Hello & Tandem Festival

Hello! Hope you’re all well! I can’t believe it’s been over two years now since I set out with good old Doppler and some microphones…

Since my return, I’ve tried to keep this blog alive but haven’t really had much time to do so. Last night, I found myself telling a few stories from the trip and it brought lots of memories back. So as I think about it all with the sun setting in Oxford, I’m listening to all the recordings I made over the 5 months of cycling. I must say I was very pleasantly surprised that there are lots of fantastic performances that I’d forgotten about! Why don’t you have a listen: soundcloud.com/recordandride/sets/record-and-ride

I guess I owe you a bit more of an update on what I’m up to these days and what is becoming of the offshoots of Record and Ride.

  • It’s funny how things can sometimes take a while to come around. A few months ago, Sophie Ter Schure, from Amsterdam, got in contact with me to record her album! Obviously I got very excited by the idea and invited her over to Paris for a week to record. As soon as I told Jack Durtnall from London, he pretty much booked his tickets to come too! What resulted was a very special week of wonderful music and friendship. The album is finished now and can be heard and bought here: sophieterschure.bandcamp.com
  • Towards the end of my trip, I started thinking about organising a festival inviting all the people I recorded to come, meet and perform together. We had a few family meetings to discuss how this might happen. The idea slowly got stored away and half forgotten about. In late October last year, as I was walking down a canal path in oxford, I met a distant friend and somehow the idea of organising a festival resurfaced. A few months later, we and a great team are organising Tandem Festival ! It’s a three day celebration over the summer solstice – 20th to 22nd June. We’re putting music and environmental sustainability in tandem. We’ll be hosting 3 acoustic stages, 1 amplified one, workshops and talks, in a stunning 63 acres site just outside Oxford. Of course some of the Record and Ride artists will be coming along to perform! You can get more information on our website or by following us on  facebook or twitter.
  • Doppler is still my trusty two wheeled companion. The back rack is a bit broken now and quite a few things need replacing! As soon as Tandem Festival is over, I’ll get him fixed and, as I write this, I think might go on a short adventure! I can’t see why not… Might be updating you on this soon… 🙂

Voilà. Here is the poster for the festival and I hope to see some of you there!



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Thanks again to RME

It’s been a little over a year that I’ve returned from my travels. Things are going well. I still maintain contact with many of the artists I recorded and have had some come visit and perform in Oxford. I’ve moved back to Paris and have set up a little studio so anyone is welcome to come and record!

I’d like to thank RME again for their wonderful support. The Record and Ride story has now made it to their website so please go and take a look: http://www.rme-audio.de/en_artists.php?page=content%2Fartists%2Fen_nicholas_obrien

Don’t forget their is lots of fantastic music here and stay tuned for future projects!


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Back on the road but… by car…

Over a year after trip 1, I am now moving out of Oxford on the 28th June 2013. Before I settle somewhere new I’ll go travelling round Europe for a little while.

Sadly, this will not be by bike but by car. I will be travelling with some very close friends and a musical instruments. These friends and I form a band called bambinodelloro.com. Along the way we hope to play as much as we can and collaborate with musician we meet on the road. True to the record and ride spirit we will try and seek out interesting acoustic spaces. Equally, I will be recording other artists on the way and hope to hear from you about ideas of whom I should record and where I should go.

Although not a proper Record and Ride trip and more like a Record and Drive trip I though this little adventure was worth sharing and hope to se you on the road!

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Something I took away from the trip

Those of you who followed the trip might remember a blog post from the Netherlands in which I spoke about a project called ‘In De Kringloop’. The name of this project translates as ‘In The Secondhand Shop’ and is the recording/filming of musicians in an open secondhand shop. I liked the idea so much that upon my return I proposed to Patrik Kuiper, the man behind the project, if he would like me to run a British version of it. He did. 

It took me a while to get started and have now ran three ‘In The Secondhand Shop’ session in Oxford: www.youtube.com/InTheSecondhandShop. The first was held at the wonderful ‘Albion Beatnik Bookshop’ and the other two at the Helen and Douglas House in Headington (East of Oxford). The project has been an interesting learning experience both in video and, in recording in busy and noisy environments. The next session will be on the 23rd March at the Helen and Douglas House

One of my frustrations in life is the difficulty in sharing the wonderful listening experience of sound recording. With this in mind I’ve decided to run a series of concerts in conjunction with the ‘In the Secondhand Shop’ sessions called Acoustic Lunatics! The first concert featured the wonderful Sophie Ter Schure and was absolutely lovely! 

So at 8.00pm on the 23rd March at the East Oxford Community Center will be Acoustic Lunatics Mark.II and will feature: 

The Melodic ( https://www.facebook.com/themelodic ).
Stunning band who harness a syncretic sound decorated with charango and kora that makes you think of what would have happened if Paul Simon was raised an Englishman in Brixton.

Bird Radio ( http://birdradio.co.uk/ )
“Bird Radio is a flute-toting, bass drum-beating sensation…
A must-see live act.” Rick Pearson, Evening Standard.

Matt Chanarin ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7GTzdgtcfQ )
A milestone of the Oxford folk music scene with some of the best songs I’ve ever seen performed!

Bambino Dell’Oro ( http://soundcloud.com/bambino-delloro/sets/live-at-los-belvos )
Zany avant-garde modern jazz/groove duo on Piano and Drums with a unique focus on a intricate and intriguing live show which incorporates silly shenanigans alongside their multi-instrumental experiments.

Voilà. Hope to see some of you there! It promises to be a very pleasant evening!

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Doppler is back!

Hello again!

This time I bring to you good news! Doppler is back!

Last night, I was out at the pub and a conversation I was having led me to mention that my bike had been stolen. A few seconds later, I received a call from a friend saying ‘don’t get excited but I might have found your bike!‘. I got excited. I described Doppler in every single detail and, as soon as I finished, she said ‘I’ve found your bike!!‘. I hurried in to town to meet her. I found her in the very center of Oxford standing next to good old Doppler! Whoever stole him left him unlocked, so I easily regained my favourite compagnon and left the thief a note. It’s strange as I truly felt that Doppler hadn’t gone for ever and I’m so glad that he hadn’t!

This whole story taught me a good lesson that I probably should have learnt a long time ago: your bike is never safe! not even hidden behind a big green car in your drive way!

Also, all the very positive reactions following the announcement of the theft have encouraged me to keep this website a bit more alive! I’ll let you know about all the projects that have stemmed from the trip and the planning of future ones. In the meantime I would like thank you all for keeping an eye out for Doppler and particularly thank you to ‘Broken Spokes‘ for sharing the news! Doppler is back.



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Doppler has been stolen.


I haven’t posted on here for quite a while now. All is well with me and all was well with Doppler up until yesterday.

On Monday 4th March, after a lovely sunny day busking in the streets of Oxford I went to bed exhausted. Halfway through the night, I was woken up by some shuffling noise coming from outside. I open my window and looked around for a good 5 minutes. I didn’t see anything unusual so went back to bed. Yesterday, as I went out to climb onto Doppler and pedal to the other side of Oxford, I realised he had gone. I stood there baffled. I couldn’t believe he’d been stolen. I walked up to town checking every spot I might have mindlessly left him, hoping I’d gone to a shop and completely forgotten I’d cycled there. Doppler wasn’t there and, after going through my memories, was certain I’d left him by my house.

However, I don’t want to accept that Doppler is gone for ever. So I would like to ask you guys to keep yours eyes open for a sexy looking adventurous friend!

I don’t know his make or the dimensions (he’s always been Doppler to me) but he is metallic orange, the handlebars have yellow tape wound around them and underneath they’re wound with multicolored electric tape, the saddle is white and bears the scars of the Zadar episode (someone lacerated it in Croatia), the frame has a washed out record-and-ride sticker as well as stickers from a bike workshop in Krakow and a ribbon from a fundraising cycle-ride in Warsaw, the pedal axle is completely rusted and a little bit wobbly, it has unusually mounted front and back paniers, the rear panier is held together by plastic and metal zip-ties, the rear mud gard is zip-tied to the rear panier and has a Motherfolkers sticker on it and, finally, there is bell attached to the left half of the handlebars with a picture of an elephant which belonged to my father.

Here are photos of Doppler:

DSC00166 Photo0006 DSC00181 DSC00139 DSC00104 Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 10.53.19 IMG_3268 cropped-img_5899.jpg dsc00235.jpg DSC07811


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Last Recording

Finally, here is the last recording from the cycling adventure – the first and last recordings being from Oxford, recorded nearly seven months apart.

Before introducing  the last artist, I would like say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have participated in this adventure by performing, hosting me, sponsoring or supporting me, giving me contacts and following the trip. However cliché this may sound: I couldn’t have done this without you! Thank you!

There are many other similar projects out there that also need help and I believe it is important to support them. As they remind us of what there is outside our daily life and remind us of how beautiful and rich the world around us is. Some friends of mine are about to embark on a year long kayak adventure across the northern  section of the Mediterranean coast. The project is called Mare Nostrum and is “a scientific project, an educational project, as well as a cultural one, which is dedicated to the Mediterranean Sea and its children”. For more information please go to there facebook page.

Back to the recordings – It took me sometime after I returned home to settle back into a non-nomadic life. Thus, it wasn’t till a month later that I got round to record the last artist. I have known Luke Keegan for quite sometime now and he seemed like the obvious person to call upon to close this series of recordings. He came round to my place and we tried to record outside. However, England being England we only had time to record two songs before we were forced back inside by the weather. We recorded one last song in the front room which is cluttered with musical instruments. I believe two of the songs he performed were new ones that aren’t on his recently released album ‘Conker & The Wheel’. Voilà. Thank you for listening. 

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Little update

Hello! It’s been a long time since I’ve updated the website! However, I’ve been quite busy with plans to mark the end of the project. Two weeks ago, I recorded the last artists and will upload the recordings this week-end.

Also, I thought I’d make a call for help in organising a Record and Ride concert. I would like the event to be like a little festival where artists I recorded throughout the trip come to perform in England sharing their music and part of their culture. Thus, if any of you would like to help please drop me an email.


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Last stop in Sheffield

Five months ago, I cycled south out of Oxford then turned ouest for London and then miles of cycling and recording adventures. Last Saturday, the 8th September 2012, I cycled back in through north Oxford, thus, completing the circle. After an extended period of absence, I have always found it hard to understand what it feels like to return to a place I could call home. I am sure many of you have experienced that slight feeling of disappointment from how underwhelming it is. Then there is the excitement of seing all your friends again and the beginning of a new stage of your life but, unavoidably, nostalgia starts creeping in. At the moment this is where I’m at: a big cloud of mixed feelings. In a few weeks time, I’m sure that telling stories from the trip will be like trying to recount episodes from a dream. Before it does, here’s what I did after York.

I left York early on the 5th September and had a lovely ride down to Sheffield. The country side was absolutely beautiful although I had to ignore the occasional factory (in the cloudy sunlit sky I must say they had their charm). I arrived in Sheffield some 55 miles and two cream teas later. There I met up with Sophia from the Mother Folkers with whom I would be staying. I knew Sophia from before the trip as she played for a concert in Oxford a friend and me had organised. The next evening, we went down to a bloc of small studios that bands exploit to satisfy their creative needs. We met up with the rest of the band. As we were setting up, the whole room started to resonate with the roar of crashing cymbals, overdriven guitars and bass and, shouting/scream – In the studios below, a punk gig was being hosted… So we moved to a more quite but smaller room where we had to fit a drummer, two singers/guitarists, a violinist, a flautist, a bassist, a former band member and me with my recording gear. We just about managed. Squashed in this small space, the Mother Folkers launched into their special blended folk, hip hop, blues, you name it, smoothy. Here are the recordings: (and for more: http://themotherfolkersmusic.bandcamp.com/)

Although the cycling is finished the project is not completely finished. I shall be recording Luke Keegan to close the recording cycle! So stay tuned for a little bit longer!


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Silent Northern England

Sadly, I have not had any particular reason to update the website in quite sometime. As I mentioned in the previous post, the Edinburgh Fringe was too hectic to be able to organise any recordings. When it ended, the city emptied and recovered  at a frightening speed. I could only sit there waiting for Doppler to arrive. There was a considerable amount of confusion over the delivery of Doppler to Edinburgh. After having been delayed in Athens for two weeks, he was finally driven to London and as far as the couriers where concerned he needed to go no further. They didn’t bother getting in contact to say it had arrived. Luckily, worried it wouldn’t arrive when they had promised, I called to find out I had to pay a new courier (and an extra fee) to get it to Edinburgh. I had no other choice but accept and sit and wait… I was told it would arrive between 9am and 5pm on the 29th.  By 4.45pm on that day I was slowly realising it wasn’t going to arrive when promised. I called the courier company and indeed, they’d had a busy day and ran out of time for delivering Doppler. The best they could do is deliver the next morning  round 10am…

Tired by not being able to act upon the inefficiency of these companies, as soon I hung up, I borrowed a bike from a friend. I cycled the 15miles in the rain to the depot, got hold of Doppler, had a little cry of relief, put him back together and cycled back with both bikes.  Finally, I was set to leave early the next day.

And now as I don’t have any recordings I thought I’d share a few photo’s from my trip down from Edinburgh to York:

Above. The good old royal mile where the Pinch in Love team , next to a ridiculous amount of other performers, flyered nearly every day through the fringe. Seeing the mile like this may seem surreal for the fringe people who’ve never seen Edinburgh outside the festival.


Above. Crossing the border from Scotland into England! First stop, tea with bacon and egg sandwich…


Again.. Above. My resting point for the night featuring a beautiful sunset!


Above? Doppler in Seahouses’s port.



Above! After cycling in Croatia, me and Doppler were trying to get used to the idea of tides.

Tomorrow, I shall be cycling to Sheffield where I know I’ve got someone to record! And it’s not just anyone, it’s the Mother Folkers!


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