Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Workout Wednesday: 144 bpm (I Kill Spypunk)

(What is Workout Wednesdays?)

Day 2 on the program takes me to the elliptical trainer, although I suppose this might work for a gentle jog. The soundtrack to an imaginary espionage thriller, starring yourself as the hero. You know you want to...

144 bpm 1: I Kill Spypunk
1000 Stars – Big Country
Fela’s Riff – Talking Heads
Slide In (remix) – Goldfrapp
Junior Kickstart – The Goat Meat Go! Team
I Kill SpiesAgent Orange
Tell Me Gary – Married Monk
Higher Than The WorldThe Armoury Show
Jigsaw Street – Cactus World News
See No Evil –Television
(cooldown) Da Funk – Daft Punk


I spend a lot of time on selection, sequencing and transitions. When a mix plays to a particular theme, it arises organically. I have all my mp3s in a database by beat-count; when I’m constructing a mix of this kind, I’ll look at all the available tracks within a certain range of tempo (say, between 140 and 150 bpm) and start writing things down and scratching them out; the process always teases out hidden threads—connections between songs that I’d never thought of as complementary until I saw them side-by-side in the arbitrary context of tempo. The track listing is pretty much in place before I ever open my editing software.

Big Country and The Armoury Show both sprang from the breakup of The Skids, and all three bands will be well-represented in these mixes, root, branch, and limb, and I am unapologetic. The entire point of this exercise (in all senses) is to give me a cardiac workout—and by God, this stuff, grandiose though it is, makes my heart beat faster. Blame my faulty wiring. (Cactus World News, while not directly connected to those bands, nonetheless drank of the same well.)

The Talking Heads track is an outtake from Speaking In Tongues, I think. As with so many other cuts on these mixes, I would never have heard it without the fine work of maestro Matthew and his indispensable Fluxblog. Their influence on my listening and the development of my musical taste in recent years cannot be overestimated, and I stand indebted. (“Tell Me Gary” came from Matthew, too, and its warped Bond-movie ambience became the anchor for the overall mood of this mix.)

I’ve written about the Goldfrapp track elsewhere. The tempo is considerably tweaked for this mix, but I think it works in context.

So: spy-killin’ music. Good for practicing your malevolent strut, sure. But why for the workout? Why not something more, y’know... uplifting?

It’s because of the way I conceive of the enterprise. I was talking about this with a friend of mine, and I concluded that if I were a more realized being, I might be able to think of this as a self-improvement project, a push towards actualization. But for now, mired in hate and fueled by spite, I can only see it as a bloody war of attrition—a program of self-annihilation. It’s me vs. me: terminate with extreme prejudice.

Download this mix (45:22, 4.5 megs: YouSendIt link good until 17 January).

[ MP3 expired - so sorry ]

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