Video: Making Awesome Music With Just a Bike

Jan 15, 2014 at 16:17
Jan 15, 2014
by Tyler Maine  
 
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“Bespoken” on iTunes
“Bespoken (Inverted MTB Remix) on iTunes
“Bespoken” - A breakdown of selected sound elements

Composer Johnnyrandom breaks new ground with musical compositions made exclusively from everyday objects. His debut single, “Bespoken”, explores the full potential of sounds generated from bicycles and their components, transcending the role of traditional instrumentation as the accepted method for creating beautiful and thought-provoking music. The following video gives a glimpse into the creative process behind this unique composition.



Original Music Composition & Sound Design: Johnnyrandom
Mastered by AudibleOddities: audibleoddities.com
Director of Photography: Devin Whetstone devinwhetstone.com
Editor: Blake Bogosian, Beast blakebogosian.com
Colorist: Eric Pascua, Beast
Motion Design: Chris Kelly chriskel.ly
Producer: Flip Baber

Note: Matt Dennison's bike symphony still takes the cake in this department.
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68 Comments

  • + 155
 now get the screachin sound of some wet cold disc brakess and you got yerself one a dem dub step songs.
  • + 19
 add with that a pro 2 or a chris king and you've got a winner
  • - 10
 nah man frofile elite or stealth
  • + 1
 There's some disc rotors being abused in there, for sure. I abused a whole variety of them... If you suspend them by a matrix of dental floss and hit them with a plastic mallet, they'll sustain like a gong for 60 seconds.
[Reply]
  • + 14
 When he was using the bow on the spokes I thought it was just someone trying to stop with avids!
  • - 1
 Wades is much better.
  • + 5
 imo they are both great Smile
  • + 3
 actually Matt made a video before the one he made for wade www.pinkbike.com/video/184472
  • + 10
 To me, such a concept doesnt get "old" until it has been executed properly. The "making music only with object X" formula has been used in sooo many different ways, Im sure the bike versions (as ususal with "creative" things) were some of the last to the party. The usual problem with these experiments is that the people composing the songs oftentimes have no musical background. Its sometimes seems like more of a video cutting exercise. And its simply a shame seeing a great idea realised below its potential just because the filmmaker didnt collaborate with a musician.

Granted, The Simmons video avoided this problem by choosing a catchy simple song that everybody already knows, and while that made it easier for the viewer to understand how the song came together, the musical quality was sacrificed in the process,So this time, from what I can tell, its finally a "real" song thats come out of it, something I would actually listen to for its musical qualities and not just because its based on a fancy concept. Well done. Couldve been a bit stronger on the video side, but I guess you cant have everything. Id love to see the above video used as an intro and then have a full music video that includes all kinds of bike riding and focuses on cycling cultures and the charm of moving on two wheels...
  • + 3
 Wades sounds cool but its just rough mimicking. This is completely refined and actually sounds like music. Wades sounds like music been imitated in a raw unconventional way. This sounds like music itself you wouldn't even know its been created on a bike. This is far better in my opinion.
  • + 2
 Actually, I did it before Matt and Wade did it. Wink

vimeo.com/20719368
  • + 2
 I agree with TrueLies comments, that is what we did and how we approached our project. The vimeo link above is just the song and edit. It was actually part of a 10 minute doc that debuted at the 2009 Bicycle Film Festival in NYC.
The main video shows how we sampled and composed the song.

The sounds were handed over to an actual musician and he processed and arranged the sounds to make a song.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSJLEd-PRpY
  • + 2
 I think the next step would be to create a bicycle (or group of bicycles) that actually perform a song while being ridden. All powered by mechanical force in true time.
  • + 1
 @singlespeedtoday: Someone just tweeted me about a concept someone developed that enables the end of handlebars to "whistle": obviousmag.org/en/archives/2008/11/sound_from_wind_musical_bicycle.html I recorded tons of handlebars, mostly by using a cork on one end, then filing the tubing with water to get different pitches. I didn't use those sounds in "Bespoken" because it sounded a little too much like Zamfir: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ISe0fdoaPs
  • + 2
 @midbestdj @singlespeedtoday @leon-forfar @TrueLies @slidways @warden13

I always get a laugh when people claim that something is “original” and/or “first”, no matter what the medium is… As if anyone existed outside of cultural influence and/or education. I view it as a layer cake: Humanity has always built upon the achievements of those who existed before them...

Baron Karl von Drais invented the first bike (the “velocipede”) in 1817. You could say that this was an “original” idea, but how clever would Karl be without his education regarding structural engineering, physics or the most basic concept of the wheel itself? Regarding music, humans can’t even take credit for inventing the first simple melodies - That credit goes to the birds who sung during the Jurassic Period 200 million years ago. (That’s pre-Zappa, although some might say that Wade did it first or sounded cooler)

On that note (no pun intended) if we’re going to be chronological, I did a bike arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” for Specialized in 2006. (pre-Wade, but not exactly confirmed on this thread) I think that TrueLies said it best: It’s not about who did something “first”: It’s about who did something better. However, that is where things can get completely subjective…

Anyway, I am completely fascinated by the sounds of everyday objects. I have chosen to focus on these sounds as my medium. I want to use these sounds in a context that nobody has ever heard before… Not some abrasive, repetitive bullshit that some pretentious a*shole calls “art” or “music”: I want to create something that is beautiful and unprecedented… I want to inspire those around me. When you think of the progressive, layer cake of humanity, it’s not too much to expect, in my opinion. I hope I can deliver. Smile
  • + 1
 I see my comment has been blown out of proportion. I'm not really up to date on my "bicycle music" I was just pointing out another cool video of a similar concept.
  • + 1
 Also for the record: I love Wade's arrangement of "Smoke on the Water" and Roger Lima's original music too!
  • + 1
 @midbestdj - No worries. It's a pretty cool discussion, in my opinion. Btw, someone recently told me, "Zappa did it first? Samuel Goss invented the Musical Bicycle in 1899." Go figure!
[Reply]
  • + 12
 Sounds a lot like bonobo music, it's very enjoyable
  • + 1
 Love his music. Bonobo is super talented.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 This is awesome! You took it to the next level.. I made something similar a few years back. Cheers! vimeo.com/24466346
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  • + 6
 That's amazing. He used a bike, and it sounds better than most modern day music that use hundreds of thousands of dollars of computers to make it sound decent... Razz
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  • + 3
 I had this thought that it would good to have bike-made music with an accompanying video of the pits. start in close with one mechanic in a workshop then pan out to all the various workshops at an event. The symphony of the wrench monkeys breathing life into the ride event
[Reply]
  • + 6
 If he used a mountain bike you wouldn't hear anything cause of narrow wide and clutchBig Grin
  • + 6
 I actually used both! One of the bass lines is from a guitar pick on a sustained speed MTB tire. The other is from a tuned derailleur cable using an Ebow.
  • + 2
 @johnny you da man johnny
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This is brilliant, I like how it actually sounds like music, the other ones out there sound exactly like a dude mimicking a song with a bike. This actually sounds like legitimate music you wouldn't even know its been created on a bike. amazing work.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This guy stole my idea. Two weeks ago I was playing with a wheel and said "I should find out how to tune the spokes to play a song" I am so tore up right now.
  • + 6
 You know what they say... "Good artists copy, great artists steal." I stole that one from Pablo Picasso.
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  • + 4
 All that porn had terrible music
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  • + 2
 I personally am missing the sound of roost hitting the ground and of burning some scree fields.....
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  • + 2
 You buddy made my day!!! You are a genius!!!^^
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  • + 2
 One might call this a commercial for a song that is on I tunes.
  • + 1
 One might call you a reductionist. Smile
  • + 2
 I like that word. It has a very complex multi faceted definition. Yet like me it is about the simpler things in life.
  • + 1
 Well, you're still right: I do hope people enjoy this music enough to buy it so that I can create more music and keep that cycle going.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Love it... what would be sweet now is if someone took this and laid it over a sweet edit!
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  • + 1
 Cool, Pink Floyd made a whole album based on sounds and no instruments but it was never released. The lost album.
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  • + 1
 Neat..... NEXT!!!!! Rubber side down. Ride the fricken thing. Fiddling around won't get you anywhere.
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  • + 1
 Prawie jak Cezik Big Grin prawie...
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  • + 1
 thats like out of my mind
[Reply]
  • + 1
 WE NEED MORE TURKEY GOBBLE.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hope Pro 2 Evo for main vocals \m/
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  • + 1
 Love it... what would be sweet now is if someone took this and laid it over a sweet edit!
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  • + 1
 i'm gonna hammer my bike... for the "gong"...
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  • + 1
 Yes we HAVE had a long winter! It sounds cool though!
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  • + 1
 What's it mean 'just a bike'
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  • + 2
 Awesome video!!!!
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  • + 1
 gosciowi sie mega nudziło chyba Smile
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  • + 0
 Too Late , Been done !!
  • + 1
 I know there's a mom joke here...
[Reply]
  • - 3
 I have to say this idea is getting really old. While this is probably the best I've seen it done, it's lost all originality. just my 2 cents.
  • + 15
 Funny, I've said that exact same thing about songs that have vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, etc. Smile
  • + 5
 @johnnyrandom- you sir, just completely shafted @luckynugget. Well played and great song!
  • + 1
 Just ribbing a little... I definitely don't expect everyone to dig it. Music is totally subjective.
  • + 2
 @johnnyrandom- there's no reason to hate your take on the idea. There's so many songs that use all the same stuff. Yeah it gets old, but when a new idea comes out and sounds great, lots of people like it
  • - 1
 @johnnyrandom I just mean the video part mostly. As far as I'm concerned just make music I don't care what instrument used to do it. I'm just saying it's like seeing the same thing on the homepage again.
  • + 1
 @luckynugget I didn't care what instrument was used... That's why I didn't use any. Smile
[Reply]

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