Max Neuhaus – Drive In Music (1967)


The Passage works are situated in spaces where the physical movement of the listener through the space to reach a destination is inherent. They imply an active role on the part of listeners, who set a static sound structure into motion for themselves by passing through it. My first work with an aural topography, Drive In Music in 1967, falls within this vector.

Drive In Music from 1967 is considered Neuhaus’ first sound installation. Situated on Lincoln Parkway in Buffalo, the installation consisted of a series of seven radio transmitters located intermittently along a half-mile stretch of the roadway. Each transmitter broadcast a particular frequency, thereby defining a particular area or zone of the roadway by giving it is own sound signature. Listeners could hear the work while driving down the roadway, tuning into the specific radio frequency, each sound mixing and overlapping as one drove through one zone and into the next. Drive In Music existed in the ether, as material picked up by an individual car radio and mixed by the driver’s speed, location, and trajectory. In addition, weather conditions played a crucial factor in the experience and given sound mix, according to the particulars of any given day. “Depending on which direction a driver entered the piece, how far to the left or right side of the road he was, how fast he moved through it, and what the weather conditions were, the work was different. He assembled it for himself as he passed through it and for himself only.

Max Neuhaus / Modus Operandi (Drive In Music) / Two Passages (conversation avec Micheal Tarantino) / Brandon Labelle on Max Neuhaus (extrait de Background Noise, Perspectives on Sound Art)

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