Cor Fuhler sends me to sleep….

January 13, 2008

Well I have continued to run as much as I can… yesterday I went into London for a long overdue visit to Sound323 and as ever came away with more CDs than I have time to listen to, so I didn’t have time for a run, but instead I made sure that instead of taking the escalator on the tube I ran up every set of stairs available. (and yes for those that know Sound323, this included the long set of steps leading up out of the Highgate tube station!) But yes, the midlife crisis continues…!

The interesting part of all this though has been the effect that running has had on the music I’ve listened to as I’ve been trudging along, and perhaps more importantly how the music has affected my running. The first night was a confused mess, as I explained before. Jez riley French’s Field Recordings Vol.21 really needs close listening to get anything out of it, and so listening to it under my puffing and panting, with the headphones contunally falling from my ears wasn’t a very rewarding experience.

The next day though I took along Cor Fuhler’s Slee, a CDR of piano improvisations that I hadn’t listened to at all before setting out, so I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t notice that the first track was entitled Sleep…

The music is a kind of slow, drowsy melodic piano piece, dripping with a lazy jazz vibe, perhaps the perfect music for a gloomy Sunday afternoon when you just feel like dozing off. As much as I quite like the piece, this wasn’t really the sort of music you need when you are trying to spur yourself along on a run. It actually had the effect of slowing me down considerably, what I heard in my ears seemed to somehow control my heart rate, and the amount of energy I had available. Alone with only the music and a very acute consciousness of how my body was performing I was stunned by just how much music seems to effect what I am capable of doing. When the second track started, a brief, jerky electronic cut-up of the piano piece, I sped right up again, the more frenetic nature of the music releasing the spell I seemed to be under before.

The next evening I took along Public Enemy’s A Nation of Millions… and I absolutely flew along…

I might be imagining all of this of course, but it really felt like the music to some degree dictated my speed in a manner that felt out of my control. I’m off out again shortly, with Derek Bailey and John Stevens’ Playing as company, a frenetic yet also very detailed album. Lets see what happens…

Comments (7)

  • Cornelis

    January 14, 2008 at 2:09 am

    well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you…

    Keep up the running!


  • Richard Pinnell

    January 14, 2008 at 3:16 am

    I think in future your CDs need a warning on them…;)

    The Bailey/Stevens was pretty good by the way, but nothing has come close to the Public Enemy disc yet.

  • Jon

    January 15, 2008 at 2:49 am

    I’ve tried to avoid running most of my life (when I was the captain of the fencing team in college, we cut running out of the training and we won back to back national championships), but when I used to run in high school, The Magnificent Seven by The Clash worked amazingly well, I recommend that.

  • Anonymous

    January 22, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Haha. Looks like I am not alone in this!
    I always found that the rhythm and tempo of music had a nasty way of taking over my legs while running.
    Recently I switched to audiobooks while running and everything seems fine for now..

  • Richard Pinnell

    January 22, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Hi Mr/s Anon

    Oddly enough there are hundreds of comedy audiobooks on my iPod but for some reason I can’t see me running along to them.

    I’ve not ran for several days here as the fields I usually trudge around are all under floodwaters, but I’ve been managing a very fast walk every night, with Public Enemy and The Fall’s “techno” album Free Range as the favoured soundtracks of late.

  • Alastair

    January 22, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Don’t use the floods as an excuse! If you were *really* committed you’d pound the pavements.


  • Kyrre Laastad

    March 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve found that PJ Harvey’s “To Bring You My Love” is great for running. It sort of trudges along and never relaxes completely. I’ve had some really good experiences with the song “Working for the Man”. It has the perfect tempo for my jogging.

    But yeah, mostly I find that pop music is the way to go. Nothing overly agressive either.

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