Friday, March 09, 2007

45:33 Nike+ Original Run

Nike, in cahoots with iTunes, has been building up a catalog of what they call “sport music.” It's mostly a collection of up-tempo songs picked by Nike sponsored celebrity athletes such as Lance Armstrong, Tom Brady and Vince Carter, as well as iMixes uploaded to iTunes by enthusiastic Nike consumers.

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


WeCastMusic said...

Do you find it funny that the song is titled "45:33" but yet the actual song length is 45:58? Odd.

Anyhow, one day I will get myself up to actually running to this song. Though it will most likely be on a treadmill and not the mean streets of NYC!

E-Speed said...

what an interesting concept.

Phil said...

Have we sunk so far as a culture that we are incapable of deciding what music we wish to listen to while we run? I had to laugh (it sure beat crying)

Faithful Soles said...

I have never tried running with music or a headset. I may have to borrow one of my teenageres ipods and check this out. By the way, I wanted to thank you again for linking to our Blog Database on the main Faithful Soles web site. We now have bloggers from 37 states in the USA and 20 other countries. Keep up the good work in your training and racing.

JustRun said...

Hmmm, interesting. I think I'll stick with my special, well thought out, and highly intricate method of setting the iPod to "Shuffle." :)

Chelly said...

I haven't tried this playlist but some of the other playlists that Nike+ and iTunes have put out have been great. My favorite is the Increase Your Speed 1. I use those songs in my own playlists now. Also I thought the Mixed Terrain was kind of nice and the OK Go one too. I've downloaded the Outdoor Conditioning one but it's been too cold to use it. I think it'll come in handy in the summer. Some of these playlists have led me to discover other music and bands that I wouldn't normally listen to that have a great beat and tempo to run to.

I think they've done an okay job with them overall (well, except the rap ones and the reggae ones and the tribal yoga). It's a good jumping off point.

Bex said...

Interesting concept - I have hesitated to use any of the Nike+ running tunes/playlists b/c I don't know how they would stack up with real runners. So good to read a review from you. Right now, whenever I run with my MP3 player (which is rare), I have a self-made running playlist. But it would be nice to listen to something new.

Ginger Breadman said...

wow- fascinating. I'm particular about my music - I've even been known to organize an hour and a half worth in a specific order according to warm up for a race, or a run itself. I'm curious to listen to this one since it seems to order the songs/music. It's interesting where they came up with the music - they should do it again and survey runners. Thanks for the information - I had no idea . .