Sound Cast of Matanuska Glacier explores the sonic physiography of Matanuska Glacier in Alaska. Glaciers reside at the threshold between mountain and ocean, and they are highly susceptible to global warming. With its headwaters in the Chugach Mountains, Matanuska Glacier provides an indicator of the health of the region in a time of rapid climate change. The piece was composed for the US State Department for President Obama’s 2015 GLACIER Conference in Alaska.
Sonic Physiography of a Time-stretched Glacier applies time stretching to glacial melt to slow global warming. The music features a field recording of glacial melt gradually slowed until time stands still. A new harmonic world of sound emerges from the inherent frequency components of the glacier’s droplets of melting ice. Interactive software allows the percussionist’s performance to control the rate of time stretching. The piece was commissioned by Brandon Bell.
Threnody (Sikuigvik) was composed for an installation at the Anchorage Museum of Art by a team of architects and designers led by Garrett Burtner, on the occasion of the GLACIER Conference at which the world’s Arctic world leaders gathered to address urgent climate change issues. In the installation, this music emanated from within a giant block of glacial ice. The music is composed from the unique sound of Aialik glacier, where calving ice is pulled out by the tide as it melts in the warmer water of the Gulf of Alaska. Aialik is a tributary of the Harding Ice Field which formed in Pleistocene Epoch about 23,000 years ago. As the pieces of glacial ice melt, cavities of the ancient air trapped inside the glacier enter into our atmosphere, creating small popping sounds. In Threnody (Sikuigvik) these sounds create the texture, combined with a computer- generated sonification of the glacier.
Syntax of Snow for amplified snow and glockenspiel quartet explores the material from which glaciers form. The piece matches notes on the glockenspiel with performative gestures on the snow, amplified by microphones in the snow. Each performer plays bells with one hand and snow with the other, as if they are one instrument. In this way the notation extends the syntax of musical notation to the snow itself. The piece employs a “drifting” harmonic approach in which sonorities gather and persist as they are shaped by the new input. For people and animals in the north, the sound of snow reveals essential information about the environment such as the year, month, day and time of day; the past weather conditions; contours of the landscape; and the plants and the wildlife in the area. Glaciers form when compacted snow becomes so dense that air can no longer enter or escape from it. The piece was commissioned by Trevor Saint.
Muir Glacier, 1889-2009 was commissioned by the Anchorage Museum of Art for the Alaska Gallery to accompany the Thomas Hill painting, Muir Glacier, 1889. Since Hill painted his piece in 1889, Muir glacier has experienced a ruinous melt and retreat. The tidewater glacier left the water altogether by the early 1990s and continued to shrink up the valley away from Muir Inlet, until it disappeared from sight from the original location, as noted by USGS in 2009. This music sonifies Muir Glacier’s transformation from a tidewater to a terrestrial glacier, using measurements of the ice retreat over 120 years to modulate glacier recordings. The characteristic sounds of a tidewater glacier gradually morph into the sounds of a terrestrial thinning glacier. The new sound work was presented originally along with the Thomas Hill painting, bringing a sonic reinterpretation of this romantic visual work.
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Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.
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