Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I went to the gym yesterday after jamming. I have to tell you, as good as Raising Sand,the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album is, it isn't good exercise music. It's too slow and acoustic, and the songs are too short.

I might be able to make it before bedtime tonight, and I hope to make it tomorrow, so I threw some long songs on my Zen Stone, including
  1. Every song over 10 minutes on ABB's The Fillmore Concerts
  2. the 20-minute "(We Workers Do Not Understand) Modern Art" by Camper Van Beethoven
  3. "It's Natural To Be Afraid", a 13-minute track by Explosions In The Sky
  4. Seven minutes of Kraftwerk's "Computer Love"
  5. Tubular Bells
  6. Seventeen minutes of Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray"
And yes, Patrick, I did consider putting in some Metal Machine Music, but I just didn't.

There is a context to music, and I've noticed that CDs containing some of my favorite music don't work on long trips, because it's sequenced for archival reasons, not for flow reasons. And a CD worth of Fidl might be too much solo klezmer fiddle for one sitting. I couldn't imagine it helping me walk or lift weights, either.

So, what are some of your favorite blood-pumping exercise songs?


Patrick said...

Explosions in the Sky gives epic scope to just about any activity. This morning I walked with Imogen Heap, which sort of worked but sort of didn't.
Other suggestions:
* Rammstein
* Future Sound of London's "We Have Explosive", "Far Out Son of Lung and the Ramblings of a Madman", or "My Kingdom"
* Paul Oakenfold. Back in the Napster days I pulled down some 140 minute Oakenfold bootlegs. It's techno that just keeps going and going. That was how I got through Compilers.
* Sacred Harp/Shape Note singing gets me stirred up.
* John Zorn
* Philip Glass, particularly bits of Koyaanisqatsi or Einstein on the Beach.
* Boards of Canada, Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and A Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band with Choir fill the same sorts of space as Explosions in the Sky, GY!BE and ASMZ are a depressing in quantity.
* Uncle Tupelo, maybe.
* Head on over to and get a little world stuck in your music.
* MC Frontalot

I have enough difficulty restraining my loathing for the gym without also having to deal with listening to Metal Machine Music at the same time.

Kenski said...

There are usually two types of music that help me at the gym and they're at different ends of the spectrum:

Really aggressive angry music. Great for lifting weights (it makes me bloody minded)

Dance music. Great for cardio/interval training. Like or loathe the 'genre', it's pretty much tailor-made for repetetive physical activity and if you get the tempo right it makes you feel like you're flying.

Other types of music often help me 'get through' a workout by distraction, but sometimes I wonder whether being distracted is the way to go.