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Album Review

Portland Bike Ensemble – “s/t ” – [Self-Released]

Max Level   4/28/2008   A Library, CD

A homemade-looking release, packaged in a plain, folded-up piece of red construction paper. PBE are guys who amplify their bicycles and play the metal frames, spokes, chains, wheels, handlebars, brakes, etc. as instruments. Here we have them performing one long 26-minute piece, recorded live, divided into two untitled sections (16 mins and 10 mins) with applause in between. Creative sounds from PBE, and mostly not bike-like at all. For example, more than once I thought I was hearing jungle noises, with a wide variety of creatures grunting, squeaking, and roaring, all at the same time. Overall, this is quite a trip and well worth exploring. Note: at around 2:30 on the first piece, somebody says “here it comes!” on the mic for some reason, and while that intrusion briefly sidetracks the momentum, it is soon forgotten. I couldn’t say whether or not this CD/R is actually available to anyone, but PBE sent it to us and we’re adding it. If you want one of these CD/Rs for yourself, try writing to PBE. Maybe they’ll wrap one up in red construction paper just for you.

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