Disquiet Junto 116 Brushx4

Dental hygiene was the subject of the Disquiet Junto this week:
It is understood that one should brush one’s teeth for two minutes: half a minute each for front and back, top and bottom. Compose a piece of music made of four portions, each 30 seconds in length, each 30-second segment intended to direct a segment of the brushing The music should be placid enough to be listenable to at night and in the morning. The juncture between each 30-second segment should signal to the listener to rotate from one portion of the mouth to the next.

My track uses a chord progression that I'd been looking to use since around the time of the Sonar Vortex Junto. I think it might've been inspired by an alternative chord progression I'd developed but it's also got some ideas I took from a soul song. For this track I developed the eight chords I had into a 16-bar chord progression which is played four times. Some variation is provided by the bass.

My idea was to start at the top, although my dentist advises I focus my brushing on the bottom teeth as I'm missing molars and need to ensure the health of the teeth I have on my jaw. So the gap in the middle of the track is where the bottom starts and the bass licks are meant to symbolise my tongue, which always gets in the way; and when the section repeats for back section the bass drops to a low C.

The other idea with this track was to demonstrate my lack of fillings by not doing any work on the performances. It's a bit of a leap but, again, I was looking for an opportunity and the Juntos are an excuse to try out new ideas and challenge myself. The performances are all single takes and are unedited.

I recorded the guitar parts first using a click track at 130BPM and it was challenging. The strumming is kinda offbeat and the muted strum on the beat drifted out of tempo often. It was really humbling to listen back to and I recorded many, many takes. In the end I used two that were recorded around the same time, benefiting from the performance-enhancing benefits of that wonderful legal drug called coffee. These are panned in opposite directions for full stereo effect.

The drums were recorded next and I experimented with a couple of beats before settling on four-on-the-floor house. I incorporated some basic fills to keep it interesting and hopefully distract from my wonky guitar-playing. In hindsight I wish I'd done another take or two as there are a couple of hits that don't quite make the beat.

Both guitar parts and drums were recorded using my Nikon D5100 camera and Rode VideoMic. This approach doesn't give the best results but simplifies the process of editing a video. One concession I did make to getting good sound was positioning the microphone to point at the 12th fret of the guitar from about 30cm. Bass guitar was dubbed last and only required a couple of attempts, which was good as I've spent most of the day recording this track.

Or, as I told my Facebook friends, I've spent the day playing with myself. Now my hands hurt.