Wednesday Timeless Classics: Greatest Percussion Buildup Ever

Artist: Capricorn
Song: 20 Hz

Album: 20 Hz
Time: 6:48
Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music

This track has one of the most unique percussion buildups of any song I’ve ever heard. “20 Hz” was created by Capricorn (Hans Weekhout) in 1993 and was apparently a big dance hit in the UK at the time. Though this is such a unique track, I can find few other songs created by this artist. I’ve been using it since my early days of Spinning and included it in a popular mountain bike simulation profile at the WSSC Spinning conferences. 

There are two parts of the song that gradually build up to a crescendo of snare drums, pulling you out of the saddle in a concerted effort for 30 seconds. I like to use it in a mountain bike simulation when you have to get through a section I call “the stairs,” where the terrain alternates between moderate and very steep on a rocky trail. The snare drums let you know when it gets steep and you need to stand up. You can also use it for a race scenario where you attack during the snare drum segments. 

Begin at a moderate climbing effort on a hill at 64 rpm. The snare drums begin very subtly in the background about 0:56; add a little more resistance here. Over the next 30 seconds, the drums get louder and louder. Then at 1:26, they take off—your signal to add more resistance, burst out of the saddle, and hold it for 30 seconds.

When the drums ease up, sit back down, only removing the resistance you added so you maintain a moderately hard effort. The buildup starts in the background in the middle of the third minute (it’s so quiet you don’t hear it at first); you may want to add a little more resistance here. The drums get louder and louder. Once again, as they build to a peak at 4:15; add more resistance and push hard for 30 more seconds. After that, return to the saddle and climb for the remainder of the song at a moderate level.

You don’t need to say anything during the 30-second snare drum attacks—the drums do your cueing for you!

For ease of cueing, here is the timing:

0:00 Begin climbing at 64 rpm with moderate resistance.
0:56 Add more resistance
1:26–1:56 Add resistance; stand and push hard.
1:56 Sit back down; ease up slightly
3:30 Add more resistance.
4:15–4:45 Add resistance; stand and push hard.
4:45–end Ease up slightly; climb to the top.

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