LCD Soundsystem: 45:33: Nike+ Original Run
i Tunes

Having produced 45:33: Nike + Original Run, an out iTunes-exclusive composition for Nike, LCD Soundsystem/DFA mainman James Murphy will be vilified by some for having sold out (his own interest in the project was sparked by his affection for records where artists created a single album-long ‘song' and the challenge involved in attempting to do the same). Hopefully, those most discomfited by the idea won't prevent themselves from hearing what's a very satisfying 45-minute work. The driving concept is that 45:33 is composed for runners; to his credit, Murphy rejects the obvious move of grounding the piece in lockstep techno. Instead, the composition wends a far more imaginative route that includes numerous shifts in style and tempo.

Though an appealingly live and loose, jam-like vibe reigns, the piece isn't an interminable and aimless riff on a single theme but is more akin to a flowing mix-tape of one artist's material. After opening with an accelerating fleet of ascending synths that could pass for a Radioactivity outtake, a house piano riff kicks in, initiating a funky disco episode bolstered by soulful Robert Owens-styled vocalizing and wordless background harmonies. Ten minutes in, the piece morphs into synth-heavy electrofunk brightened by gleaming glockenspiel melodies, then moves on to a ‘70s-styled, Ohio Players-meets-Headhunters passage propelled by double-time hi-hat patterns, clavinet, and, yes, cowbell that references, intentionally or not, Stevie Wonder's “Superstition” and Herbie Hancock's “Palm Grease.” After a breathlessly driving section ends at the 37-minute mark, chill-out sets in and the piece slows to a placid close of celestial, church-like ambiance. Put simply, don't let the release's ‘commercial' dimension blind you to the work's high quality.

January 2007