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The Animatrix as Driving Music

Inspired by my past 2 days’ of driving 1000+ miles for Christmas and my love of music and anime, I bring you today’s 12 Days of AniTAY post.


When I drive, I’m the kind of person who needs music going. I don’t know if, with my ADD, it helps ‘distract’ enough of my brain that my mind isn’t haring off on something else instead of paying attention, or just because I hate silence, or what, but it’s gotta be music. I hate talk radio, and I can’t follow things like audiobooks/podcasts even if they aren’t in short chunks (i.e., when commuting to and from work), so music it is.

Nowadays, I’m still rocking my 2nd gen iPod Nano with 3.4 glorious GB of mp3 storage, either via FM transmitter in my car (never thought I’d miss a tape deck, but the one in the car died, so the tape adapters don’t work), or via USB to the family van. Over the years, many anime OPs and EDs have crept in, and come and gone from my playlist (it’s a large, eclectic list that literally runs from Aaron Neville to ZZ Top).


However, when my car was brand new back in the long-off years ago of 2003, I was all about rocking the CDs for driving music (the car does have a built-in CD player at least, thank goodness). I made a number of driving-related mix CDs over the years, and would sometimes use regularly-purchased CDs as well.

One of the first ones I would use came out in the same year: The Animatrix: The Album, the soundtrack for the Wachowskis’ Animatrix collection of short films. As I’ve mentioned in my past “favorite themes” posts, I often like hard driving energy in my music, or haunting tunes. This is especially true for my driving music. And The Animatrix CD provides 73 minutes of predominantly both of those with its Electronic/techno/big beats soundtrack.


The album starts with Peace Orchestra’s “Who Am I?” from “Kid’s Story”, a haunting track that frankly is even better driving music (in my opinion) when traveling down dark highways at night [okay, actually, I find the whole album that much better in this situation], with little other traffic around. It then moves on to Free*land’s “Big Wednesday” to start pumping up the beat and keep you moving along.

“Blind Tiger” by Layo & Bushwacka! mixes it up, pulling back on the reins a bit, as you slide along the open road, then Supreme Beings of Leisure’s “Under the Gun” brings you right back up, running along. “Martenot Waves” dials back a little bit, but like “Big Wednesday”, the key is the beat keeps you going.


Photek’s “Ren 2" starts out sounding like it’s going be the haunting type, and it does have some of that, but then the thudding bass line kicks in, and now the miles are just rolling by. Death in Vegas’ “Hands Around My Throat” changes it around, but doesn’t lose the energy, reintroducing vocals again to the music, and making great music to fly by those slow-moving semis. Junkie XL’s “Beauty Never Fades” (feat. Saffron) keeps some vocals in the mix after building up from a great opening into a main theme that’ll keep you awake as the headlights fade away in your rearview mirror.

At about 43:45, Overseer’s “Supermoves” (from the man vs machine war segment of “The Second Renaissance, Part 2") thuds in, bringing that dark energy that makes you need to double check your speedometer to make sure you’re not about to get nailed with a nasty ticket if there happens to be a cop out there in the lonely darkness. From there, it goes right into Juno Reactor’s “Conga Fury,” providing another percussion + bass line that’ll keep your foot on the gas.


The album ends with two techno remixes original movie vocals + soundtrack + beats, carrying you all the way to your destination.

Sadly not included on the album were four additional songs, which I have alas, not had the chance to judge how they suit driving:


While I usually don’t use CDs in my car any more for trips (and my trips are now sadly too long to be covered by a single CD), I still have several of these songs included on my iPod, and they make just as good driving music today as they did back in 2003.

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