The instructions for the Disquiet Junto this week were "simple":
You will make four recordings of yourself walking. You will then combine those recordings as you see fit into a single original piece of music. You will add nothing to the four recordings. You can cut up and otherwise transform the source audio as you see fit, but it should always be recognizable as the sound of walking. The resulting track will explore various themes, including texture, rhythm, percussion, momentum, and the inherent musical qualities of field recordings.
Simple but easy to complicate. I began thinking about ways to record footsteps, like using a contact microphone on a nearby metal footbridge, but decided I should see what sounds I could get from different footwear and try to capture them sounding more like they do.
My shoes are all sneakers and they had different squeaks on the tiles in the kitchen. I decided to work with those and used my Rode NT4 microphone to make the most of the stereo effect as I walked around the room.
I experimented with different microphone positions and different shoes and also recorded one take barefoot to emphasise a couple of creaks.
After settling on four recordings, I sought short loops to find percussive tones. These were gated and given a little EQ for definition. Ableton's Beat Repeat was used for the variations.
There were a few different loops using the four recordings and one using four loops from one recording but only one collection caught my ear, which is the main part of this track. It seems to swing in a way my other loops did not. In the middle-eight section I changed the pitches of some loops.
The title 'Dubbed Step' doesn't really capture the style of this track but I liked it too much not to use it.
This song reminds me of basketball, particularly a Michael Franti lyric about "the squeaking of the sneakers and the echo in the hall". This afternoon I played it to my partner and suggested some of the sounds might not be recognisable as walking. "The Junto haven't seen you walk," she replied, which has some merit as my walk has been mocked and ridiculed at times. Her father once remarked it "looks like there's something up his backside and he enjoys it"!
Anyway, I think this is my 30th Junto.