Playlist: Walk On

Carey Young, Body Techniques. Walk On, The Atkinson

Inspired by The Atkinson’s new exhibition, Walk On, C James Fagan ponders the perfect tracks to stroll along to…

Very recently I wrote about the strange alchemy of walking, of walking as a state of meditation, or a transitory state of creation. Though one thing I may have overlooked is a contemporary twist on the walk; the fact that the majority of people now walk connected by tiny wires to music. Another way of being both connected and disconnected with the world.

Of course, music has had a relationship with walking long before the invention of the iPod, even before the invention of The Walkman. The act of walking features thematically in many songs, often appearing as a metaphor for devotion (think ‘I would walk 500 miles’ or ‘I’m walking my way back to you, babe’). It can convey a sense of joy, as in Helen Shapiro’s Walking Back To Happiness: a jaunty step into a better world.

The flip side to that are the mournful steps away from someone who once filled your world. Someone who has become another passer-by. This has its most eloquent expression in the Bacharach/David classic, Walk On By, given soulful melancholy here by Isaac Hayes.

This sense of loss can lead to a search for a new, better place, like in Roy Ayers Keep On Walking, where this better place is just a few steps over the horizon. The solution to your problems is as simple as moving your feet — just keep moving forward. A sort of determination laid down by the refine ‘I walk ‘til my wallet falls out’ in Subtle’s Wallet Falls.

Subtle’s Doseone is a man of the streets; his observations come off like sonic versions of Richard Wentworth sculptures. Both have an eye for the juxtapositions of the everyday; in Walk, by Doseone’s collaborative project 13 & God, he creates a track which takes the listener onto a street that may only exist between the ears.

“The chance to get lost on your merry way, such as with Modest Mouse’s World At Large, radiates a dreamy kind of wanderlust”

It’s not all serious, however; there are people who enjoy walking for walking’s sake. The chance to get lost on your merry way, such as with Modest Mouse’s World At Large, radiates a dreamy kind of wanderlust. While WALLA’s Nature and Summer Camp’s Outside are joyous confirmations of being outside, of being in the moment, and the possibilities opened by taking one single step.

While others are enjoying the feeling of the ground beneath their feet, others might be getting an entirely different sort of thrill out of walking. Hearing the sounds of glamorous heels clacking against an equally glamorous dance floor inspired Canadian Electro popster Tiga with Shoes.

I’d like to finish this short sonic hike with Laurie Anderson’s Walking And Falling; a poetic piece about the nature of walking, if you listen to just one song on this playlist, make it this one. It brings to the fore an idea of the walk being more than banal necessary and putting it on par with the most balletic dance.

Fancy a stroll?

C James Fagan

Read C James Fagan’s review of Walk On at The Atkinson, Southport, here – exhibition continues until August 2014

Image: Carey Young, Body Techniques. Featured in Walk On, The Atkinson (2014)

Posted on 02/06/2014 by thedoublenegative