Saturday, 11:31am
8 January 2011

Ice sights and sounds

Instruments sculpted out of frozen water from ancient lakes

On the River Terrace by London’s Somerset House there’s a glowing ‘geodesic igloo’ (below) – the temporary home for performances by Terje Isungset and an installation called The Idea of North, writes Eye editor John L.Walters.

I witnessed Isungset and singer Lena Nymark (top) performing some of this amazing ‘Ice Music’ yesterday and wrote a review for the Guardian.

Ice Music 4

Though the performances are largely sold out, you can still experience the installation, a collaboration with Phil Slocombe and Lumen, which features recordings of Isungset’s music, projected images by Mariele Neudecker and one of the ice monoliths used for the performances. Details at somersethouse.org.uk.

The Idea of North 3

The Idea of North 4

The ice Isungset uses to make his instruments – marimbas, chimes, drums, even an ice trumpet (below) comes from frozen lakes in Arctic Norway.

Ice Music 5 Bruce Atherton and Jana Chiellino

Yet despite its elemental nature, this kind of music couldn’t exist without the technology of modern recording and amplification, which enables us to appreciate the tiny tones and changes in timbre that Isungset extracts from his array of ice instruments.

The Idea of North 1

It’s the audio equivalent of the kind of macro-photography we see in nature documentaries such as Life on Earth, and you can appreciate it more vividly in The Idea of North, projected by four speakers.

Ice Music -2

More about Ice Music and the IceMusicFestival.

Ice Music is produced by sounduk. Generously supported by Arts Council England, Arts Council Norway, Sound and Music, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Bergen Commune, MIC and Opera North Projects.

Ice Music

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop.

Eye 78 is on press. For a taste of the last issue, no. 77, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.

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