This four-movement quartet is based on photographs taken by music writer Sid Smith whom I sometimes chat to on Twitter. He posts pictures of the rain on his windows and, after gathering a substantial collection, earlier this year decided to ask if anyone would like to record them.
Obviously I did, and I also decided to record them as an actual string quartet, although that wasn’t a compulsory part of the brief. I chose String Quartet Number 1, and elected to record all four movements.
Most of the movements were recorded using electric violins – I’ve been meaning to do an electric string quartet for a while, so this was a great excuse. Note that there is no cello here, I’ve used the octave violins (the electric has a low C string) for the ‘cello’ parts, and the low four strings of a five-string violin for the ‘viola’ parts.
For the electric movements, the first violin is the melody instrument (as it were) so is stereo spread wide while the other three instruments sit close to the centre, so it sounds like the solo is happening above and separate from them. For the acoustic movement the panning is pretty much the classical standard quartet arrangement.
I’ve used a minimal number of effects on each movement, to keep some form of consistency of sound, but I’ve decided to treat each picture slightly differently, with different effects, to give some variation.
Violinist and synth player. Member of Dark Ambient duo Helicopter Quartet, Guitar synth duo Glider Theory and Harrogate Philharmonic Orchestra. I have toured with and sessioned for Crippled Black Phoenix and others.