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Hi-Ten includes four original works composed and performed by members of Vancouver’s Gamelan Bike-Bike (est. 2012). In this innovative ensemble gangsa, calung, and kecek built from discarded metals and recycled bicycle frames sit alongside Balinese kendang and gongs, reflecting the group’s freestyle ethos: “using what we have at hand and what is within our means rather than working from an overly determined or unified aesthetic.” Though inspired by Balinese gamelan, their original compositions and instruments represent a determined effort to create their own sound. In addition to honoring the origins of the instruments, Bike-Bike is a pun on the Indonesian pleasantry baik-baik (fine), a typical response to the question: how are you?

duration: 31 min. 13 sec.
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Title Track Description
Tailwind Robyn Jacob / George Rahi
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Axle Grease Tony Kastelic
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Kembang Kumbang I Putu Gede Sukaryana (Balot)
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New Creation Dog Iced Cream Shawn Sekiya
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Discorder Magazine - November 2017 (pdf - see page 8)

Discorder Magazine - Novmeber 2017 (web version)

extended notes
Track 1 - Tailwind
Composer Robyn Jacob / George Rahi
Track 2 - Axle Grease
Composer Tony Kastelic
Track 3 - Kembang Kumbang
Composer I Putu Gede Sukaryana (Balot)
Track 4 - New Creation Dog Iced Cream
Composer Shawn Sekiya
Recording Session Credits
Recorded at studio Publik Secrets February 18th-19th and April 30th 2017.
Recording Bill Young and Pietro Sammarco
Mixing Bill Young
Mastering Jonathan Adams
artist statement
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Gamelan Bike-Bike evolved from artistic collaborations between George Rahi and members of Vancouver’s gamelan community. With an art practice in creating experimental musical instruments, Rahi’s artworks became increasingly inspired by the sonic world of the gamelan after joining Gamelan Gita Asmara in 2011. In 2012 he began collecting scrap metal to use as raw materials for a new gamelan project. Rahi used a metal-working studio located close to a bike shop in Vancouver and could usually find a few steel frames that had been made unusable as a bicycle in some way due to dents, cracks, or rust. He found that the tubes cut out from steel bicycles produced resonant tones that could be tuned. Bicycles from the 1960s-1980s, built with heavy-gauge, high-tensile strength steel, sounded especially resonant. Not only did each bike have a unique colour, size, and story, each had a unique timbre due to the varying alloys and manufacturing process used. After many months of collecting, there was enough material to create four gangsa, which became the focal point of the ensemble.

The small and nimble format of the Bike-Bike instruments attracted a group of musicians who were interested in informally testing out ideas and composing for gamelan. For many members, this gave them their first opportunity to compose for gamelan. Interested as well in playing gamelan outside of the formal university-based context, early activities of the ensemble were characterized by outdoor performances at community events across the city. Excited by the idea of bringing Bike-Bike to public spaces for small performances, the instruments were initially designed to be mobile by being placed atop bicycle trailers, enabling the ensemble to travel to parks, alleys, and other places of the city where wouldn’t expect to hear gamelan.

The music on Hi-Ten uses a hybridized set of instruments containing the original bicycle parts as well as traditional drums and gongs. There was a gradual process of incorporating some traditional instruments when needed to realize various compositional ideas. This hybridization reflects a kind of freestyle ethos in our approach to the ensemble; using what we have at hand and what is in our means rather than working from an overly determined or unified aesthetic. One could say that there is something very uniquely Vancouver about our group. The bicycles we reclaimed as instruments all traveled its streets and left many tangible and intangible traces on the culture of this place. In this way the very heterogeneous nature of the bicycle parts, their contrasting stories and their sounds, deconstructed and reassembled anew, reflects our own unique and unlikely circumstances of coming together to make this music. Hi-Ten reflects our dedication to the music and we offer it to the wider gamelan community.

Gamelan Bike-Bike
about the artist
Gamelan Bike-Bike
Robyn Jacob
George Rahi
Shawn Sekiya
Kris Victory
Trish Klein
Martin Fietkiewicz
Justin Devries
Wendy Chen
Tony Kastelic
Pietro Sammarco
James Whale
Jack Adams
Visiting Artist
I Putu Gede Sukaryana (Balot)
Gamelan Pesel
Gamelan Bike-Bike (est.2012) draws inspiration from Bali, Indonesia and raw materials from the scrap metal bins of Vancouver, Canada. Members of the group built musical instruments using parts from more than 100 discarded bicycle frames.
Location Publik Serets, 1015 Maple St, Vancouver B.C.
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