Pair #28: "15984 BPM"

"15984 BPM"
Original Post Date: October 2, 2008
Runtime: 2:58
Genres: Spoken Word/Electronic
Compilation Album:
Sweat Pants

Prompt Summary: a song that's faster than any song that's come before it, with snails as a possible topic

I would hardly call this track a song. It's certainly about a piece of music. And technically, there's music playing for most of it. It's just…you can't really tell. Because it's too fast for the human brain to comprehend.

Yes, indeed, as the prompt requested, Andrew tried to write a song that breaks the record for "BPMs," otherwise known as beats per minute, otherwise known as tempo. The end result doesn't exactly do that, but Andrew did write a song—an electronic song, specifically—then loop it, and then play back the loop for us at a whopping 15,984 BPM. And yes, it does sound like a tinny droning. Is that music? You decide!

Instead of centering around a very fast song, this track centers around the tempo at which Andrew plays back his new loop* in real time. He starts it out at that very specific, large number—was the previous tempo record 15,983 BPM? Or is there some significance to the sum of 999×16?—and then, over the course of almost three minutes, slows it down gradually. As you can imagine, it takes most of the track to get from that astronomical number down to a tempo at which it actually has any discernible rhythm, let alone melody, which is at roughly the original tempo's square root. You'll start to notice a bass beat around the two-minute mark; you'll hear a more complete song around fifteen seconds later.

But it's not just a waiting game. (And that's a good thing because for most of the slowdown, it is impossible to make out any differences, other than in pitch.) Throughout the process, Andrew adlibs about…random things. Including, as suggested by the prompt, snails. I think he also mentions something about having three ears? I dunno.

What carries this track are two things: 1) the suspense as you wait to hear what the loop actually sounds like, and 2) Andrew's meandering and/or nonsense spoken-word performance. So, as your 2022 winds down, and you reflect on the year that was, take three minutes to listen to all of the BPMs and some ramblings from a slightly bored-sounding sound engineer; you won't be disappointed.

*This track is a bit of a shame because I do like the loop he created for it. It's kinda chiptuney. Unfortunately, you can't really make any of it out for more than thirty seconds or so. Oh, and if this weren't a loop, he'd have to have written a song that's, like, an hour long in order to get it to last this whole track. (If anyone does the math on this, please let me know in the comments!)


  1. That's some outragous BMP! Hi, found your blog last week, and I'm super excited to follow along! I've been following Andrew since 2010, through all of his many projects and phases. Even got a chance to see him on tour once. Love your set up for this.

    1. Hey, Jeff! Thanks so much for the comment! It's nice to know someone else is reading the blog lol. I "officially" jumped on the Andrew Train in 2012 when my brother gave me his STWPT CDs. I have yet to see him live, but I hope to someday!

      And yes, it is quite a outragous BMP!


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