The original Running Man film is an hour and forty minutes of Arnold Shwarzenegger badassery, but if it could be boiled down to five minutes, harsh noise is certainly the way to do it. Condensing all of that action into a short period of chaotic, manipulated electronics, Running Man: The Home Edition is an ode to that film on a biz CD-R that only allows about six minutes of actual content; the artists, then, are forced to overload their track right from the start.
Most of the artists on the compilation get about thirty seconds of material to work with. It’s not a lot of time to make a statement, but they get their point across with no problems. Opener “Deactivist” from Post Mortem seems to use alarm buzzes and the clang of industry as a soundtrack; “Captain Freedom’s Workout” from Ginger Cortes is an incredibly harsh blast of screeching noise set to a commercial by Captain Freedom, using pauses to great effect.
Italics comes in with a whirring, pulsating slab of harsh noise with “Cadre Cola,” another very intense portion that whines and squalls and then blasts itself out. “Tunnel Vision” by The Outside World is just that – a very condensed, low track of static that feels thin in comparison to the next wall by Wet Dream Asphyxiation, “Dedicated to Ben Richards”; that one is a very dense and expansive static mass. Bedawang’s “One Mean Motherfucker” uses a sample of dialogue and feeds it through electronics to create an echoing cacophony, although this is probably one of the only real missteps on the album – it doesn’t feel up to par with the rest.
Finally, Raven’s “The Curse of Arnold Schwarzenegger” is a high-pitched mix of oscillating wonks with static set as the backdrop, while Vasectomy Party rounds things out with the wall Give Them What They Want!”, a low static, almost digital drone with laser beam squealing.
There are a surprising number of tracks on this collection, and each of the artists in question brings something different to their own rendition of Running Man. Always a pleasure to see different areas of the noise sphere coming together with a defined theme, and the use of samples from the film ensures the album evokes a nostalgic memory, then smashes it with sound. It’s a wonderful compilation where the tracks are the stalkers and the listeners the runners.