National Post writeup of Music for 6008 Spokes

December 25th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Jun 7, 2008

Under a threatening sky, about 100 cyclists gathered last Saturday at the track field of King Edward Public School. They braved a downpour that held off just long enough for them to create a double-bill performance of Mauricio Kagel’s musical composition Eine Brise for 111 cyclists, plus Toronto choreographer Julia Aplin’s Bicycle Ballet, set to music by John Gzowski. The event, titled Music for 6,008 Spokes, was conceived by musician Gregory Oh for the SoundaXis festival of new music.

To open, an assortment of cyclists performed the experimental Eine Brise, which consisted of riders taking stately circles around the track to chants, whirs, ululations and, of course, bicycle bells, mixed with the sounds of passing airplanes, rising wind in the trees and ominous growls of low thunder.

The volunteer performers seemed to grow braver with each revolution; eventually adding whoops, snorts and operatic trills. The effect resembled some sort of alien whale song. The performers didn’t quite add

up to 111. “If you count tandems, I think we were close to 60,” estimated Oh. Nonetheless, he was “thrilled” with the results.

As the sedate ensemble pedalled off the field, they were replaced by a more energetic pack of 16 young performers from a troupe called DancESAtion, based at the Etobicoke School of the Arts. Dressed in an array of tutus, sequins, tiaras and pink wardrobe pieces, they rode their way through Bicycle Ballet. It resembled a cross between synchronized swim and the Mounties’ Musical Ride, with an interpolated bike-bell performance of the Blue Danube Waltz (spontaneously assisted by numerous audience members).

Although Oh won’t promise a repeat performance, he is contemplating further bike-related music projects: “Toronto is becoming more and more a bike city, so I think we’re going to be seeing more bike art.”

SoundaXis ( soundaxis.ca)continues to June 15.

Credit: Sarah B. Hood; National Post