A split double cassette directed by multi-instrumentalist and bicycle-enthusiast Rob Frye (CAVE/BITCHIN BAJAS/DRAG CITY/EL IS A SOUND OF JOY). While the Flux Bikes tape explores the melodic and hypnotic realms of poly-rhythms extracted from bicycle wheel, flute and electronics, the Sueñolas tape paints old-world pastoral impressions with help from guitarist Bill MacKay and violist Whitney Johnson. Edition of 100 with riso printed jcards.
Flux Bikes rotates around the idea of bicycle wheels as percussion instruments, incorporating world rhythms, electro-acoustic techniques, and improvisation. Sueñolas is Bill MacCay on guitar, Whitney Johnson on viola, and Rob Frye on the guittarra de son, focusing on simple yet evolving melodies and their counterpoints, painting somber, old-world scenes.
"Rob Frye is known as an multi-instrumentalist for Chicago groups such as CAVE and Bitchin’ Bajas. He has been a constant presence in Chicago’s underground scene, specifically with improvisational ensembles. The collective El is the Sound of Joy was a constant figure in the noise underground, and eventually gained some notoriety in jazz circles. A constant collaborator, Rob is able to give a unique voice in a variety of different kinds of ensembles, playing with poly-rhythms and sounds in his bicycle-based project Flux Bikes, experimenting with improvisational devices in Exoplanet, or exploring textures in Bitchin’ Bajas, Frye stands out, and we’re honored to have him this month. He’s joined by a cast of talented friends including Dan Bitney (Tortoise), Ben Lamar Gay (AACM), and many more." -Hideout Inn, Chicago, IL
Rob Frye has gained notoriety over the last couple of years for the malleable approach to musical hypnosis and melodic beauty he’s brought to both Bitchin Bajas and Cave, but the weekly February residency at the Hideout that begins tonight will show there’s more to his aesthetic. Perhaps nothing demonstrates his ideals better than his project Flux Bikes, which he refers to as a “social practice.” Until recently I knew that this venture generated certain sounds by using contact mikes to amplify different bicycles parts as percussion, but I never knew how integral the bike was. Frye designs each performance as a kind of sustainable ritual by first riding to the show and then turning the bike into an instrument. The practice has extended well beyond Chicago, as he’s toured on wheels throughout Spain and between Austin and New Orleans—during which he was outfitted with a solar-powered sound system. This makes for a lovely backstory, but the music Frye creates in this manner measures up to the method. As heard on his 2014 cassette Prototype (Catholic Tapes), directed by a keen sense of dynamics, he builds mesmerizing percussive grooves that convey a strangely enveloping warmth akin to West African music, with passages of flute, saxophone, bass clarinet, and guitar beautifully floating over the loops. For this performance Frye will be joined by percussionist Dan Bitney of Tortoise fame, and Kyle Drouin will deliver abstract video accompaniment."
— Peter Margasak
released May 2, 2016
LP014: Flux Bikes/Sueñolas Split CS
Rob Frye - Guittara de Son sampled on a Casio SK60
Bill MacKay - Guitar
Whitney Johnson - Viola