Bikepacking, Cycling, Music, Travel

Totalbikeforever -7 electronic songs to listen to on the Pamir Highway

Tim & Adam are pedaling their way from UK to Japan, writing a unique album with their experience & with the people they meet along the way of their journey. They started their tour in early March 2018, currently traveling through Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and South-East Asia before arriving in Japan 12 months later in March 2019. Every step of this adventure is filmed to be finally turned into a documentary. The musicians & people they’ll discover in every part of their journey will be the basis of their musical travelogue.

They have a worthy cause in heart while they pedal this year long journey to raise funds for patients with Alzheimer disease. From personal experience they know how the power of music can bring peace to those who are suffering from this debilitating condition. Their original album will serve as a symbol for music’s healing powers.

Tim & Adam, better known as Total Bike Forever here will give you an insight to their world of bikes, wires and electronica. Their eccentric experience in Pamir highway written in their own words.  Enjoy! 🙂

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Electronic music is at the heart of our cycle adventure across the world. We travel with synthesisers and a laptop and we’re penning an album as we travel from London to Tokyo. Recently we’ve cycled the Pamir Highway through Tajikistan and Kyrgystan. This supernatural mountain range is sparsely populated, remote and hard work to get through. It’s also hugely inspiring.
It’s easy to think of electronic music as simply something to get you up that hill: heavy club tracks that motivate you cycle that little bit harder…. and some of it does a great job in doing that. The kind of tracks we’ve been drawn to over the last few months do an amazing job of transporting you further away from the real world and somehow closer to the landscapes you’re surrounded by. The way that electronic sounds are totally removed from what you’re experiencing visually seems to only intensify this experience. Here’s our top 7 tracks that encapsulated this
 1. Jon Hopkins – Luminous Beings  (https://jonhopkins.bandcamp.com/track/luminous-beings)
We listened to a lot of Song Exploder podcasts whilst we were in Tajikistan. Each episode essentially deconstructs a song with its writer on hand to walk you through the creative process. In the case of the episode featuring this track, Jon Hopkins describes trying to conjure the sounds of a psychopsilocybin trip he experienced in Joshua Tree, California. He describes a feeling of oneness and power from the nature surrounding him that he wanted to lock into this track. It’s definitely achieved. Listening to this song became a bit of a ritual for us before we started cycling each morning. It almost perfectly reflects the mountains we were moving through and that pale morning sunshine before noon.
2. Gabe Gurnesy – In States (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCuyfNKOJjw)
Gabe Gurnesy is an electronic music producer from East London formerly of one of our favourite bands, Factory Floor. This track from his debut album is very low key. The synth swells and echoey sax he uses really encapsulate the Martian quality of the Pamirs. We actually bumped into a sax playing cyclist whilst we were in Tajikistan who was carrying his instrument on his back. The sax in this track reminds us of him.
3. Lone – Under Cherry Blossoms (Minds Eye Melody Reprise) (https://lone.bandcamp.com/track/under-cherry-blossoms-mind-s-eye-reprise)
We came across this track in Paris when at the very start of the adventure. It’s been rolling around in our heads since then.
This song has a Tangerine Dream analogue quality to it that somehow makes it very at home out in the wilds. There’s an amazing kind-of drop mid way through thats emphasised with an oriental sound which we love. It really resonates with what we’re trying to do with the sounds we’re finding on the road.
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4. Tunnelvisions – Nyiri (https://atomnation.bandcamp.com/track/nyiri)
Tunnel visions are a two piece from Holland that make World  infused dance music. Nyiri is from their first album that we were drawn to because of their brilliant use of African sounds and percussive elements. This is another beatless piece that has a  mystical feel to it. The lead sound also has quite a Blade Runner feel which strangely works amazingly with the scenery of the Pamirs.
Whilst we were in Kazakstan we spent some time cycling with a Scottish guy called Jamie. We were getting up crazy early to beat the desert heat whilst we were there. One morning at dawn whilst we were cycling along we noticed he a huge grin on his face along with his headphones jammed into his ears. When we asked what he was listening to he said Bonobo. The album he was listening to (Migration) then became a mainstay whilst we were crossing the Pamirs.
Samurai is actually a b-side from his most recent single. The positive procession of the song, super clean bass, amazing vocal sample and arpeggio breakdown make it the perfect track to stick on just as you get on the bike in the morning and probably thinking ‘I wish I was still in my sleeping bag’.
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6. Daniel Avery – A Quiet Life (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=132ZdzrsMfE)
This track from Daniel Avery’s early Water Jump EP sums up pretty much perfectly in musical form the feeling of climbing through an eerie, Sci-fi landscape to the top of a pass on your bike, the excitement of reaching the top then the absolute euphoria of enjoying the view that you’ve huffed and puffed towards for the last god knows how long.
There’s so many elements of this track that work so well with the back drop of the  wilderness; echoey choral samples, scary bass sounds, psychedelic arpeggio progressions  and Chemical Brothers style drum breaks. Towards the end the vocal resolves itself into a great lyric: ‘put your arms around… don’t look down’ than definitely resonated during some of the more hairier moments on the route we took through the mountains!
We first came across it when just before we quit jobs in London about a year ago and it’s been the backdrop of the entire adventure from that moment onwards. The strangely  catchy spoken word sample that loops through the whole piece is offset with an grinding, tense and ever-rising bass line that breaks towards the end of the song.
Listening to this track as we got to the top of the first real climb of the highway was a very emotional experience and one of the best moments of the trip so far. Perfect wilderness material.
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Get connected with Totalbikeforever on Instagram and Facebook to follow their awesome journey and adventures today! 🙂

To donate their worthy cause, please go to Just Giving page.

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Tell us your experience, we would love to share it with the rest of our cycling community 🙂

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