Birds in Manchester Springtime

Have seen a much larger selection of birds in Manchester this Spring than I ever remember seeing before. Possibly to do with now living nearer to trees but possibly not, as the more interesting ones (the wagtail and chaffinches) were spotted near a dirty bit of the Medlock and a carpark behind the Palace hotel in town!

Thrush (Woodlawn Court, Whalley Range)

Blackbird (Woodlawn Court, Whalley Range)

Blue Tit (Woodlawn Court, Whalley Range)

Jay (Woodlawn Court, Whalley Range)

Magpie (Everywhere)

Seagull (Everywhere)

Wood Pidgeon (Woodlawn Court, Whalley Range)

Crow (Woodlawn Court, Whalley Range)

Wren (Redbricks, Hulme)

Robin (Redbricks, Hulme)

Yellow Wagtail (in river Medlock behind Palace Hotel)

Goldfinch (carpark behind Palace Hotel)

Mallard (in canal near Piccadilly station)

Dirty Pidgeons (Everywhere)

Canada Geese (Alexandria Park, Moss Side/Whalley Range)

Swans (Alexandria Park, Moss Side/Whalley Range)


This weekend…

We’re doing a couple of LBO gigs. First one is on Friday 30th April at Greenroom as part of “BIG VAUDEVILLE” in the mighty theatre space.

Then on Sunday 2nd May we play at The Kings Arms near Salford Central station (please note this is a change of venue from The Salvation Army) of as part of Sounds From The Other City. This is organised by Wotgodforgot & Mind On Fire, we should be onstage around 4.40pm.

There’s a nice little mix here of various people playing at SFTOC.

These might be the last Manchester/Salford gigs for a little while.


Union Chapel

Splendid times on Saturday at the Little Red Rabbit showcase with Last Harbour and Samson & Delilah, incredible acoustics in the space as well lead to some pretty interesting moments in our set; sound cascading back towards us and spreading harmonics through the roof. Olie Brice added some glorious low end to the band for the first time with double bass, we’ll hopefully see more of him at some point. More images at Last Harbour’s blog.

Amazing stained glass work behind the alter in the chapel too, segmented circular window with an angel in each segment playing an instrument. We could identify bowed psaltry, lute, double ended pan pipe, hurdy gurdy, cymbals, pump organ, hammered dulcimer and what looked like a radio!


LBO Album launch photos and Reviews!

Some splendid photos of the Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra album gig @ The Greenroom taken by Jonathan Purcell. Glad to say we all look demented in everyone. Full set here.

First load of  Nine Doors reviews have rolled in too:

“a Faust-like mixture of ritualised musical theatre and collective improvisation.. a scrapyard gamelan conjuring a post-industrial- even apocalyptic North of England… stumbling rhythms that echo some of the trash-kitsch of Swordfishtrombone-era Tom Waits.”

The Wire

“In essence, The LBO are about the very physical creation of music as an art concept, as opposed to being a couple of blokes chewing out a tune using a Mac and Pro-Tools.

As the name suggests you’ll typically find a sculptured bicycle being beaten and bowed alongside bits of sheet metal, bobbins, anything that goes ‘clack!’ and battered drums. Someone plays an actual instrument somewhere and at sometime. Let’s not forget the howling wails and poetic, yet menacing vocals. As the loops are purely organic, the rhythm can often get interrupted, but at times they make this whole thing sound as interesting as Eno / Byrnes “Bush Of Ghosts”, as if taken as a field recording on the Raleigh production line. Whilst 9 tracks are listed, I think the Orchestra live up to their name – this is one long piece culminating in a difficult but disturbingly mesmerising, inside out version of what sounds like The Doors.”

“Nine doors is an album that offers an insight into the bizarre, the nature of happiness, the profane, insanity and the downright weird all with a strange beauty and a sense of humour.”

“Their music reminds me of The Brave Little Toaster, but older and angrier and probably drunk. Whiling away his older years at the scrap yard. The reason for this is… LBO are no ordinary band. As you can guess from the title, they use bikes to make music with, amongst other ordinary household items. Their recently released album Nine Doors, is like Jazz on Prozac, played in an abandoned factory using instruments in the way that Blue Peter used fairy liquid bottles. On both occasions the result is unexpected, strangely enjoyable and definitely imaginative. It’s not the kind of thing you can play in the background and ignore whilst reading the latest Marian Keyes, but it will get you thinking about the nature of happiness, society, insanity and Marlon Brando. And for those who don’t give a shit about all that – you can enjoy it for the weirdness.”

Kalbakken in Union Chapel

We’re playing as part of a Little Red Rabbit curated performance at the Union Chapel in London on Saturday 3rd April along with labelmates Last Harbour and Samson and Delilah. Gig runs early afternoon 12-2pm.

Kalbakken will be joined by double bassist Olie Brice for a special one off set. Probably be one of our few performances this year due to various constraints…

(picture is a tasteful number of the underside of the Oslo metro stop from which we draw our name.)

sonic warfare

Picked up this book in a fine hard back edition from the ever wonderful Tiger in Oslo when I was there on familial business recently.  Fascinating read, Goodman synthesis’ early 20 Century Futurism, Deconstructionism, Sun Ra and current digital trends in music (dubstep and other innercity digital music across the global). The book is written in chapters which stand alone and approach a particluar issue or idea whether historical or current but they all add up to a relatively cohesive whole.

Also put my mind back to some of William Burroughs idea expressed in Electronic Revolution concerning the use of tape machine playback in crowd situations as a potential riot starting, crowd sparking device. Set me thinking about plans to build a series of sound interruption devices for the city, sited and abandoned to their own means. Ways to reclaim soundscape of the city. Plans to follow soon…

Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra CD “nine doors” now out!

Out as of today 22nd of february! 9 tracks of splendor available from for a bargain price of £6. Covers are handscreened on to heavy weight recycled cardpackaging, insert contains a super savage collage from Zeke and lyric sheet.

CD release show is this Thursday 25th February @ The Greenroom on Whitworth Street in Manchester. We’ll be performing with performance artist Ken Turner.

Also superpleased that we got Karl Marx back on prime time TV with our brief burst of fame on friday eve. Hopefully the footage will get digitised sooner or later, its currently trapped in the inbetween world of VHS. Ok so sure, Karl didn’t get everything right and people may have done bad stuff in his name but I’d rather see him back on TV than more post-modern brain grinding that degrades even further our slippery grasp of history, the past and what it means to be human and alive.