Matthew’s Bicycle, Amplified

Mallet On the second night of the recent Matthew Sperry Memorial Festival, cellist Theresa Wong played an amplified bicycle, in a performance that brought many in the house to tears. Wong, who studies performance at Mills College, had been playing the amplified bicycle prior to having known of Matthew or his passing. Scot Hacker had been storing the bicycle from which Matthew was struck in his garage for the past year.

After the performance, Hacker offered Matthew’s bicycle to Wong to use as her instrument (with Stacia’s permission); she accepted. After some cleanup and distengling of gears and brakes (the bike was in amazingly good shape, considering), the bicycle was delivered. Theresa found Matthew’s bicycle wonderfully resonant and full of surprising sounds. After a few minutes of orientation, she improvised a piece for Matthew in her Oakland loft. A wild dove had been hanging out in the loft for a few days, and we imagined it to be Matthew’s visiting spirit.

There are two versions of the performance here:

– An audio-only version of the complete performance (5:20, mono, 3MBs), captured directly from Wong’s amp (click to listen; to save, right-click (Mac: Ctrl-click) and choose Save.

– An edited set of video excerpts (including the dove), showing the bicycle being played. 2:48, 6MBs. Requires QuickTime.