Hey people – the explorer Roald Amundsen once said “adventure is just bad planning” – I’m trying to figure out the reverse. Good planning leads to a lot of information, but perhaps not much adventure. I’m with a group of scientists for the next 4 weeks figuring out some connections between environmental issues, new forms of composition, and an experiment in how sound can be generated with water (using a hydrophone, for example). I’m settled in on the ship Noorderlicht, and we’ve set up our supply route for the next couple of weeks for the Arctic composition project. I’m working with several issues driving the composition strategy: oceanic acidification, ocean currents, and landscape portraits in sound. I just got here in Longyearbyen and the basic vibe has been pretty intriguing. I’ve set up a mini studio to record compositions while I’m on the ship. And I plan on creating a series of landscape compositions to mark each set of the travel through the Arctic. The compositions will eventually be presented with Scandinavia House as a series of of “acoustic portraits” and the overall project is called “Ice Music”
It’s a series of music compositions inspired by composers like Terge Isungset, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and John Luther Adams, amongst others.
To get things started, I checked in with the Norwegian Polar Institute and then checked out the ship that will be carrying us. The ‘Noorderlicht’ is a two-masted schooner celebrating her 100th birthday this year. In accordance with the strict safety rules from the Shipping Inspection, ‘Noorderlicht’ has the license to sail all around the world with passengers. The ship has been modernised and equipped for cruises around Svalbard, which it has done for the last 15 summers. At the moment, we’re moored in the natural harbor of Longyearbyen, but we leave tomorrow. I will try to post some updates when opportunity allows.
I hope this reaches you in good spirits.