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Running Playlist: Synthwave


You rev your actuators in anticipation while the nanoscale accumulators in your muscles prepare to convert lactic acid into stored energy for your synthetic second heart. The anime girl startup image of your custom warez firmware flashes on your HUD just before your cochlear nerve directly plays the message: combat mode engaged in a text-to-sound robotic voice. You smile and your shiny titanium-oxide teeth reflect the neon lights around you.

If you like the cyberpunk aesthetic, you probably also (might) like synthwave. It is electronic, usually fast-paced music; which, like most high-BPM music, makes it good for running. I usually drag my miserable carcass for a run a few times a week, and having music usually helps, somehow. Science, I guess.


Here are some Synthwave tracks that I listen to, oh, and they are all free to download if you want. There is other stuff out there too, if you feel like opening your wallet or just infringing on copyright – do what you want.

At Doom’s Gate by Mitch Murder

Let me start off with mentioning that Mitch Murder was my introduction to synthwave and this artist simply cannot keep making good stuff in a variety of styles. This particular track is a cover from DOOM, which even when sequenced as .midi is good stuff.

Artifact by Mitch Murder

There is going to be a few Mitch Murder tracks and I could just as easily have an entire playlist made from his catalogue.

Mitch Murder feat. Emi (Satellite Young) – Sniper Rouge by Mitch Murder

Synthwave only occasionally features vocals and I find most of them terrible as the lyrics are, in my opinion, inane. This tracks avoids that issue for me by being in Japanese, so it may not be your style if you understand that language.

Neo Tokyo from The Uncanny Valley by PERTURBATOR

Perturbator is another prolific artist in the genre, and like Mitch Murder, I could easily have mde a list entirely of his work. On Bandcamp, all of Perturbator’s work is no charge, unless you want it on vinyl.

She Moves Like A Knife from The Uncanny Valley by PERTURBATOR

Possibly my favourite track by Perturbator.

Abattoir from Last Call For All Passengers by DAN TERMINUS

Orange you happy? I understand the criticism that synthwave tends to be a repetitive genre/all sounds the same. My rebuttal? I don’t know, but if you try to run with your experimental jazz-fusion that has 15 different time changes you may not get the in the zone effect that actually benefits running.

Enter the Yakuza Club from First Contact EP by Hollywood Burns

I guess there is an anime edge to the genre, because Japan figures quite strongly in the work of many artists. Oh well.

Such a short list? Well, if you need more than half an hour of fast-paced music for running you are well beyond what meagre help I can provide. After five kilometres I stop listening the fast stuff so my elderly knees don’t explode.

Do you have a favourite? Put it in the comments. Hate the whole thing? Put it in the comments.

title image from here

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