to look at would be Principles by Principal Participant, Our Noise by Herrmann & Kleine, Surfing On Sine Waves by Polygon Window (Aphex Twin again) and, a little more upbeat, Latin by the delightfully named Holy Fuck. Enjoy!

    • Thanks for all the recommendations! Already had a quick listen to Dimension Intrusion and that sounds exactly like my cup of coffee.

      Nice one!

  3. Deftones’ most recent album, Diamond Eyes, is well worth checking out. Lovely big chunky noises, lots of mellow tracks with a lot of groove.

    Also on the heavier side of things, have you ever listened to The Shape of Punk to Come, by Refused? Now that’s a band to believe in. Recently reformed, watched them last weekend. Win.

  4. When travelling in Asia, for some reason I tend to like to listen to Pacifica music (from back home in NZ), which could maybe be described as a cross of reggae, jazz, soul, R&B with a dash of techno and/or funk. :-) eg Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Black Seeds… and my new favourite, Babysitter’s circus (in which I got to feature in their latest video!)

    The other thing I like to listen to when stuck on a bus is language podcasts for the country that I’m in (if I can find them). I have them for Indonesia, Thai and Lao. It’s a good time to get some practice in. The buses are usually noisy enough that I can practice out loud yet no one can hear me!

  5. Well, it’s not current either, but I HIGHLY recommend Boards of Canada “Music Has The Right To Children.” One of the best albums ever. Also, consider any early Tortoise – “Millions Now Living…” is one of Kent and I’s favorites. Lastly, check out Trans Am “Surrender To The Night.”

    I think Bon Iver, Bon Iver is also great music for a journey (although you probably already know that).

  6. I use the same track list for long journeys as I do when I go running. Nice list! Songs have to be upbeat. Usually I know most of the words, although I’ve recently acquired some Spanish songs too as extra exposure to the language while I travel in South America. Never let anyone else prepare your music. My sister was running a marathon and discovered her boyfriend had added the The Who song ‘I can see for miles’ to her track list. The drony bit where they keep singing ‘miles and miles and miles and miles…’ is the least motivational lyric I can imagine!

    • I guess that depends. Led Zep IV is still one of my all time favourites, along with any number of Dylan albums from that time and, of course, Pink Floyd.

  7. I’d recommend bringing a kindle, they have a huge battery life and take up nearly no space plus they can hold thousands of books and cause little to no eye strain. Though typically I just go to sleep on bus or train rides.

  8. It can be kind of quiet, but especially for overnight bus trips, I enjoy Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports. 1/1 and 2/2 are the best tracks, as the other two have some weird synthesized vocals, but it’s worth it for the other two. I also use this to focus when working.

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