'a high-octane antidote to the previous year’s dirge of lockdowns and restrictions. It’s a total sensory hit.' Loud & Quiet
Anna Meredith has collaborated on a uniquely unusual project. Bumps Per Minute is a commission from London's Somerset House for its summer dodgems installation "Dodge". It sees traditional fairground dodgem rides completely reinvented with the addition of Meredith's interactive musical installation.
As visitors race their bumper cars around the track, each bump, scratch and jolt is tracked by bespoke wireless technology, designed in collaboration with BAFTA-winning interaction sound artist and fellow Somerset House Studios resident, Nick Ryan. The frenetic, random manoeuvres of the cars generate a unique audio-visual composition, resulting in an explosive three-minute sonic display across the courtyard on the hour, featuring a new suite of music composed by Anna Meredith.
Bumps Per Minute ensures that every performance of the musical composition is different, creating spectacular, climactic musical moments for participants and spectators alike to enjoy around the site.
Meredith has also released an accompanying album on the Moshi Moshi label, that "consists of full-length individual musical identities" for each of the 18 dodgem cars that are housed on the track. She "approached writing these 18 tracks like little exercises, making identities that are bold, playful and characterful but without beats, percussion or any acoustic elements and relying on my skills to create melodic and harmonic based energy.'
For those unable to get to Somerset House there is also a virtual dodgems game created in celebration of the album. It can be played here.
And there's a glimpse as to what all the fuss is about in the video trailer below.
Following this inaugural installation it is hoped that the project will be mounted in other venues and festivals in future seasons.
'… a sound experience akin to drinking several very strong cups of coffee in fast succession… a total immersion of punchy, circus-music bass lines, synthetic melodies and shimmering textures…Meredith manages to surprise, gregarious fairground themes and rippling counter-melodies providing an injection of energy. The experience is an adrenaline burst, each aspect of the music functioning together to provide a high-octane antidote to the previous year’s dirge of lockdowns and restrictions. It’s a total sensory hit.'Loud & Quiet (Lila Tristram), July 2021