08 October 2007

music for bicycling, 2

before any stalwarts begin their own brand of electroacoustic-pedal-stimulation experimentation, a general note or two:

the foley operator is not your friend
Stereo sound effects are bad. Very bad. Tried some popular tracks that the kids love (some Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott singles, to be precise), one of which has a stereo panned siren and other automobile sounds - to paraphrase the not-so-poetic Peter Burns, bad and dangerous to know. Gripping sound-effect laden portraits of street life are not the only foible in cycling's sonic fables, oh no. Radio plays, such as those put on by the BBC (Radio 4 podcasts from afar, for example) are fine until they go live on the scene. Then it's distracting, bordering on destructing. There's also an otherwise cyclable track by Buffalo Daughter about turkeys (oh, that inscrutable Japanglish translation nuttiness! sigh) that includes the sound of a passing semi-hauler. Bad, and still dangerous (unlike the career of the aforementioned Peter Burns).
Not all stereo is bad. Paul to one side, John to the other - that's fine. It's the sweeping Lucasfilms-esque shenanigans that are to be avoided in the poo-poo'ed pastime of musical cycling. Wait, musical cycling: Is that where riders hope from seat to seat until the music stops? Horrendous!

positively pannekaker
with all these not-to's, a little plus: Swedish Death Metal will not fail. Specifically, the Gothenberg sound. The secret? Two things: palm-muting and unison basslines. The chug-chug-chugga guitar parts have a sort of visceral appeal. Coupled with the chugging is the unison basslines, which are also usually recorded with a bit more high-end bite than, say, a jazz outing, hence nothing is lost in the low-end. And the screaming. People screaming is always a good motivator. 50,000 P.E. teachers can't be wrong, can they? And the Swedes? They do screaming right. That Tomas Lindberg feller. That feller from Refused. Great screaming, incessant screaming. Trust in the Bjorler Bros: At The Gates & The Haunted records - cycling gems! Well, not the most recent Haunted recording - that one kind of wallows/whimpers/whines. Slaughter Of The Soul and The Haunted Made Me Do It could've put Floyd Landis in the victory jersey without a drop of testojuice.

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