Recently I was made aware of something altogether different by my friends at WeCastMusic. Nike had commissioned music producer James Murphy of DFA Records to produce a song specifically engineered for runners. The result is "45:33: Nike Original Run" - a forty-five minute track that is supposedly built around the arc of a run of the same duration.
The first minute of the song is the digital equivalent of a turbine engine revving up - the tempo cycles and spins into a whirling intensity. Oddly enough the unique electronica intro transitions into a piano-driven 70's funk beat and stays that way for the next ten minutes. Think piano, 5-piece drum kit and electric bass guitar. The groove is solid and tempo is quick enough to run to, though the "shame on you" vocals aren't very inspiring.
At about 10 minutes into the song the funk gives way to a Chemical Brothers-like drum-n-bass vibe. This section has a happy, uplifting and trance inspiring beat... Perfect to zone out and pound out the miles. Occasionally a hypnotic, nay, quasi-subliminal voice can be heard saying things like "... it was such a long journey" or "... It took hours and days and years..." Gimme a break!
20 minutes into this epic the 70's funk and drum-n-bass merge and horns are introduced to form a compelling and driving rhythm. At this point you're either bored to tears by the repetitive nature of the song or have zoned out and are running faster than you ever have.
But wait, what's this....? After investing 30 minutes into this song it abruptly changes and becomes... a completely different song! Unfortunately it's a mediocre song. The good news is that it's relatively short, fairly benign and the tempo is very fast.
Finally, this Ulysses length jam winds down into a soothing, zen electronic outro. Presumably this celestial bit of audio engineering is for cooling down and stretching. Personally I think it comes too soon and lasts too long.
I can't quite say that 45:33 is my favorite new tune but, I do like it. At times it feels as if it were written by musicians and marketing executives rather than runners but it does stand on it's own as a purpose built song. As a concept it is an excellent idea and I am keen to hear more of the like such as Aesop Rock's forty-five minute epic "All Day."
Coincidentally... WeCastMusic is reviewing this song today as well. Stop by and here what actual music critics they have to say.
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
-Henry David Thoreau