THE WEATHER IS PRESENT, Struer Tracks, Sound Art Biennale , just closed. This has to be one of the most thought provoking Sound Art Biennales the Sonic Bikes have ever had the honour to be a part of. A wide range of rich works installed in and around empty industrial space immersed within the NW jutland fjord-side ever changing elements. Quiety and brilliantly produced, curated and technically supported at every level. Many thanks and congratulations to all at Sonic Landscapes#3. Tak!
THE WEATHER IS PRESENT. A new Sonic Bike work for Struer Tracks Biennale, Denmark. 20 August – 5th September 2021
Kaffe and six of the yellow Sonic Bikes are now in Struer mapping this new composition, THE WEATHER IS PRESENT for Struer Tracks, Sound Art Biennale , OPENING Friday 20 Aug, 16.00h – 5 Sept 2021. A non linear work mapped in fragments through the empty harbour and beyond for riders to make their own narrative. Kaffe’s research week Struer blog.
Enviro Bikes open again in Middlesbrough for the Arts Weekender, 30 Sept – 3 Oct 2021
Come and listen to the air pollution as it’s live sonified for you to hear wherever you ride. Our invisible ‘air reporters’ of the future will appear all over the city to accompany you too.
Available free and daily from Centre Sq TS1 2AZ. More info here.
Six new Enviro Bikes launched in Middlesbrough for Sonic Arts Week.
‘no scent or colour’ 16-23 July 2021
The six new and updated Enviro Bikes ran in Middlesbrough with our new work ‘no scent or colour‘ as part of Sonic Arts Week festival by The Auxiliary Project Space, #SAW21 . Available free and daily from Centre Sq TS1 2AZ, 16-23.07.21, 10am-5pm, they will remain in Middlesbrough for future projects in the North East and beyond.
The bike that transforms air pollution into music as you ride, this time including invisible ‘air reporters’ of the future who appear all over the city to accompany. More.
‘No landing’, new Sonic Bike composition for Coimbra postponed to 2022
Sudden and extreme quarantine restrictions in Portugal due to COVID has meant that the new sonic bike piece for Coimbra cannot be completed. Dar a Ouvir: Paisagens sonoras da Cidade 2021 is therefore happening without the bikes and we will be there in July 2022 instead. Made in collaboration with oficina, commissioned and produced by Jazz ao Centro Clube with Convento São Francisco .
The Enviro Bike is confirmed to make its first appearance in the the UK at Auxiliary Gallery’s Sonic Arts Week (SAW) in Middlesbrough, 16-23 July 2021. A fleet of 6 new Enviro Bikes are currently being built ready for SAW riders, with new sonifcations being created by Kaffe and Lisa to sound out the Middlesbrough air. Follow our progress in the blog #Middlesbrough
Environmental Bike PRESS
Interesting press from EnviroBike lab at Lisboa Soa 2020, Lisbon.
In Time Out’s feature on Lisboa Soa (PT)
Video on Antena1, National Broadcast radio station (PT )
The Environmental Bike and our air pollution research explained
Patricia at Bicultura interviewed Kaffe at the EnviroBike lab Lisboa Soa, wanting to know not just about the unfolding project, but about where the idea had come from and the outcome of compositional ideas as a result. Her podcast here also plays some sonifications of the Lisbon air and informs on how EnviroBike system operates.
MORE EnviroBike INFO
ONE RIVER SIX TUNNELS, new sonic bike experience made for Nürnberg, just closed.
is a new interactive song that was made from and mapped along the banks of the River Pegnitz by Kaffe Matthews and the BRI working with Nürnberg residents. It opened on 16.10.20 and ran daily and free, 10.00-18.00h to 25.10.20. 15 sonic bikes ready to ride. Spitalgasse 1 , 90403, Nürnberg ( adjacent to the Hauptmarkt), Germany. Commissioned by lucid dream ug as part of SONGLINES_klangkunst 2020, it was curated by Carsten Seiffarth with production manager Eric Nykodym. INFO
‘ Over small distances, the banks of the river Pegnitz are rich in variety. The obvious, the historical, the architectural, the social. Now stop to investigate, and you will hear sounds and frequencies amplified by the tunnels you pass through, transported along the bridges above you, enabling a music you might not have realised existed. ‘
Environmental Bike excites locals and scientists alike, Lisboa Soa 2020
Lisbon is Green Capital for Europe 2020 and so our launch of Environmental Bike at the Goethe-Institute for Lisboa Soa 2020 with Lisa Hall, Federico Visi and Kaffe Matthews was generously received. We anticipate our Research Lab with you to be busy. 4 bikes that sonify PM data live while recording it and the route that you take will be available for you to ride. 2-6pm 22-25.09 and 11-6pm 26-27.09, free. We’ll also be looking at the data together. What is the Lisbon air made of and where exactly? DETAILS
The Ring in the Piggy-wig’s Nose
The Ring in the Piggy-wig’s Nose open 27.08 – 6.09.20 DETAILS
is a new Sonic Bike experience that was made for Borken, Germany by Kaffe with the BRI, opening on Thursday 27th August to Sunday 6th September. 10-6pm, daily. FREE.
Receiving an archive of local Plattdeutsch songs, Kaffe visited Borken in June where she discovered an ancient and common ancestry immersed in these voices, surrounding woods and city streets, animal, ceremonial, spiritual and pagan, plant, organism breathing and moving, creating and shifting resonance. Realising that the Pastors Cow song is derived from The Last Will and Testament of the Pig, when pigs were slaughtered in place of cows and the city wall wrapped around it as a ring, so she made this new work, the nearby land of Hieronymous Bosch and her recordings and instruments from South East Asia also adding to the mix. READ HERE
Musicians: Lucio Capece, bass clarinet, conch shell; Kaffe Matthews, bell, drums, khaen, live electronic processing, MicroBrute synth, Vietnamese cymbals
The Sonic Bikes in Borken were generously loaned by the Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen Magdeburg. With many thanks.
Matthews first met a ringed Piggy-wig amongst the Bong Trees in Edward Lear’s poem, The Owl and the Pussycat
Environmental Bike Development
Environmental Bike will be a bike that makes sound and music live from the quality of the air that you ride through. Now under development with Sukandar Kartadinata, Federico Visi, and Matthews in the Berlin Lab through remote collaboration with FoAM-Kernow and the Sonic Kayak, (COVID times). READ Full details here
Borken newspaper features new sonic bike piece now under construction
Kaffe’s rewarding 3 day research trip to Borken North Westphalia, 13-16.07.20 picks up press interest. This commission from aKa in Weseke-Borken, will be our first new work of the year and will open on August 27th with the five Magedeburg sonic bikes on loan to perform it. aKa is an artist directed organisation and Borken is a small city over by the Dutch border. Very much looking forward to working with a samll community where the land is flat and people glide verywhere on bikes.
Virtual Sonic Kayak Lab: Berlin to Kernow
Supported by ACTION European funding, FoAM-Kernow are directing research to design and test two new sensors for the Sonic Kayaks; 1) air pollution and 2) water turbitidy (cloudiness). With the kayaks already carrying an underwater temperature sensor and hydrophone, the data collected through all sensors is recorded for scientific open data bases as well as sonified live and played to the paddler through a stereo speaker mounted on the kayak. A live feed of sound from the hydrophone is also included, with of course, ambient paddling noise and wind adding to the soundscape.
This project is creating a new scientific tool for live field research of underwater environments, whilst creating opportunity to make new marine compositions exploring ecoacoustics and sonification.
FoAM are leading on the tech and sensor application – adapting the Sonic Bike kit for the kayak, making custom sensor housings and developing the software. Federico Visi has joined the work through facilitating further sonification possibilities through Pure Data and the design of the MoSo module. Follow their progress HERE.
Sonic Bikes Middlesbrough Postponed
Due to COVID times, our project for Middlesbrough with The Auxiliary has been postponed to Sonic Arts Week (SAW) July 2021 .
BRI on CVFM
BRI on air with Ellie Lowther on CVFM! We’re popping into the studio today, 23 Feb, to meet Ellie and talk about the new sonic bike project we’re working on for Summer 2020
2020 The year of the Sonic Bike
Sonic cycling is evolving – we’re developing new bikes, new tech, new compositions, new performances and new sensors in 2020. We, The Bicrophonic Research Institute are getting ready for a busy year ahead.
Sonic cycling, bicrophonics, has been around for almost 12 years. Initially it was a small group of bikes, each with names and handbags stuffed with kit. Now the fleet of sonic bikes includes kids Sonic Bikes, Sonic Trikes, Sonic Kayaks, Sensory Bikes, a multiperson Buzz Bike and they’ re data collecting tools too.
Throughout, the bikes have always been site specific composition gadgets, where sound and music is mapped to spaces so that it changes as you ride whilst playing to you and the passers by. Today this could be thought of as an embodied sonic augmented reality. The sounds are pinned to places, the sound is made specifically for each of these places, it’s heard in situ simultaneously with the rest of the world, heard not through headphones, but with our whole bodies flying through spaces, zipping around on bicycles. The real world environment and its own sound is enhanced and becomes layered.
The bikes are also very much instruments, instruments that you ride – some kitted with sensors so that you can play and transform the sound depending on how you move the bike.
Kaffe has composed numerous sonic bikes operas for these with local communities, making audible immigration issues, water pollution, heroin addiction, bringing works of fiction back to the streets that inspired them, collaborating and re-presenting histories together through story, rap, song, scratch choirs, musicians and all kinds of electronic processing. Collaborators have also worked with Kaffe to make their own sonic pieces in parks in London and Berlin as well as the environmental protest ride Animals March that squawked and roared through central London for the Environmental March 2015.
This year so much more is moving on, we wanted to tell you.
Strap On Sonic Bike (SO Sonic Bike)
Exactly what it sounds like. A Sonic Bike system that will strap onto anyone’s bike. Bring your own bike, strap on a kit, and pedal off into a new sonic landscape with comfort and ease. This approach we think will make sonic cycling more accessible and easier to maintain. Could you encourage your local library to store a few for example? It also means we can ship these systems far and wide. In development this summer.
Dancing Sensory Bikes
Our Sensory Bikes have six sensors running on them, receiving data about how the bike is moving to synthesise the sound that plays out. These Sensory Bikes make sonic cycling a more performative experience, encouraging you to hop, bend, bounce, cycle in circles. You literally can play the bike as an instrument. We’re looking at making a public experiment with them in Lisbon at the Invisible Places-Lisboa Soa festival out door park site. We’ll keep you posted.
To prepare, we will be running a Sensory Bike bending workshop in Berlin mid August. If you’re interested, please let us know.
Last year the Sonic Kayaks added in the gathering of water turbidity data (cloudiness, informing water quality investigations) as well as beginning experiments into air pollution sensors. This year we’re hoping to introduce the air pollution sensor to the Sonic Bike kit. This will collect air quality data of the sites and feed into citizen science projects, as well as be a possible other input for the synthesis and generation of the bike’s music. The quality of the air will become audible.
Air quality sensor research will get underway on Sonic Kayaks in April, in Cornwall UK, and if our lab is successful, we could move the tech onto the Sonic Bikes later in the year. We will keep you posted.
The first ever sonic Buzz Bike was made in 2018 with Coventry’s Festival of Imagineers. And it’s time to shine will be coming soon…. This new design of a customised cargo bike has a large vibrating wooden chamber for passengers to lie in and feel the sound and music move as well as hearing it. The Buzz Bike brings vibration into the experience, but it also opens up sonic cycling o audiences who don’t need to pedal – to passengers! We’re planning to make more of these this summer.
Currently we have five new compositions being developed for the year ahead by the whole bicrophonics team. We’re researching nutrition, air quality, mental health, public space and we’re looking forward to meeting communities in all of these sites to discover what they are thinking about too. As each project gets closer, we’ll share the festival dates.
The Sonic Kayaks workshops last year began exploring navigation – to enable inclusive independent kayaking for visually diverse communities. Kayak composition is great for way finding experiments as without roads and paths out there on the water we’re left to make these routes ourselves. This throws the compositional process wide open whilst moving in nature on the surface of a quiet lake.
The new dancing Sensory Bike performance will also open new approaches to composition – for multiple bikes to improvise with. Sensory Bike bands?
Do get in touch if you’d like to be involved in any of this!
Participatory project coming to Middlesbrough, come meet us February 20th 2020
We’re working on a new project in Middlesbrough commissioned by The Auxiliary, where we’ll be making 6 new sonic bikes and making a new composition together with local residents. If you’re interested and want to get involved, please come to meet us in February downtown.
This unique new bike team will be based in Middlesbrough at MIMA for Sonic Arts Week July 18-25, Orange Pip Festival August 2020 and Middlesbrough Art Weekender September 24-27 2020 then will remain the Tees Valley for further compositions made by you.
Kaffe interviewed by WTV on latest sonic bike work ‘To find a white bear’. AMOK Festival, Bruges.
‘ To find a white bear ‘ – our latest sonic bike jam closes in Bruges.
Ispod Fontana, work for Zagre Muzicki biennale intrigued audiences …..
Ispod fontana – Under the fountains – Unter den Fontänen, was a new adventure for the Muzički Biennale Zagreb and was greeted with fascination even beyond riders and passers by. Featured on RTL and Croatia news, it closed on 6.4.19. WATCH here
On golden hares closes
– a new way to experience organ music and to explore daily life in the city.
For over 10 years, sound artist Kaffe Matthews has been making and developing compositions on special bikes that are musical instruments – or instruments that are bikes. With GPS and a mounted speaker system, riders can explore the city. Developed with the Bicrophonic Research Institute, Kaffe’s Sonic Bikes have run on the streets of Berlin, London, Brussels, Houston, Hailuoto, Porto, Ghent, Dublin, den Haag and Zagreb in 2019.
Now five sonic bikes have been made in collaboration with the Kunstmuseum Unser Lieben Frauen for Ambitus, Art and Music Today exhibition. Visitors can come borrow them and experience the city in a new way by following the 30 min composition which changes depending on where you ride.
Buzz Bike launches at Wheel Ways, Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, Sept 2018
The new Buzz Bike, a sonic bed on wheels giving an 8 channel sound and vibration experience to it’s riders. For both someone to pedal and someone to lie in its vibrating wooden chamber, the Buzz Bike makes sonic cycling more accessible for more people – from mixed abilities, to non-cyclists and those of all ages.
Sonic kayaks in Plos Biology Journal
Sonic Kayaking featured in the biology journal PLOS: Sonic Kayaks: Environmental monitoring and experimental music by citizens by Amber G. F. Griffiths, Kirsty M. Kemp, Kaffe Matthews, Joanne K. Garrett and David J. Griffiths
‘The Sonic Kayak is a musical instrument used to investigate nature and developed during open hacklab events. The kayaks are rigged with underwater environmental sensors, which allow paddlers to hear real-time water temperature sonifications and underwater sounds, generating live music from the marine world. Sensor data is also logged every second with location, time and date, which allows for fine-scale mapping of water temperatures and underwater noise that was previously unattainable using standard research equipment. The system can be used as a citizen science data collection device, research equipment for professional scientists, or a sound art installation in its own right.’
Plus Biology features works of exceptional significance, originality, and relevance in all areas of biological science, from molecules to ecosystems, including works at the interface of other disciplines, such as chemistry, medicine, and mathematics. We also welcome data-driven meta-research articles that evaluate and aim to improve the standards of research in the life sciences and beyond. Our audience is the international scientific community as well as educators, policy makers, patient advocacy groups, and interested members of the public around the world.
You can now hear some bicrophonic pieces on SoundCloud. All recorded from a bike in situ unless the track tells you otherwise
– to The Marja Trio on Hailuoto Island, Finland. Frozen songs pitched at the frequency of the three mast’s hums;