By James Sandham
Sometimes it feels like I’ve spent the past few months in a heat-induced frenzy, cajoling my liver into cirrhosis, and generally just spending way too much time on patios as what started off as a celebration of summer gradually metastasized into a lifestyle of excessive unhealthiness, indulgence, and fun. Well enough of that – we finally had some cooler weather last week (and by “cooler” I mean not blisteringly hot, say low 20s), so I did something I haven’t done in months: dusted off the old sneakers and went out for a run.
I probably haven’t done that since the spring. It really reminded me how nice a good jog can be – the cool of the early morning down along the lake, the empty streets – but it also reminded me of something else that’s been missing from my life as of late: my running tunes! There’s a whole section of my music library I haven’t touched since the last time my sneakers were out, and I couldn’t believe I’d let it fall by the wayside. Nothing buoys the motivation like it, and what’s more, a lot of the tracks are by some really great Canadian artists. I pledged I would never let that happen again – and so, with that in mind, here are a few I’ve queued up, ready for the next jog.
Rihanna – “Umbrella” (VND/LSM Remix)
This is an older track but it’s still good and, dare I suggest it, possibly better than the original. It’s certainly better than the original for running. This particular version is a remix by a Toronto-DJ duo, and it first came to my attention when Diplo included it in a remix he did for Pitchfork.com. Four years later I still listen to it: it’s like a case of Red Bull for your ears – but probably better for your heart.
Lykke Li – “Little Bit” (AutoErotique Bootleg Remix)
Here’s another good remix – this time of a tune by Swedish indie-pop starlet Lykke Li – but, wouldn’t you know it, by the same guys that did the last one. Yes, VND/LSM (which I’ve heard is actually an acronym for the two men involved – Very Nice Dave and Legendary Skid Murphy, aka Dave Henderson and Keith Robertson) re-incorporated as AutoErotique when a similarly named Australian band forced a change from their initial moniker. They are currently signed to Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak label.
David Guetta – “Titanium” feat. Sia
This one starts off a little mellow, but then the chorus kicks in, and at that point it’s pretty much like a small jug of nitroglycerine has been mainlined into your blood stream – which may not always be what you’re looking for, but it certainly comes in handy on the last stretch of a long run. This is a song to be used sparingly – you don’t want to overdo it with a potent tune like this.
Justice – “D. A. N. C. E.” (MSTRKRFT Remix)
After the release of “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine” – the first and last album from Toronto’s Death From Above 1979 – bassist and synth-player Jesse Keeler turned in the noise-rock, partnered with Mississauga’s Alex Puodziukas, and headed off in a decidedly different musical direction. Thus was MSTRKRFT born. Since the release of their first single, “Easy Love,” in 2006, the duo have produced many a fine electro track, including this remix of Justice’s D. A. N. C. E. This has been a staple of my running playlist for years.
Skrillex – “Bangarang”
And last but not least – Skrillex, electronic music’s latest messiah. It seems you can’t do anything these days without coming across this guy – and apparently running is no different. I’m not even sure where this track came from, or how it made it onto my mp3 player – I was honestly just jogging along, minding my own business, when suddenly and without warning I found this inserted surreptitiously in my playlist. I took off like a rocket; the song has therefore remained.