Eli N. H.

“The sound of a car door slamming was not a sound. It was the sound of a car door slamming, and once you accepted this, you had to ask: Whose car? What kind of car? Where is this car? What color is the car?”
- Jim O’Rourke, speaking of Luc Ferrari

There’s a circumference, a median, a bridge. Before they patch up last winter’s potholes, they must internalize an idea of speed. Flat surfaces are integral to capitalism's geometry. There are parking lots, and there’s also the open road (an oxymoron). “Maximum circulation coincides with maximum control.” There are echoes, then inundations. The circumference falters, but expands into your perceptual space. You warm up, shuffling around ambience. The highway prefers haphazard plateaus to sleep. Distant machinations become intimate in the most unexpected and direct ways. The horn continues, you turn on the radio.

Road Sounds began as a “sonic ethnography” of transportation infrastructure in New England. Here it takes a different form. I think of this as my road journal, an impressionistic register of speed as formalized in material and ideological technologies of transportation. The recordings are uncut and unprocessed. This is not to say that they are objective documents, only that they present durations of time, rather than objects of sound. These are descriptive documents, whose composition runs parallel to specific flows and events. There are no soundscapes, there is no immersion: just a few opportunities to listen to something.


1 Approaching That Which Does Not Sleep, Part 1
2 Space 1, I-95 Median in Attleboro
3 Approaching That Which Does Not Sleep, Part 2
4 Space 2, Parking Garage in Salem, Activated by a Horn
5 Approaching That Which Does Not Sleep, Part 3
6 Car Parts Cooling at Different Rates in Jamestown
7 Space 3, Platform in Providence

Mastered by Taku Unami.

This project was originally my undergraduate thesis. Gruenrekorder published a modified version of this essay, along with an excerpt of the album, as part of their online magazine Field Notes.

"Car Parts Cooling at Different Rates in Jamestown"

"Space 2, Parking Garage in Salem, Activated by a Horn"

CD I-95 Road Technology Concert 2
Creative Commons License.