Disquiet Junto 0366 Ice Breaker

It's a new year, and we start it just like we have every year since the very start of the Disquiet Junto, back in January 2012: "Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it."

First time I made something for the Junto with ice in a glass I used a contact mic and drew a comic.

This year it’s the third time I’ve used the glasses I recorded at my parents-outlaws’ house.

They were recorded using a Rode NT4 stereo mic and Zoom H4, later exported with the video from a Nikon D5100.

I began by opening the video in Ableton Live and finding loops, up to a few bars for rhythms and shorter for tones.

The rhythms were gated and layered.

You’ll see I’ve deleted some tracks where they’re not playing to edit the video, so what you see above is some of what you hear – as you’ll only see one loop at a time.

The kick is pitched down nearly four octaves and heavily compressed.

Those tone loops mentioned earlier have been repitched as descending notes, then I’ve duplicated the track and changed it around a bit (the light blue ones above).

The first track is playing through a reverb for the higher-pitched part (up about an octave), the second is creating a distorted and side-chained bassline through a Sinevibes effect.

I spent about an hour on Wednesday night developing one idea, then another hour on Thursday developing another, and then brought those together on Friday morning in about another hour.

Exporting the video took about that long too, so it wasn't such a long time spent making this track but I have a quick workflow these days.

This is the seventh time I’ve made something with ice in a glass and the process I’ve outlined isn’t so different to 2014, 2015 and 2017.

In 2013 I used a contact mic and ended up with a more ambient style of piece, then in 2016 and 2018 I used additional instruments – but that often felt difficult to create a cohesive sound, as ice in a glass is quite harsh and distinct.

Those qualities, particularly the transients, make the project a challenge each time and I try to get better but still think my 2015 piece was my best.

This year was good but maybe I’ll do even better next year.