Monday, May 27, 2013

Deadmau5 Pushes Us Through the Wall

Music has historically played a role in lightening the emotional burden of work, and as my CrossFit WOD crew becomes more established, I am increasingly aware of the inspirational role that music plays in inspiring people through moments of frustration or intimidation. It’s not too uncommon for an athlete to report that music “got them through” a workout. I have certainly seen and felt the difference in energy when the music is “not right.” Because I am an album listener, however, I have had to rethink how I present music during our training sessions. For any album to keep attention as a listening experience, it has to have some variety, which often equates into changes in energy that are simply not appropriate for the intensity of a CrossFit workout.

I found, however, that Deadmau5’s 4X4=12 is a fantastic album to train to both for me and the rest of the WOD crew. A couple of years ago, I gave the album a somewhat ambivalent review because, although I thought it was an excellent dance album, its steady-state dance tempos and hour-plus length made for a somewhat numbing listening experience. Contrary to this previous opinion, within the venue of the garage box it has emerged as a favorite.

A City In Florida by deadmau5 on Grooveshark

So with Deadmau5 on my radar, I decided, for the good of the crew, to expand my collection of his work. I picked up >Album Title Goes Here<, simply because it was the only album that Best Buy had on the racks. I enthusiastically brought it home for the evening WOD, but both the athletes that trained that evening and I were a little surprised. The album exhibited moments of jagged intensity similar to 4X4=12, but it also seemed to readily veer into dreamy, pulsing electro pop. After the workout, we all agreed that the album wasn’t entirely inappropriate for training, but it certainly seemed more varied than its predecessor.

I’ve now had >Album Title Goes Here< in regular rotation for over a month now, and although it may not work quite as well overall as 4X4=12 during a WOD (although it does work), it is a far superior listening experience. The variances in feel and intensity address the issue that I had with 4X4=12, but it preserves the deep atmospheres and details that make its predecessor so interesting in the short-term. In fact, with Daft Punk veering dangerously close to nostalgic appropriation with their most recent release, it may be one of the best electronic albums I put in rotation this year.

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