Friday 26th May

May 26th, 2017


Sonic bikes arrived safe at Science Gallery. Good to be here. Now the work can really commence. Spent yesterday recording Mia, so the sound and rhythm of it is already coming to life. Have also realised the quantity of text I’d selected, so there’ll be a further edit. Of course, once I’ve started to spread it through the streets, this’ll be clear, I suspect.

I’m also confirming with myself that there will be a fixed route to ride as there is a linear narrative I want to reveal. In effect, it’s the guts of the story without the detail. ie. how someone can so easily become addicted to heroin.

Positive action has been going on here. CHECK this.



Tuesday 23rd May

May 23rd, 2017


Six of the team are ready and packed for Dublin. Six sonic bikes and mute Lee to accompany. Looking forward to spreading the music made, now sitting in the machine, onto the streets there. Also to hearing Hellfire come to life through Mia. There’s quite a story to tell.



Monday 22nd May

May 22nd, 2017


BRI breakfast time, lithium battery charging on the sonic bike back up kit.  Time now to check and pack all tech. The sonic bike team hasn’t been used since Animals March 2015 and inbetween I’ve been teaching bicrophonics and making sensory bikes in Berlin. So as well as a rewind in compositional approaches, there’s also the other tech-head which simply means ensuring I have the right systems for the pi2’s.  Everything is stored and labelled and on testing boots and shouts sonic bikes are loading at just the right moment, so currently, we’re on track.


Also a good weekend in the studio which found further Elka discoveries which I’ve had to record. (..  shame she’s so untransportable, or do I just need a roady as someone said?.. )  and there’s been clear thought with the editing knife sharp.  Hellfire is also slimmed to 37 extracts which Mia is delighted with. Apparently I’ve found the guts behind the story.


Friday 19th May

May 19th, 2017

I’m completing Hellfire and the tempo has changed. Lucy Dolan has invisibly slipped ta banging rather than smoking heroin. The change has occurred as invisibly as the transformation of a pitch in a Radigue composition.

In the studio I’ve been finding the Elka pitches that make the right beatings. The ones that make the atmospheres I think we need. It’s fascinating stuff. I’m a total novice in understanding the mathematical precisions of pitch combinations and how to arrive and leave them too.  In complete contrast, I’m finding the songs Lucy hears, (Lou Reed, the Doors, Kajagoogoo, Middle of the Road, 70’s joy ha) and surprise, make some great stuff with LiSa, glitched up cuts & beats & long back loops, shitty noise and lusciously sensuous. It’s yes great. Haven’t done this in 15 years.

So. Friday already and there’s a mountain of material with much to chuck out and much more still to make. I’m also to confirm the text extracts I want Mia to read next Thursday in Dublin. She’s really up for it which is fantastic.

Time then for clarity, construction and the knife. A good weekend a-coming

Monday 15th May

May 15th, 2017

I’m back in the studio, the sounds of Dublin and Hellfire swarming through me.  The city and story are both noisy and crowded and the roadworks and one way systems everywhere make cycling sometimes wobbly.  I also want to include the southside Georgian architecture, multi coloured front doors, the canal including the graffiti-ed garage doors close to the path before the glinting limes,  the cobbled street under the bridge through to capital dockland high-ride globalised glass surfaced architecture, bankers lunching, the Samuel Beckett bridge and wind and whiff off the sea as you cross the Liffey and turn left to roll along past the Emmigration museum, the famine statues and Customs house, crossing the Liffey again over the Rosie Hackett bridge, and then up O’Connell St, the Dublin spire beaming, and round Parnell Sq, down Dorset St, left down Capel, over bridge again..(we cross the Liffey 4 times), left at the Council house, along Dame and then right at Trinity St to wriggle down Wicklow to Nassau and back into the Science gallery through the Trinity campus. This last bit is fraught with roadworks and the luas(tram) line build, but avoids the grimmer situation along Pearse St and College Green and I think is legal on the one ways.

And all this in effect creates this rolling stage. Context. Sonic landscape for composition. So Kaffe, welcome the restrictions, or rather, please find more.




Thursday 11th May – Day three recce Dublin

May 11th, 2017


Cycling in Dublin is not straightforward but the city centre is further complicated with a rebuilding of the luas (tram) lines, plus frequent wide tourist buses with drivers not liking bicycles.



However, the variety of spaces still fascinate and with Lucy Dolan’s voice (central figure Hellfire) shouting in my head it’s great.



Thinking now the piece could be a suite of chapters, cyclable as one long ride or stand alone rides for different visits. In fact I’m hearing the piece as one composition, the ELKA primary audio source along with Mia’s voice. There could even be an album. Sun is also away today and we get the good old Dublin mizzle, so yes reality check day, which of course is perfect.




Wednesday 10th May – Day two recce Dublin

May 10th, 2017


So I met Mia and we clicked as a snap lock rivet and within a couple of hours had agreed that her novel HellFire (Penguin Ireland, 2006) would be the source of text for the sonic bike piece. It’s vivid and brilliant and extracting the right bits seems straightforward.   The tricky bit as ever, is pulling the areas I’ve started to map into a cycleable quantity from the Science Gallery where the piece will begin.



Plus I continue to discover other things that just have to be in. For example …



Eagle aged 17. His stables down an alley between a street of antique shops and another of bars and markets and living independant family traders, only one fancy coffee bar in site. O and Hellfire’s heroine’s Dad lived here.


Tuesday 9th May – Day one recce Dublin

May 9th, 2017


The last time I was in Dublin was October 2010 with a much more intimate space to explore. That of Sonic Bed_London for the Science Gallery’s first exhibition Biorhythms. Now I’m here with my body outside, moving through different sound spaces and on two wheels. With Emily Longworth (SG) my knowledgeable guide plus shining sun, it’s a blast.


By lunch time I’m already thinking I have a sense of the city having pedalled through curving Georgian streets, the calm of the very full canal, bang new housing offices fancy bars, cranes, road-works, vibrant and independent and old shop-fronts Capel St kind of low rise making me think of Westerns sometimes, the backs of the old fruit market, Summerhill housing, the Liffy and a whiff of the sea on the Eastern most harp like bridge whilst of course tackling the one ways and avoiding the hills and cobbles.



End of the day? oh how wrong was she. This city is huge in variety and the finding of easily followable routes is clearly essential to get a taste of it. Also there is a brilliant compositional core to all this. That of the writing of Dublin author Mia Gallagher and most particularly her 2006 novel Hellfire.  This story’s central character is Lucy who weaves you through her life as she’s coming out of prison on her way to meet the bloke who’s somehow at the core of everything that’s happened to her. With the sound of more than real narrative that names the streets and places I’m now cycling through, it’s rich.

Even better, I finally get to meet Mia tomorrow and we’ll be figuring out how to proceed.



Saturday 5th May

May 7th, 2017

So the winter wraps are off and the sonic bike team is going through an inspection. Only the toughest can go to Dublin. SOUND CHECK runs 9th June to September 25th. More than good to be back in the making land of bicrophonics .

Tuesday 2nd May

May 2nd, 2017

I’m continuing north and am in Northumberland to explore borders. This time it’s the old North South divide of the island of Britain, Hadrian’s Wall, designed and built 122AD and I’m walking. It’s also a good excuse to meet with artist Laura Harrington with whom I worked inside and along the River Tyne to make “Where are the Wild Ones?”, a.k.a. the salmon opera. We agree we are going to complete it which means yes, a full staging with an opera company.  The riverside kids we made it with will now be 16, the Environment Agency as keen as ever and its content still as pertinent. Watch this space.