Formed in 2005 from a variation of previous works and collaborations, LBO compromises many elements of the individuals in the band.
In the words of Owen Thomas:
“As for the Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra (drums, bass, vocals, overhead projector, post-it notes, CDRS and bicycle), it is beside the point to analyse with hindsight. Unrelentingly experimental, their performance was visual and theatricial as much musical, embodying an almost Dadaist approach to spontaneous creativity which was child-like in its exuberance, playfulness and wandering sense of purpose”
The group operates in an as yet undefined area between intuitive ritualised musical theatrical performance and shared collective improvising around musical and lyrical themes developed by all members of the group. There are various aims and objectives.
– To function as an accepted method of therapy for members to express and explore ideas and behaviors in forms that would be unacceptable outside the realms of performance.
– As a theoretical machinery that allows the musicians and audience to interrogate their own ideas of the boundaries and interrelations between sound, music, tone, vibration, movement, theatre, performance, spectacle, art, and catharsis.
– As an ongoing process of instrument building, adaptation and reclamation from that which is not specifically an instrument but with which sound can be made. This use of scrap, discarded and recycled objects rebuilt as instruments locates a utilitarian power with the players and for anyone who wants to imagine and construct their own instruments.
“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.”
“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.”