Superheated Water – Dance of the Blobs

I love the texture of this sound – it’s infinitely sampleable, and equally uncontrollable. A thin coating of oil, rubbed into the pan – then heat it on high for 5 minutes. After a while, the water becomes so hot and isolated from the surface of the metal it superheats (boils without bubbles). This creates the beautiful dancing effect you get, similar to when mercury is loose on a solid surface.

The recording was made on a fostex FR2LE with a canon digital camera for visuals. The single hits would be cool for super fizzy percussion, don’t you think? Sampled at 24/96 on a fostex fr2le in stereo, 12 inches above the pan.


High quality download here:
Superheated oil and water – dance of the blobs

YOUTUBE link – Superheated Water & Oil – Dance of the Blobs

3 thoughts on “Superheated Water – Dance of the Blobs

  1. Wow. Very nice, Tom. Can you explain your process? What type of oil was it? Looks like the pan was a wok. How did you avoid the oil splashing back in your face? (Not a comfortable prospect I imagine)

  2. Hey John,

    The pan has to be dry heated for about 5m, then you put 3-5 drops of oil (olive oil worked best for me) and rub it into the pan with a tissue. Try not to burn the tissue!

    This creates a thin glossy layer that lasts about 4-5 minutes at max heat. You know you haven’t got enough oil if the water evapourates on contact.

    Then, tentatively (!) throw some water in there!

    Clearly taking note never to mix larger quantities of boiling oil and water…be careful.

    As the water is superheated it explodes and forms again.

    I repeated this several times, and had no nasty results. Just remember, lots of heat.

    I turned off the gas to get cleaner recordings, the big wok held the heat for ages.



  3. Visually this was awesome! Near the end where the large pool of water had 3 bubbles that would randomly come and go was great, awesome job!

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