University of Arizona Soundings

Curving Arcades Sounding

Curving Arcades at the east UA campus entrance off Campbell Avenue was created by Athena Tacha and installed in 1981.

The work consists of three independent sections of 16-foot-high split sheets of steel bolted to a submerged concrete base and painted in shades of blue on one side and red on the other.

Placing the contact microphones at one end of the sculpture and playing it at the opposite end (roughly 100 or so feet away) sends out vibrations that distort and morph wildly.



Stainless Steel Mystery Sounding

Mystery Sculpture: Located in front of the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre this polished stainless steel sculpture I believe was created by Dennis L. Jones who has similar works on campus.

This work is hollow and without visible seams, giving it a lush low end resonance quality that is immediately noticeable upon listening.

The interior of this sculpture captures external sounds (buses, birds, voices) and feeds them back in a drones.

The sculpture is mounted on a hollow metal base which adds to the acoustics.

For this sounding I used my fingertips and a soft mallet (cotton wrapped in fabric).

Warning: Deep subsonic tones can blow out speakers not up to the task.


mystery sculpture

Silvertone Alumni Bench Sounding

Located throughout the Alumni Plaza in the center of campus are numerous Silvertone Alumni Plaza benches in groups of four and five.

Acoustically each bench offers unique Gamelan and bell-like tones when struck.

In time I discovered the vibrations can set off the support railing and seat lattice/ scaffolding with natural feedback of sorts.

The location also features a steady drone of cicadas which is featured on the recording.


silvertone bench

Glyph Sounding

Created by Donald Haskin, Glyph is a 15-foot, 2800-pound stainless steel sculpture designed to resemble an abstract American Indian petroglyph.

This sculpture is sonically more dense than it appears.

However, there are locations that create tones not unlike a tabla. I played Glyph using finger tips and a rubber wrapped alligator clip.




Student Union Sounding

This central UA campus building contains design elements meant to mirror the U.S.S. Arizona which sank in Pearl Harbor.

In one section of the building is a fountain of sorts, consisting of two anchor chains with flowing water  housed in a subterranean location with phenomenal acoustics.

A straight sound portrait of this ambient location was recorded.


student memorial

Front Row Sounding

This work by environmental sculpture Barbara Grygutis is located in the Arts Oasis of the Fine Arts Complex.

Played with finger tips and soft mallets, the oversized hollow bronze chairs dramatically change in tone based on where they are played and how much they have become heated by the sun.


front row

Border Sculpture Sounding

This work built by Taller Yonke (two artists with whom I had collaborated to affix actual instruments to the real border wall in Nogales: Mexico ~ Work Pending) is meant to resemble the border wall in Nogales with giant figures supporting it.

Ironically The Taller Yonke version seems to be better built than the actual wall, so I took to playing the giant figures with soft mallets, developing a “heart-beat” rhythm on the warm sounding steel.



University of Arizona Sounding (Transitive Mix)

This work is a multi-tracked compilation of the sculpture soundings mixed with ambient recordings to create an immersive portrait.


Espresso Art Expulsion


I've begun a collection of recordings featuring improvisations on public Tucson pianos.

This second one is from Espresso Art Cafe.

The cafe environment has a faux hip vibe with high prices and burnt tasting coffee (The man in bowler hat wearing a scuba diving mask pretty much says it all).

However they have a piano!

Naturally, I stopped by and opened with a little Terry Riley, Thelonious Monk, Cecil Taylor, Borah Bergman in a blender kind of improvisation thing.

You know, to test the limits of the guy in a bowler hat hipness vibe.

And as expected, the manager quickly and politely showed up.

Now is that a real poncho or a Sear's poncho...