Thursday, October 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday #6 -- Unconventional Running Music

Some of these tunes remain on my running playlist. Others have gone past, or only see use in different intensity workouts.

Here's the post from January 22, 2014: "Unconventional Running Music"

The post in which I talk about some unconventional running music.

So, I'm not sure how many of you on my friends' list know, but I am a music teacher. I've been a musician since I was about 10 years old. I've been listening to music (obviously) longer than that. When I took up running I brought some weird music with me, and I've found it helps with different types of runs.

From time to time on MFP's forums, I see people posting for ideas on what kinds of music to listen to. I'm always surprised by the amount of death/heavy metal that gets posted in those threads, but to each his own. Without further ado and in no particular order... Some of my less than conventional running music:

1. Bombino -- Adounia (Life)
Bombino is an African Blues act, and "Adounia" is the slow building intro to the album Agadez. I like stuff like this on long runs, I can get lost in the phrasing, focus on my breathing, and really pay attention to what's going on with my form.

2. Ane Brun (ft. Jose Gonzalez) -- Worship
This has a similar slow building feeling, but with a more atmospheric guitar part that holds the rhythm. I also like the message to it, even if the song is a bit dark: we don't spend enough time holding our own lives sacred. Running is one of the times that I prioritize my own health and mental well-being. We all deserve "me time" like that.

3. Martyn Bennett -- Blackbird
Martyn Bennett was a Scottish musician who blended folk and techno music, and his album Grit is an absolute treasure. It features some excellent vocals taken from an LP of a folk singer, and also some lovely strings that transport me (in my mind, not literally :P) from wherever I am when I hear them to a beautiful run by the sea.

4. Nitin Sawhney -- Dead Man
Blues and jazz mixed with world and notes of roots music. I love stuff like this. Simple, repetitive, meditative. Nothing like having this pop up in shuffle at mile 13 of a long run. A good steady beat is important to "digging in" in those miles for me.

5. Memphis Jug Band -- Got a Letter from My Darlin'
Go ahead: try and not run light and easy (and also pretty quick, I guess) when you're listening to something this fun and carefree. It's silly but it's also just downright fun. Music like this makes running play time. There's also a great cover by the California Honey Droppers you can check out on youtube. Highly recommended.

6. "Lazy" Ade Monsbrough -- Hiawatha
This one is also in the light and easy vein. Ade Monsbrough was an Australian jazz musician who played jazz recorder. The instrumentation is really neat, and while this particular cut is really short, it's fun when it pops up in the shuffle and calms me down, turns this back into play. Plus, I mean, Australian Jazz Recorder. You'll win any contest of "I can name the most obscure kind of music" at a cocktail party with your friends.

7. Strawberry Alarm Clock -- Incense and Peppermints
Yep. There's a cowbell.

8. Lead Belly -- Rock Island Line
This has a real driving rhythm and it gets progressively faster. Good for mentally waking yourself up.

9. Sa Ding Ding -- Capricorn
Sa Ding Ding is a Chinese pop star who uses Chinese folk music in her stuff (although I've read some mixed reviews of it, and how authentic said folk music is I can't vouch for). In any event Capricorn has a good build to a powerful section of 8 bar phrases which are great for breathing and intervals. She also adds a descant over them on repeats, and that combined with the rhythm can create a pretty enjoyable experience, running wise.

10. Lou Reed -- The Power of the Heart
Its Lou Reed, its a love song, it has excellent string arranging and just is overall excellent. If you don't know this, check it out on youtube first because it is not traditional rock by any means, but it is really excellent art.

Got anything weird and fun that you think I should add? Comment below or message me, I'd love to talk music.

Friends of mine will note how odd it is to see a list of songs I love, but containing no Peter Gabriel. I'll have to write a post on that another time.

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