Disquiet Junto 0418 Ice-Nine

Directions for the first Junto of the year are to “Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.”

It’s one of the more challenging Disquiet projects.

The high-pitched transients are difficult to manipulate and it’s usually the hottest day of the year here in the Antipodes.

I’ve made a few percussive rhythms over the years and increasingly I look for ways to make the ice cubes more harmonically interesting.

A few years ago I recorded around a dozen and half of my out-laws’ glasses, which have served me well for this project.

This year I offered those for Junto participants to use in their productions.

For a little while I wasn’t sure how to approach this assignment in 2020.

I had the drums that I’d recorded last year, when it was cooler — which is why I’m wearing a vest in the video.

On Saturday, when the temperature climbed to a new January record of 46C in Leeton, I got the idea to use the glasses to outline a progression.

So I found snippets that seemed to suggest a key, then added a transient shaping effect and de-essers to try and soften them, as well as tape-style delay and Eos reverb.

On Sunday I jammed with the bass until I found the notes that seemed to give the right shape.

Since it was a bit cooler, I put the shirt on that I’d been wearing when I recorded the drums.

I picked a fretless bass because the glasses weren’t really in tune, then afterwards I ended up adding pitch-correction to the samples to be sure they would mix.

Finally, I switched between drum recordings to give more variety to the song.

You can hear the kick drum comes in after a couple of bars, which was recorded using a bass speaker in front of the kit and then pitched down an octave for a fat thump.

Later on you can hear the drums shift, losing treble as I switched to the audio recorded through the Rode VideoMic on the camera.

Elsewhere the drums were recorded through a Rode NT-4 stereo mic, which I also used to record the ice in the glasses back in 2017.

Listening back to the track now, I wonder if I should've added another loop.

Anyway, there's always next year.

It's good to have had the project to occupy some of the weekend, rather than being absorbed with the news of the bushfires.