I'm thrilled to announce that Antarctica: Music from the Ice is now available on CD and as a digital download from Other Minds Records.
In the austral summer of 2008-2009 I traveled to Palmer Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula as a participant in the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. During my explorations around the station I made field recordings of ice, water, wind, and wildlife. I also gathered (with the proper permits) rocks, shells, and penguin bones, which I later fashioned into the one-of-kind, sculptural instruments featured on this album. These sound sources are woven together into eight compositions about the Antarctic Peninsula's dynamic environments and ecosystems.
You’ll hear bowed penguin bones howl along with Antarctic wind, icicles dripping in gamelan-like textures then shattering amongst calving glaciers, and kelp flutes duetting with the gentle snores of napping elephant seals. In this music I have sought to embody the joy and wonder I experienced in Antarctica. So many fascinating sounds! So much beauty! Stories of climate change on the western Antarctic Peninsula are also knitted into these compositions, as there was no way to make music about this place without reflecting on the profound transformations underway there. Even back in 2009, the effects of warming in the region were obvious and impossible to ignore: new islands unveiled by retreating glaciers, increasing populations of sub-Antarctic seals and penguins, moss and grass growing in areas previously buried under ice. I have embedded these stories in the music via instrumentation, playing techniques, melodies, rhythms, and organizational structures.
Wandering around wind-whipped islands in search of howling seals, being lowered into glacial crevasses to record melting ice, experimenting with penguin bone playing techniques in my studio, fabricating icicles in my freezer, performing live on stage with limpet shells and penguin nesting stones - the process of creating this album has been a long, crazy, magical ride. I’m incredibly thankful to the many, many people and organizations that have supported this project over the years. I’m also honored that the album is included in Bandcamp’s Best Contemporary Classical Releases June 2022.
I hope you’ll enjoy the sonic journey.
Antarctica: Music from the Ice is available from Other Minds Records via Bandcamp. The CD is also available from Soundohm in Europe. The album is accompanied a 28-page booklet containing photos, an essay about the project as a whole, and detailed liner notes for each individual piece. Graphic design was done by my Antarctic roommate and co-adventurer, visual artist Oona Stern.