Songs That Travel // Fitting Songs for Epic Outdoor Journeys

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Ever reach the summit of a long hike or see the sun set over a desert plain? Have you felt the need for some grand, sweeping strings or booming drums to play over that moment? We get you.

Here are three songs for adventure that pair well with those stories - especially when those stories are filmed.

The North Face // Alex Honnold

Our video collaboration with The North Face and Camp4 Collective centers on professional rock climber Alex Honnold, who is well known for breaking speed records up rock walls with his free solo climbs. Watching the footage itself is a tense ride, as Honnold tackles one of the largest solo climbs in the world - a 2,500 foot ascent up El Sendero Luminoso in Mexico. One of the coolest parts is how the music (or lack of music) matches the shifting emotions of the film. The Camp4 crew uses silence to its advantage, as gorgeous aerial shots and timelapse footage of the rock wall, its surroundings, and Honnold himself climbing without ropes shows the gravity of the situation and what might happen if he falls. Complemented by the interspersed music, the silence is broken up by Matthew Morgan's "Sun Through the Clouds." At first emanating a deep sense of seriousness and focus, the dainty flurries of piano later exude a feeling of triumph and wonder as Honnold determinedly makes his way up the wall. At one point, three simple piano notes repeat slowly while a fixed overhead shot shows Honnold carefully strategizing his next holds. At another, strings rush in behind the piano to create a sense of wonder and happiness as Honnold stands carefully on a tiny ledge thousands of feet in the air, making it hard not to smile right along with and his sense of adventure.

 

Joe Simon // The Valley of Fire

The Valley of Fire National Park in Nevada is known for its red sand stone formations that bring to mind burning fire when they reflect in the sunlight. That's a bit different than the rain-soaked, Doug Fir-laden lands we are used to here in NW, but this video draws us to there regardless. A collaboration with filmmaker Joe Simon and The Delivery Men, this video combines sweeping shots of the Nevada national park with "This Moment" by Pistol Shrimp, juxtaposing an electronic approach to views of wide open spaces. This might seem like an unlikely combination of the natural and machine-made, but the floating harmonies and big drums keep the music from feeling cold and match the warm colors with expansiveness of the desert plains. The song's rises and falls are paired with slow moving, spacious shots and then more rapid cuts through the scenery, setting a captivating pace that holds attention on the awe-inspiring mountains. With an M83 influence and walls of synth that keep the whole thing anchored, the song creates a hazy, echoey vibe that makes the imagery seem all the more epic.

 

Shane Black // Adventure is Calling

We weren't a part of this collaboration, but this video gets an honorable mention for being so awesome. Sighting what he deems a "call to adventure," timelapse photographer Shane Black set out last summer to travel across the country with friends, photographing the spectacular views around him in between teaching workshops. Amidst layered timelapse shots of thunderclouds, shooting stars, sunsets, desert plains, canyons and everything in between, light and ethereal post-rock guitar plays supported by echoey touches of piano and chimes. All of these elements lend themselves to a feeling of awe and majesty at nature spinning by. Matthew Morgan's "Dawn of Time" from our singles catalogue captures a similar feeling of pure astonishment, as delicate piano drifts in waves, not unlike the clouds rolling by in the video. Often accentuated with hazy harmonies with synth in the background that blankets what might normally be a fragile sound, this track has got slow moving, jaw-dropping nature written all over it.

- Kaitie Todd