Seven Electronic Songs To Herald The 2012 Olympic Games

That mask might cause a bit of a head wind, but just go with it.
That mask might cause a bit of a head wind, but just go with it.

Summer Olympics season is imminent: Golden rings crop up on magazine covers, newspapers dedicate space to English beverages and foodstuffs, Morgan Freeman's rich, reassuring baritone returns to prime time in the form of credit-card shilling, businesses all over town announce their own "Olympics Of [Insert Specialty Here]." Tomorrow's opening ceremonies in London will be full of pomp, even though the Games—almost by design, it seems—are all too fleeting. Still, the sweeping, monument-scale hugeness that accompanies the two weeks and change of action lends itself nicely to classical, modern, and electronic composition. To mark the occasion, SOTC drew up a list of songs that evoke the Olympics' multinational majesty.

The Orb, "Oxbow Lakes"

At the outset, the mood doesn't sell or gel; every piano chord rings sourly, if not outright bitterly. Sleigh bells rattle in the background. Somewhere at the center of the mix, a pulsating heart seems to beat louder than a klaxon. Then everything just glides into place, sinews thickening and connections making themselves, and the word "nobility" seems to hover benignly over everything. There's something inquisitive and just inherently hopeful about "Oxbow Lakes" that brings to mind mad yet well-meaning scientists in 1960s-era visions of the distant future and oiled Olympians hurling shotputs in ancient Greece. Everyone's a winner, you know?

Keith Fullerton Whitman, "Generator 1"

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If Whitman's daft, darting gaggles of synthesizer tones on "Generator 1" remind you of schools of fish, you're hardly alone. Yet in some ways they might be more profitably compared to clusters of distance runners in the way that they collect and separate, overlap and vacillate, a mass of flesh and bone engines flickering in concert around the dull red oval track.

Lindstrøm, "Where You Go I Go Too"

The adjective "mammoth" doesn't quite do "Where You Go I Go Too" justice. The song is 30 mind-inclining minutes long but feels even longer, capable of encompassing entire solar systems and civilizations and dying stars while somehow evoking flashbacks to the Miami Vice opening credits and lost, youthful Saturdays misspent inside Out Run consoles. In an Olympic context, Lindstrøm's sojourn becomes an endurance odyssey, a paean to both breath control—get lost in the wormhole and you'll hear dude's huffing and puffing—and the almost meditative sense of escape that marathon training is capable of engendering.

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