Disquiet Junto 0224 Cold Embrace

The Disquiet Junto assignment this week focuses on something that's been on my mind for a while and that's the hum of a fridge.

I remember that it was after spending long stretches listening to 'the wires' that I'd find myself grooving along to the sound of the refrigerator. At the time I wondered if it was because they hummed in a similar key. Both seem to work with G.

My current fridge is a few years old and less noisy than some I've had. When the Junto email arrived I waited for a moment when the fridge motor started humming to try a few chords. D minor seemed nice.

The following day I set about trying to record the fridge and was frustrated by the results. It was too quiet for my Zoom H4n with a Rode NT4, so I tried the high gain setting with the Rode VideoMic on my Nikon D5100.

Then I tried putting a Barcus Berry contact microphone on the compressor, which seemed much too close and didn't capture the ambience of the sound in the tiled kitchen.

I also tried putting the contact mic higher up on the back of the fridge and found it gave a different tone and a key that seemed to be a deeper C.

Today I experimented with a few chords before settling on something that sorta alternates between D and C, I think. My partner suggested it needed sustain but the cycling of the fridge motor suggested something faster.

So I took the idea of layering up parts from last week's Junto but set a metronome at 144 beats per minute, as that was what Ableton Live thought was the tempo for one of the contact mic recordings. Then I staggered the parts and added Valhalla Shimmer to fade in through the piece.

I like that it inverts the way I normally hear my fridge. The hum of the motor is in the foreground, while the guitar sounds more distant and then the reflections increase -- much like the hum of the fridge seems to grow louder.