We're smack-dab in the middle of winter and baby, it's cold outside (or so I've heard; I live over in LOL). I imagine that it might be tough to find the beauty in yet another day of sub-zero temperatures, but for some enterprising creative types, bone-chilling frost is more than a major nuisance—it's the stuff that musical dreams are made of.
Here, we've rounded up eight examples of people using instruments composed entirely of ice, resulting in sonic experiments that range from simple percussion to incredibly intricate orchestral stylings. They're beautiful and a bit weird; huddle up around the space heater and enjoy.
Ice Music Festival, Geilo, Norway
Terje Isungset is a Norwegian musician and composer who has been honing his talents since 1999, and today might be the most famous ice maestro in the world. This weekend is his time to shine, as the first full moon of the year will kick off the the ninth annual Ice Music Festival in the mountains of Geilo, Norway. For three days and nights, performers will play ice cellos, harps, horns, drums, and more. I've been listening to these tracks online and the effect is hauntingly beautiful through my tinny laptop speakers, so I can only imagine the atmosphere if you were there, shivering through bundled layers in person.
Ice Music, Luleå, Sweden
If you're going to be jamming on instruments made of frozen water, it seems like there's no better venue than an igloo, right? C'mon! Luleå is located at the way, way top of Swedish Lapland, and for a limited time is home to Ice Music, a sonic celebration of winter. Founder (and ice artist) Tim Linhart apparently makes all the instruments himself, which itself is impressive, but even more so when you hear the lineup: violin, viola, cello, contrabass, banjo, mandolin, guitar, drums, xylophone and rolandophone. Unreal. Points for the trippy light effects and for having a sense of humor—one of the tracks they play is Pipeline, a classic by 1960s surf rockers The Chantays. [The Local]
Etnobit Percussion Group, Lake Baikal, Siberia
This is by far the most makeshift ensemble of the bunch, but no less lovely to listen to. Lake Baikal is the world's oldest—25 million years!—and deepest—5,000 feet!—freshwater lake, and a quintet of Russian adventurers discovered that the sheets of ice on top made a range of deep, thuddy tones when hit, banged, and patted. Siberian Stomp! Some of the commenters say it's BS, but dammit I want to believe. [Siberian Times]