The Marja Trio (2013)

The Marja trio is a composition by Kaffe Matthews for two sonic bikes, Marjaniemi harbour and the boardwalk to Sumppu, made during a 10 day residency with Hai Art on Hailuoto Island, Finland, May 2013.

April 28th. The sea to Hailuoto Island is frozen to whites. The sky is bright turquoise. The temperature is -10C and sound is sharp and clear.  At Marjaniemi harbour it’s noisy. The lighthouse mast hums and the three massive Marja turbines loudly throb as they spin, always. Expecting this to be the first chance to work with the bikes in nature, she is surprised and disappointed at the din, but here it is. Over 4 days and nights she explores and records, listening and looking for a cycle route, the score, play cycling around the wide harbour area, banging along the rattling snow covered wooden boardwalk to Sumpu. Silent paths through the trees are not viable as land is owned and ground is sand, so we must use roads.

Then the two new sonic bikes are ready, so she tags digitally processed fragments with the GPS co-ordinates, loads them on board and rides out. The piece is based around the frequency of the mast hum. Electronic bips pulse at the start by tourist office moving to drones and dongs as you pedal down the hill turn left and see the turbines. And they start to throb from the bike speakers in patterns, the real thing churning above you as you dip and dive with the bike, the drama morphing as different patterns come and go.

Head to the distant 3rd turbine and the intensity increases, the frozen sea sublime and grey hard, legs pedalling, fat winds of noise harmonizing, the path ending as ships bells clatter and there is silence and you are there with the endless water and alone.

Cycling back, it’s calm and beautiful and warming, the harbour reflective, the adventure a memory till ping, you’re at the fish halle and they’re being gutted slurp, and you slip underwater bleeping tiny crunching strangely as the path trails through fir trees and small wooden houses Lynchesque somehow. Out on the narrow boardwalk, its almost techno, faster, don’t fall off, clusters of strange birds bursting out, on and on faster and faster, round the corner through trees and its faded away and the empty holiday camp is redolent of a B movie murder, clusters of strings hovering,  bees and aliens, electronic lines and  animals coming and going and bang or floating from the trees.

Where and how you ride will determine the music. Below is the route map,  here is the score of GPS zones.

The sonic bike was designed by KM in 2008 for ‘The Marvelo Project’ and since developed within ‘The swamp that was…’(2012) and ‘Opera fiXi’ (2013).  It is an ongoing collaboration with Dave Griffiths pushing the boundaries on location based software and hardware tinkering.

The Marja trio was produced by Hai Art, with special thanks to AGF for her support and ceaseless energy.


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