the sound file is an excerpt of the hour long piece.

plywood box
stereo sound composition

suspension follows a lineage of sound works i have done using my car towards the creation of sound works. the first, done in 1999, was called 8 windows and was composed using the sounds of 8 contact microphones taped to various parts of my car while driving along the pasadena fwy. i created a 4 channel audio work for an empty space, and attempted to create a kind of private sanctuary to reference all of the time i spend in my own car (which has 8 windows). the second work was commissioned for a european radio project and was called “the bumps of surfaces” in this case i wanted to use my car to play instruments. i placed a banjo and a lap steel guitar in the back of my car while driving from los angeles to santa barbara. i recorded the banjo as it bounced up and down in the car, and on the way home i recorded the lap steel guitar – the movements of the car on the road determined all of the sounds being made – and the car was “playing” the instruments. i layered both forwards and backwards versions of the recordings to create a kind of compressed contour map of multiple views of the same road.

with “suspension”, i wanted to push some of the ideas of these past works forward, using an installation object as a kind of listening station. to make the initial recordings, i prepared a cardboard box with a child’s glockenspiel inside it, and various nails and paperclips hanging from fishing line over it. it was then sealed with packing tape with a microphone inside, connected to a digital tape recorder on the outside. while driving along I10, the clips and nails hit various notes on the glockenspiel whenever there was a bump or surface shift to the road.

instead of simply presenting the recording as a kind of document of the road’s surface, i decided to use these recordings as source materials for a new sound composition. every sound in the resulting work came from the recordings of the sound box in my car, but the sounds have been fragmented, looped, layered, and their pitches shifted. the resulting soundscape essentially came from taking the sound document of the drive apart, looking at the pieces through a microscope and rebuilding the whole thing with the parts in different places. the intention is to create a work of wandering introspection that becomes a surrogate “thinking space” – a mirror of the space that the car and long highway drives create for me… the sounds, like the scenery from a speeding car window, pass by the listener in a kind of suspended time, a slow moving screen of things blending into each other…