19 October 2007

music for bicycling, 3

the ongoing rules of music for bicycling: never play your music, no matter how jolly-rocking it may be, loud enough to mask the environment around you, even if the environment includes a woman in a car yelling that your vest isn't very reflective. especially when she turns out to be right: the supposedly illuminating vest worn for that lovable evening commute doesn't reflect shit. piece of crap.

a bicyclists best friend: Melvyn Bragg. No, it's not music, but the BBC Radio 4's In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg is the best bet for safe, boredom-free cycling. well, you have to enjoy topics like antimatter, the divine right of kings and the history of Arabian Nights, but other than that, it's darn good listening.

in addition to the previously mentioned failures of kraftwerk, other experiments with other sequential masters also have come up less than satisfactory: tangerine dream - in their sequencer prime (e.g., Rubycon) - ain't got the goods. Phase based minimal works, such as Steve Reich's Six Marimbas does a bit better. Only problem is that as a 'Classical' recording, it has to be compressed and limited to make it through the mp3/earbud conduit of lo-fidelity listening.

drunken drumming always helps. Van Halen I would seem like good cyclin' folly, but some of it really drags the ol' pedals down. but a coupla' numbers by the brothers of Halen do propel one steadily onward. A higher gear was reached listening to Everybody Wants Some from Women and Children First. Similar gear-minded go-ness was attained listening to Dog Eat Dog by those lovable aussies AC/DC (yes, it's supposed to be a lightning bolt, not a slash. fine). The connection? That beat, man, that groovy, groovy beat. It's the standard clavé pattern (3+3+2) played a bit slow with heavy use of the tommy-toms. For some yet-to-be-known reason, that hunkers the ol' feller down, and the spokes begin to blur...
williwaw has been a big fan of high-gain pick-scrapes and other noises of the now tragicomic character, former guitar hero known as Edward Van Halen. the inaugural williwaw show in the fall of 1994 at mabel's, opening for true heroes lonely trailer (brian still brings the heroics in his new masterful venture with other true hero nicholas rudd) included a take on the Van Halen afterthought Intruder (from Diver Down) with pat hawley and t.j. harrison. that song, one of the great ones.

another clear winner is The Who. Not much of a surprise, though, given the loose and manic stylings of Keith Moon. granted, only the hits have been tried, but everything from Pictures of Lilly to Won't Get Fooled Again works splendidly. As long as the rockin' don't stop the people from knockin' your reflective gear. sigh.

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