Chemical Brothers – Theme For Velodrome (Track Review)
From the time the Olympics were first introduced to the world stage by the IOC one hundred and fifteen years ago, the universal popularity of the games have turned it into a global phenomenon. The Olympic Games have transcended the realm of the sporting event and have become a symbol for the human capacity of hard work, determination and personal achievement. It is a place where national pride and patriotism is celebrated without the stigmas of jingoism and xenophobia; a trait almost unique to this event. It isn’t just about sport any more but a cultural Mecca encompassing all artistic forms.
This explains the Rock The Games initiative. Five of Britain’s best artists, some iconic, others up and coming, chosen to represent the sound of the games each encompassing the themes of ‘Energy’, ‘Primetime’, ‘Extreme’, ‘Heritage’ and ‘World Stage’. The Chemical Brothers hold the distinction of representing the Cycling events, which have become a national obsession since twelve out of thirteen athletes came home from Singapore with medals, Chris Hoy counting three gold’s among them. Their song is inspired by the cycling edifice, one of Britain’s great sporting icon’s, The Velodrome.
Theme For Velodrome begins with a moment of pathos, strings slowly sound, deliberately distant, building to an unknown climax, much like Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra. It reflects the mood of an athlete as they get themselves “in the zone”, tense, isolated, anxious. Empathy of the athlete is a theme running throughout the track, it captures not just the speed and rivalry of the racers as they compete for top position, it also takes us though the exhaustion and struggle as their bodies adapt to the superhuman conditions they’re being forced through. The tune attacks in waves much like the cyclist who wears out then gets a second wind as the finish line appears in their line of sight.
The effect of empathy is intensified by a sequence of noises taken straight from the racing track, chains rattling, tyres squeaking, shallow breaths of shattered competitors. It puts you there in the middle of the action. All the while a menacing computer generated overlord raises the stakes by repeating the word “Velodrome” over and over, creating the feel of a dystopian future where the racer might have more at risk than a mere medal.
Theme For Velodrome is an exciting piece of work from England’s premier Dance Duo, one that will create an atmosphere fitting for such a powerful occasion.