Riding a bike is a musical experience in more than a metaphorical way: Brakes squeal, spokes click, derailleurs clang. Composer Johnnyrandom sampled himself “playing” his bicycle and the results are positively gorgeous.
First of all, just listen to this SoundCloud clip from “Bespoken”, which is available on iTunes for $1.69:
It’s hard to believe that all of those sounds are made by a bicycle. Some of them are strictly the the byproduct of the bike’s mechanical operation, like the sound it makes when you release a brake lever. Others are created when you play different parts of the bike with a musical accessory.
For example, Johnnyrandom records the low-pitched flutter of a pick scratching on a spinning wheel, and tunes the bicycle’s spokes so he could play them with a bow like a string instrument. After capturing the sounds with a portable recorder, the different sounds were arranged and sequenced using software. This two-minute mix gives you a feel for the wide sonic that he was able to create.
Besides the obvious creativity that went into making this piece, the most impressive part is that the end composition is actually lovely on its own. It’s not uncommon for musicians and composers to find music in the sounds of the world. Harnessing those sounds to make something beautiful is the real challenge. [Colossal]