Scott Smallwood - Desert Winds: Six Windblown Sound Pieces and Other Works

Scott Smallwood - Desert Winds: 6 Windblown Sound Pieces & Other Works

1. Debris: These sound materials come from a large debris pile outside of abandoned Building 1819 at the Wendover Air Field, run by the U.S. Air Force. The items in this debris pile included bed springs, metal scraps, paper, car body parts, and long concrete pipes.

2. Night Walk: On the evening of July 18 between 10 p.m. and midnight, I took a sound walk around the area of Wendover Air Field. Some of the interesting sounds encountered included a large metal scrap being blown against a chain-link fence, a window frame on an abandoned shed being rattled by the wind, and pieces of plastic and paper caught in the brush. In the background, one can also hear the sounds of Wendover at night: the distant interstate highway, crickets chirping, dogs barking, etc.

3. Rusted Womb of Bomber: The sounds in this piece come from the inside of the Enola Gay Hangar on the Wendover Air Field, record­ed on the windy evening of July 18, 2001. This large, rusting hangar housed the Enola Gay during WWII.

4. Wind Tunnels: For this piece, I recorded the wind inside of the four large concrete tubes that make up Nancy Holt's "Sun Tunnels", a large sculpture/installation, built in 1976. The sculpture is located in the Utah desert, 50 miles north of Wendover, near the small ghost town of Lucin.

5. Chest & Chair: It is not unusual to find odd things lying abandoned in the desert: rusty hulks of automobiles, old refrigerators, furni­ture, etc. On one trek I encountered an old chest and, a few yards away, a recliner chair, which were squeaking and rattling in the heavy winds. The materials for Chest & Chair were taken from field records of these noises.

6. Ruins of Clang: The sound materials for this piece come from the ruins of James Harbison's "Wall of Clang," a sound installation made of found metal materials, arranged to clang together as a result of the strong desert winds. This installation, a prototype for a larger work, was built in the summer of 1998 on the site of the Reilly Chemical Salt Works, 5 miles east of Wendover, Utah. After three years, ruins of the installation are still standing and making sound. The recordings used for this sound piece were made on July 16, 2001.

7. Lucin: Songbirds in the oasis of Lucin.

8-10. Variations on a Door (no sigh): Sound source: the door of the men's restroom at the 2000 ICMC in Berlin. Recording made by John flitch.

11. Trojan Chant: Sound sources: CSU Trojan fans chanting in LAX Airport, waiting for the arrival of the team.


All compositions composed and produced by Scott Smallwood. C © 2002. Sound materials for Desert Winds recorded on location in the Great Salt Lake Desert region in Utah.

Mastered and Produced by Scott Smallwood at the iEAR Studios, Troy, NY. CO artwork and documentation photographs by Scott Smallwood.

This project was made possible through support from the Center for Land Use Interpretation. CLUl is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to the increase and diffusion of information about how the nation's lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived. For more information, see


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