Reel to Wheel is an interactive installation that uses old, abandoned bicycles and salvaged bicycle parts to control reel-to-reel tape machines and play 1/4" audio tape.

The work explores the intersection between found objects and found sound.  It is meant to be a playground environment where people can interact with common objects in new combinations that create interesting sounds and novel associations.  

Reel to Wheel currently includes two main instruments but new objects are in the works.
Hank's Wild Ride is made of two bikes facing in opposite directions and connected by a gear box.  The motion of the human driven bike makes the dummy driven bike pedal, which in turn drives the reel-to-reel machine.  The user controls the speed and timbre of the sounds played by the reel-to-reel by varying his or her pedaling.

The Looping Pedal, rotates two sections of 1/4” audio tape over two tape heads.  This is a loop in the most literal sense.  The instrument can make a typical “scratching” sound by pushing the wheel back and forth or it can create a different timbre by spinning the wheel freely.  In addition to the “traditional” scratching gesture, the left wheel can also be rotated using the attached pedal.  The result is a sound that builds on the sound of turntable scratching while adding other sonic possibilities.


Project Group:
Sasha Leitman, Steven Backer, Jesse Fox, and Jen Carlile.

Steven Backer, Jen Carlile, Jesse Fox, and Sasha Leitman met while studying at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.  All four are active music makers and tinkerers working with the intersection of technology and art.  Jesse Fox currently lives in Portland and the others reside in the San Francisco Bay Area.