The next time you’re out walking in your neighbourhood, see if you can spot a desire path.
Even if you’ve never heard the term ‘desire path,’ chances are good you’ve seen them. A desire path happens when people deviate from the pedestrian route prescribed by the sidewalk. If a paved walkway requires people to walk a right angle, people will often create their own route by walking the diagonal. Eventually, with enough time and enough foot traffic, a desire path emerges. They usually look something like this.
There’s something really awesome about desire paths.
It’s the feeling of out-smarting an urban planner. The feeling of agreement between you and people you’ve never met, but with whom you share a sly shortcut. The feeling of following, quite literally, in the footsteps of strangers.
American EDM artist Bels Lontano is probably, I would guess, a fan of desire paths. This track was conceived with an image of his own favourite path in mind: a meandering path that winds its way through the park next to his house, and which he walks every day with his dog.
Whether your favourite path is a shortcut or a wandering detour, paved with concrete or flattened by countless pedestrians before you, I can vouch for this song as an excellent companion.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. A major influence on Bels Lontano’s music is Hungarian composer Grygory Ligeti. In fact, the name Bels Lontano is a pseudonym taken from the title of one of Ligeti’s works. While Ligeti’s work is considerably darker and more menacing than this track, fragments of influence can be found in the ethereal hum and twinkle that persists behind the pulsing percussion.
2. Much of the percussion is provided by the jangling of random objects. It makes me think of the way walking can turn a pocketful of change can turn into a tambourine.
3. It ends with a sudden fading echo, like a pedestrian stopped in their tracks by an unexpected and beautiful view.
Recommended listening activity:
Calculating the shortest distance between you and hot chocolate.