Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Nutcracker... on Bike Parts

My friend Paul (who sends me awesome bike links) just sent me this, and I had to share. Especially since Mike is a Specialized, and that's who commissioned this little bit of cheerful lunacy: The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies, played entirely on bicycle parts.

Click here for a complete explanation of where this came from and why: San Francisco composer Flip Baber says, of the process: "I recorded hours of bike sounds and edited the best chunks in BIAS Peak. After that, most of the spokes, cables and disc brakes were fed into the EXS24 Sampler within Logic Pro. It was super tricky since most of these metallic sounds have a pretty warped (no pun intended) overtone series. I interpreted the score by ear from a random mp3 I Limewired for reference. From there it was all about re-arranging the score in my head to compensate for the strange overtones. The source sounds were kept pretty raw besides some mild pitch shifting from keymapping & a touch of impulse response reverb to match the acoustical space of the orchestral reference recording. Between the road and mountain bike, there were octaves of difference (maybe I should get my wheels trued?) and they yielded some great sounds, most of which didn’t even get used…although they will end up on something eventually. Other than that, there were some automated volume swells and plenty of panning since you would associate a bike sounds with stereo movement. I hope this exposes my journey from bike to mixdown!"


  1. I think the end results were good, but it's hard to realise that every single sound comes from bike parts to the casual listener. Glad you liked, shall continue scouring.

  2. My brother in law pulled out a CD of Christmas music called "A Toolbox Christmas" (or something like that) when I was visiting him this New Year. All Christmas carols, all played on tools - although the guy cheated a little and included some synthesizers for melody. I was impressed, though, by the one he did by creating different tones on a table saw... he must have been just twisting the crap out of whatever he was cutting to make the table saw shriek like that. Funny, anyway. I'll have to show him this clip in exchange.