Monday, April 2, 2012

Songs to ride to...

So, last year I was introduced to the joys of snowboarding.  Or, more correctly, I spent a couple of days learning how not to fall over, and THEN I discovered the joys of snowboarding.

Anyway, following a couple of awesome weeks up at Sun Peaks in Canada in January, I am now completely addicted (and, importantly, not completely useless) and we're already planning our next snow adventures.  Frankly, there is not much that compares to being up on the mountain... the fresh cold air, the vast expanses of white snow, the peacefulness punctuated only by an occasional 'swoosh' of edge on snow, and the feeling of thinking only about what is in front of you, what line you could take down that hill, how you could cut through that glade or trick off that feature - the possibilities!  Frankly - at least on what little I've seen - Canada fully has it over NZ in this regard, but snow is still better than no snow.

But this blog is not about snowboarding, this blog is about music.  See, initially, I never would've considered putting a pair of headphones on while snowboarding.  Music would have been another distraction from the crucial task of not-falling-over while making one's way down a run.  But the other day, I had the iPod on shuffle, and I was struck by the thought of how kick-ass it would be to crank Space Hoes by Dangerdoom while riding down the mountain. 

This was always one of my favourite MF Doom tracks - Doom's usual brilliant flow, over a particularly groovy (and insanely catchy) Danger Mouse beat.  But considered as a track to ride to, it took on a whole new dimension.  Relaxed and laidback but with an irrepressible - and FUN - groove, I can't imagine many songs better to listen to while cruising down a run.

So then, of course, the challenge was to construct a whole playlist of songs that might be similarly excellent to ride to - noting of course that firstly I can't roadtest this until August, and secondly, I doubt my current headphones would fit on under my helmet.  But still, definitely worth thinking about.

And one thing that occurred to me very early on was that - as much as I love hard rock and metal - it's generally not a great snowboarding soundtrack.  It's a bit too aggressive for cruising to (unless you're doing hardcore speed runs, I guess), and in the case of metal the complexity tends to hinder the all-important flow.  Not to mention that listening to, say, Trapped Under Ice or Headcrusher might be tempting fate just a tad. 

There's something about hip-hop - like Space Hoes - and electronica with a nice, balanced groove that just seems to me to fundamentally suit that sort of setting.  Maybe this is partly because back in the day I spent WAY too much time playing SSX Tricky and SSX 3, and consequently, tracks like Slayboarder, Like This and the UNKLE remix of No One Knows are unavoidably associated with snow.  Even if it is considerably easier to pull a 5x Backflip Frontside 1080 Stalefish from the comfort and safety of one's couch. With a controller.  And not an actual snowboard.  Anyway.

So, the playlist.  It needs to be sufficiently long that it could last for half a day - maybe even a full day, if I can find enough.  And I suspect it will be a great chance to revisit a lot of hip-hop and electronica that I haven't listened to in quite some time.  And maybe some more mid-tempo, groovin' rock - seems like Fu Manchu might not be a bad bet.

Anyway, I'll post the results when I get there... it might be a while!

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