22 years ago I was more than likely resisting the temptation to go to bed at the ripe our of, say, noon, so that I could listen to this album for inevitably the umpteen-time that night and ride out the rest of my pharmaceutical buzz before starting all over again after a 30 minute snooze or so. Let’s just say that was I worlds away from where I am now. Fast forward those 22 years and I’m listening to that album, before noon no less, while running 19.35k out into the square middle of nowhere. Oh, and once I used it to do some yoga once (click HERE)…but mostly it was drug music.
Anyway, what was that particular late-night-into-early-morning-and-beyond album? Only the ‘Adventures Beyond the Underworld‘ by The Orb.
Lord knows I saw the sunrise on more than one occasion while listening to this masterpiece. And it’s not just any ‘ol version, but the 182:05-minute UK Deluxe Edition reissue that was released in mid-2006 or so – brilliant! Originally released in 1991, the ambient house concept album, is the debut full-length release by the electronic music collective known as The Orb. The album’s framework is of a two-hour psychedelic trip through music genres and studio electronics, produced to “push the threshold” of live stage performance and today it’s pushing me through the back roads of Stevensville; same difference.
The album is a continuous progressive composition consisting of several tracks advancing the journey concept and composed of vocal samples and sound effects interspersed with original music. Can you say “trippy as all get out?”
The spectacle (the album, not my run) starts out appropriately enough with the track ‘Little Fluffy Clouds‘ as I turn onto and stare down the long expanse of Thunder Bay Rd. that runs directly into a horizon dotted with – yes, you guess it – little fluffy clouds. How perfect is that? From there it’s a varied cast of samples (Flash Gordon, space broadcasts, foreign-language whispers, nature recordings and bird songs among them), warm synthesizer tones, and mid-tempo house beats with occasionally dub-inflected ambiance.
Let’s just note here for the record that it was bound to be an interesting run and it was. From the initial apres paux pop-fluff of ‘Little Fluffy Clouds‘ into the stoned out ‘Back Side of the Moon‘ (a veiled Pink Floyd reference) to the funky ‘Into the Fourth Dimension‘ and ending (after more than two hours) with the glorious live mix of ‘A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain that Rules from the Center of the Ultraworld‘ as I’m making my way along Ridge Rd. North and South back into town it was a treat. Sometimes pushing the pace with it’s steady tempo beats and at other times backing me off to some chilled ambient landscapes like the brief period heading north along Ridgemount Road set to ‘Spanish Castles In Space‘ after a decent 10k push.
It’s the perfect day to run; cool, slightly windy (just enough to provide the odd challenge) and only the odd asshole in a Dodge Caravan to worry about. Why is always people in a Dodge Caravan? It’s like the Automobile Industry’s very own rolling “Fuck You” to pedestrians everywhere.
Anyway, as far as the run went it wasn’t bad and I’m beginning to feel more moments of “Hey, this is fucking awesome!” versus those darker, more dreaded “what the fuck are you doing?” thoughts that inevitably pop into your head every so often and I’m taking that as a positive sign that my running is starting to come along. Whether it had anything to do with the trippy as shit music today or not still remains to be seen.