‘Bumps Per Minute’ is a full-throttle reinvention of the traditional fairground dodgems, from Mercury Award-shortlisted composer, producer and musician Anna Meredith. It is part of the DODGE installation, which can be experienced until 22nd August at Somerset House, London.
For Bumps Per Minute, Meredith has collaborated with BAFTA-winning sound artist Nick Ryan to design a bespoke tracking technology so that every thump, bump and swerve of the 18 dodgems around the track can trigger a separate composition. This results in a kind of ultimate shuffle where high octane music and ideas compete for airtime and each performance is unique. The installation will occur approximately every hour at DODGE through the day/evening. You can stream/play the game here, its great fun.
The idea for Bumps Per Minute came about when the composer was thinking about what might be a more pandemic-friendly replacement for the ice rink at Somerset House where she has her studio. The idea grew from there and now this summer DODGE is taking over the main courtyard at Somerset House, featuring a full smorgasbord of Yinka Ilori designs, DJs, food, drink and of course, dodgem rides.
Today, Meredith releases Bumps Per Minute: 18 Studies for Dodgems, a special extended cut of the material available to stream and download now, and pre-order on 12” vinyl via Moshi Moshi; the vinyl edition is available in five different sleeves. Bumps Per Minute: 18 Studies for Dodgems features full-length individual musical identities of all 18 dodgems – each one a bold and distinct musical track in its own right as well an intro and outro track (voiced by comedian Rob Broderick).
On the composition, Meredith says “I 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. They’re also less about musical development than my orchestral work or material in my studio albums, these tracks are only themselves and unapologetically so, and that freed me up to unleash some pretty bonkers ideas, knowing it’s about these bold switches – like a sort of musical Whacky Races…”