What is Flux Bikes?

Traveling equipment, Photo Katharina Ritter

Traveling equipment, Photo Katharina Ritter

Flux Bikes rotates around the idea of bicycle wheels as percussion instruments, incorporating world rhythms, electro-acoustic techniques, and improvisation. Multi-instrumentalists, all-city collaborators, El is a Sound of Joy. Bandmates Rob Frye(Flux Bikes, Bitchin Bajas) and Ben LaMar Gay(Juba Dance, Bottle Tree) can be found performing in an array of musical groups in Chicago and on tour. In their Duo they find the relation between folk music and stories of past and present, horn and voice, bike tires and instruments gathered from musical journeys. Flux Bikes is about flow, change, and forward motion. It’s about what you can do with a bicycle. The wheel can be used as a percussion instrument; Rubber tires, metal rims and spokes. But most importantly you can ride it!

To me it means going on a bike ride and knowing something unexpected will happen. I try not to anticipate those things but just be ready. hat we see and hear, how it affects us, its the same when I’m playing the wheels. When I start I can’t say where it will end, so I like to leave it open to discovery. Paying homage to the Fluxus “Happenings”FLUX BIKES rides, led by Rob Frye, invite group participation for an exploration of both the sonic possibilities of bicycles and of a physical space. With pre-recorded Flux Bikes loops emanating from Rob’s portable speaker, the group took off to explore Highland Park and jam along the Arroyo Seco and Rio de Los Angeles bike paths. Using contact mics, looping techniques, chimes, bongos, bells and honkers, the riders filled the city with bicycle music. Another stop was made at the Bike Oven, a local non-profit bicycle Co-op that provided materials for the wind chimes. -Stephen Burns

Flux Bikes performs with Ryan Packard on March 1, 2019 at the Fulton Street Collective for Fulcrum Point’s Discoveries: Hear & Be Heard series.

Kris Casey