ANTARCTICA EXPERIENCED THROUGH MUSIC
Capsule Comments on CDs about Antarctica
© Valmar Kurol (2014)
NOTE: This valuable resource is kindly provided by Valmar Kurol (Montreal Antarctic Society/Societe Antarctique de Montreal).
Valmar Kurol can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Launched: 27 May 2004. Last Updated: 19 February 2006; 9 December 2006; 7 July 2007; 15 July 2007; 5 January 2008; 3 August 2008; 15 February 2009; 1 September 2009; 1 February 2010; 12 February 2010; 14 August 2010; 15 February 2011; 23 June 2011; 20 May 2012; 30 January 2013; 29 December 2013; 3 January 2014
There is no other music like the toneless music of millions of years of accumulated silence, through which come bars of unearthly colours. There is no need for ears to hear the fugues played on this ice organ. Here nature has set aside for man a domain of beauty and inspiration such as he cannot know elsewhere on this planet - Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd (The National Geographic Magazine, Oct. 1947).
In his 1986 treatise, The Ice - A Journey to Antarctica, American author and history professor Stephen Pyne argues that “traditional fiction could not find enough material in the Antarctic experience or the Antarctic environment to construct typical novels. The range of potential experiences was much smaller than elsewhere, the opportunity for surprise much less. Modernist literature was more inclined to follow Joseph Conrad into the Heart of Darkness than to pursue Robert Scott into the Antarctic’s Heart of Whiteness. Instead the Antarctic has been largely a wasteland for imaginative literature.”
If one substitutes music for fiction/literature, the above comments may be just as appropriate. The visual and spiritual superlatives of Antarctica are now frequently expressed through photographs, movies and coffee table books but to a lesser extent through music. What kinds of tunes and rhythms does the seventh continent inspire? Is there an Antarctic sound? Whatever the answers to these questions, it seems that there is a scarcity of Antarctic-themed music for those with an appetite for it. The classical repertoire appears to be minimal and it is the pop artists who have been making more Antarctic musical noises, in some cases literally. While earlier songs may have focused on urging listeners to keep the continent pristine, much of the current crop seems to hold Antarctica as a mirror/metaphor for the coldness and isolation people feel in their day to day lives.
The following is a consumer’s guide to recorded music that I have found over the past fifteen years, now mainly through the Internet. There are very few themed discs devoted entirely to Antarctica, but there are now many CDs with individual songs entitled Antarctica or about The Ice. While this site is meant to be a listing and not a critical or sociological discussion of the music, there are occasional commentaries, which stand to be corrected or debated, as well as comments by some artists about their tracks. A few non-music CDs have been included for their Antarctic content (theatre, recitation, comedy routines) but CD audio books have been excluded, with one exception where the material was considered to be noteworthy.
The amount of music being made about Antarctica seems to be increasing in recent years due to:
1) the relative ease of visiting Antarctica, through tourist cruises, for direct inspiration;
2) the establishment of Artists and Writers programs by governments of countries with bases in Antarctica, which provide financial, logistical and promotional support;
3) the increasing focus on the continent (particularly now because of the widescale interest in global warming);
4) the ease of composing and recording music with consumer oriented software and digital instruments and 5) the increased possibilities of finding a worldwide audience and marketplace through the Internet with personal web sites or download/distribution sites with digital files, without the need of CDs.
Of course, none of this guarantees that interesting, popular or quality music will be made. To return to the questions at the beginning of this introduction, (What kinds of tunes and rhythms does the seventh continent inspire? Is there an Antarctic sound?), based on this discography, the answer is, it’s everything and anything people bring from their own varied backgrounds. The music listed herein includes the beautiful, inspirational, comical, harsh and discordant to the outright boring.
Finally, many thanks to all the composers and performers who have taken the time to provide comments about the reasons and inspirations for their Antarctic-themed music. This has greatly helped to animate the discography. Any additions and comments to the music listing are welcome. – Valmar Kurol, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (email@example.com)
Classical Antarctica: Ralph Vaughan Williams
SINFONIA ANTARTICA (Seventh Symphony) by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Perhaps you have seen the vintage 1949 film Scott of the Antarctic. The background music, by one of Britain’s greatest 20th century composers, was later arranged into his Seventh Symphony, which premiered in 1953 and is still considered to be the mother of all recorded Antarctic music. The scoring includes a wind machine and conveys the struggle and desolation of Robert Scott’s final journey. It is a dark, deep, dreary and depressing work, not to be played on a Walkman or iPod on an exercise bike. There are many recorded versions and listeners may find their individual tastes and preferences among the various issues.
The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s recording of this work in 1998 with conductor Kees Bakels, on the budget-priced NAXOS label, is a real bargain at a third of the price of some of the more expensive ones. The booklet notes are informative but why, oh, why feature a cover photo of Greenlanders hunting in the ice, when this is supposed to be the South? Naxos 8.550737
The second release in 1998 of this classic Antarctic music, performed by the Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli, is no spring penguin. The full symphony was premiŹred in January 1953 by Barbirolli and the present performance was recorded in June 1953. This reissue on CD is now the oldest of the twelve performances of the Symphony that were recorded and issued on disc.
The issued performances are:
1. Sir John Barbirolli, Hallé Orchestra (Manchester), recorded June 1953; 1998 EMI 7243 5 665434 2 7
2. Kees Bakels, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, recorded September 1996; 1998 NAXOS 8.550737
3. Andrew Davis, BBC Symphony Orchestra, recorded March 1996; 1997 TELDEC 0630-13139-2
4. André Previn, London Symphony Orchestra, recorded 1968; 1995 BMG/RCA Classics 74321 29248; also issued as 1985 RCA VICTOR Gold Seal BMG 60590-2-RG and as 1987 RCA VICTOR Gold Seal 6781-2-RG
5. Raymond Leppard, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, recorded March 1992; 1993 KOSS Classics KC - 2214
6. Leonard Slatkin, Philharmonia Orchestra, recorded June & November 1991, November 1992; 1993 BMG 09026-61195-2 (this release has been discontinued)
7. A) Adrian Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded November 1969; 1991 EMI Classics CDM 7 64020 2
B) Boult’s original mono recording by the same orchestra in December 1953 was reissued in a collection of Vaughan Williams’ symphonies in 2002; Decca 4732412. Also issued in 1989 as Decca/London 425 157-2
8. Vernon Handley, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded April 1990; 1991 EMI Eminence CDM 7 64034 2; the same performance is also available on a Classics for Pleasure compilation (2002) EMI 7243 5 75313 2 0
9. Bryden Thomson, London Symphony Orchestra, recorded June 1989; 1989 Chandos CHAN 8796
10. Bernard Haitink, London Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded 1985; 1986 EMI CDC 7 47516 2
11. Stephen Threlfall, Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra, recorded October 2001; Chetham’s TBE 1013
ANTARCTICA by Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra (2010)
This disc is one of three CDs that were produced to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Chetham’s School of Music in 2009. Situated in Manchester, U.K., it is the largest specialized music school in the U.K., with about 290 students from ages 8-18. The CD was recorded live at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, over October 17 & 18, 2001, with conductor Stephen Threlfall. The two works on the CD were the centrepieces for the school’s Antarctica Project in 2001, which was done in collaboration with a number of organizations, including the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The two tracks are Sinfonia Antartica by Ralph Vaughan Willliams (composed 1953) and High on the Slopes of Terror (composed 1999) by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Vaughan Williams’ 7th Symphony (Sinfonia Antartica) was the full symphony developed from his soundtrack for the 1949 film Scott of the Antarctic, about Robert Scott’s fateful 1910-1913 expedition to the South Pole. Each musical movement is prefaced by a dramatized narration by Alan Williams. Davies’ High on the Slopes of Terror was originally written by Maxwell Davies for the National Association of Youth Orchestra, to be performed in Scotland in 2000, however the performance was postponed and the 21-minute, challenging piece was premiŹred instead by Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra on this recording in 2001. The title comes from a reference in Scott’s expedition diary and the piece was based on Maxwell Davies’ 1997-98 trip to Britain’s Rothera Base on the Antarctic Peninsula with the BAS, which also led to his Antarctic Symphony, (8th Symphony), first performed also in 2001. Chetham’s TBE 1013; www.chethams.com; www.maxopus.com; (See also SIR PETER MAXWELL DAVIES in the “Other Classical Antarctica” section.)
SINFONIA ANTARTICA/SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC (2009)
This is a superb compilation CD of British music and vocal recordings related to the Golden Era of polar exploration, curated by James Nice. The main track is Ralph Vaughn Williams’ famed Sinfonia Antartica (7th Symphony), which was completed in 1952 and was the reworking of his themes for the soundtrack of the 1949 film Scott of the Antarctic. The version here was recorded in 1953 by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Adrian Boult. Also on the CD are seven thematic extracts from the film, totalling 8½ minutes, with the titles Prologue, Pony March, Penguins, Climbing the Glacier, The Return, Blizzard and Final Music, most of which are recognizable in the full symphony movements. Most of the music composed for the film was never recorded or included in the film and only the shortened excerpts were used. It’s performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Ernest Irving and recorded in 1948. Fortunately for aficionados, the full original film score became available on a CD for the first time in 2002 on the Chandos label, with Rumon Gamba conducting the BBC Philharmonic. (See below in this section.)
The real gems on the disc are two versions of the song ‘Tis a Story That shall Live For Ever, recorded in 1913 by Stanley Kirkby and Robert Carr, two vocal artists of the era. According to the informative CD booklet liner notes, “‘Tis a Story That Shall Live For Ever was written by P. Pelham and L. Wright, and first released on 78 rpm disc on March 5, 1913 by Victory Records, sung by Robert Carr (B47, 1668). The song pays fulsome tribute to Scott’s ill-fated expedition of 1910-12, and press ads for the Victory disc promoting it as ‘In Memory of Captain Scott and his Heroic Comrades’. Two months later, on May 6, 1913, another edition of the Carr recording was issued by Diploma Records with a pictorial label, ‘in commemoration of the British Hero - a record that should be in everyone's repertoire’. It seems that Scott himself left no sound recordings to posterity. The Stanley Kirkby version of ‘Tis a Story That Shall Live For Ever, which opens this CD was released on a green label Zonophone 78 rpm disc in 1913. Billed as ‘English Descriptive’, with orchestral accompaniment, the other side of the 78 featured Kirkby’s version of Be British, a song based on the Titanic disaster. Kirkby was a popular and versatile baritone who made many hundreds of recordings. (Zonophone 1050, X-2-42486).”
In addition, the CD presents two recitations by Ernest Shackleton, one of which has appeared on commercially available historic recordings and the other has been invisible. According to the interesting liner notes, “Sir Ernest Shackleton made two different sound recordings following the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09, otherwise known as the Nimrod Expedition, the first of three expeditions to the Antarctic led by Shackleton. It was financed without institutional support and relied on private loans and contributions, including sponsorship from HMV, who also donated a gramophone and ‘a bright lot of records to cheer the weary months in the snow-bound regions’. The first Shackleton recording was made in New Zealand on June 23, 1909 and released as a 78 disc on HMV (D377) as A Description of the Dash for the South Pole. Even by the standards of the day the recording was crude, and although Shackleton claimed at this time that “I can talk much better than I can write”, this recording hardly does justice to his skills as an orator. At the same time Shackleton was under pressure to complete an account of his 1907-09 polar expedition, published as The Heart of the Antarctic in November 1909, and ghost-written by Edward Saunders. The reverse side of the HMV disc featured the recording The Discovery of the North Pole, made in 1910 by Commander Robert Peary, who commanded an American expedition said to have reached the North Pole in 1909, although today this claim is widely disputed. The Shackleton recording remained in the HMV catalogue as late as 1939. Less well known, the second Shackleton recording, titled My South Polar Expedition, was made in London on March 30, 1910 and released on Edison Blue Amberol cylinder (4M-473). An exceptionally rare sound recording, at the close Shackleton can be heard - just - asking the engineer whether his recording was successful.” CD41-024; www.ltmrecordings.com; (See also VOICES OF HISTORY 2 - Arts, Science & Exploration (2005), THE VERY BEST HISTORIC VOICES (2007), HISTORIC VOICES IX - The Voices Collection (2008), ‘TIS A STORY THAT SHALL LIVE FOR EVER (1913) and SCOTT’S MUSIC BOX (2012) in the “Non-Classical, all or significantly Antarctic” section.)
FROM VAUGHAN WILLIAMS’ ATTIC – Ralph Vaughan William’s Personal Collection (2009)
This CD is a collection music transcribed from Vaughan Williams’ personal collection of 78 rpm recordings of various performances from 1925 to 1948. Vaughan Williams’ classic 1953 Sinfonia Antartica (7th Symphony) was developed from the soundtrack music of the British Ealing Studio’s 1949 film Scott of the Antarctic. The seven short movie pieces (totalling eight minutes), played by The Philharmonia Orchestra in 1948, conducted by Ernest Irving, were first issued on a 78 rpm record and represent various key scenes from the movie and most of them are recognizable in the later full symphony movements. Track titles include Prologue, Pony March, Penguins, Climbing the Glacier, The Return, Blizzard and Final Music. Dutton CDBP 9790
THE FILM MUSIC OF RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Volume I (2002)
What may be Vaughan Williams’ best film score, the music for Scott of the Antarctic, released in 1949, is now presented as a whole for the first time on CD. In the film, less than half of the original score was used; many of the movements played on this CD were shortened for the film and have not been heard in full, others were not used at all. Vaughan Williams later reworked the film score into the Sinfonia Antartica (7th Symphony), which still remains the standard for classical Antarctic symphonic music today.
The 41-minute suite on this CD contains all the music composed for the film over eighteen separately titled themes, nearly as long as the full symphony. It is a treat to hear the never-before-heard themes and music, which has, dare we say it, been frozen and iced over for more than 50 years. The suite was played by the BBC Philharmonic under Rumon Gamba. Chandos Chan 10007
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS - SYMPHONY NO. 6/ FILM MUSIC (2000)
Vaughan Williams’ classic 1953 Sinfonia Antartica (7th Symphony) was developed from the soundtrack music of the British Ealing Studio’s 1949 film Scott of the Antarctic. The present CD of Vaughan Williams’ film music may be the first to present the original film music in disc format. The seven short pieces (totalling eight minutes), played by The Philharmonia Orchestra in 1948, conducted by Ernest Irving, were first issued on a 78 rpm record and represent various key scenes from the movie and most of them are recognizable in the later full symphony movements. Pearl GEM 0107 www.pavilionrecords.com; The same pieces were also released on another Pearl compilation, BRITISH FILM MUSIC Volume 1 (2000), which has a cover photo of a sun blaring over a typical Antarctic coastal scene of mountains and pack ice. Pearl GEM 0100.
Other Classical Antarctica:
THE PARMA SESSIONS – NEW WORKS FOR PIANO by Karolina Rojahn et al (2013)
Karolina Rojahn is a Boston, U.S.A-based pianist of contemporary and avant-garde music, originally from Poland. She has performed internationally and recorded many CDs of solo and chamber music and is a faculty member at the Boston Conservatory. One of the pieces on the disc is the 25½-minute, 3-part Tres Estudios Australes (Three Southern Studies), written in 1989 by Sergio Cervetti about aspects of the Southern Hemisphere and recorded in 2012. The separate tracks are the 8-minute political Young Blood in the Malvinas (Falklands is the usual English name for these disputed islands), the 8-minute ozone hole-themed The Hole in the Sky of the Antarctic and The Magellanic Clouds, named for dwarf galaxies visible from the Southern Hemisphere. Sergio Cervetti is a distinguished Uruguayan composer and performer who has studied, taught and composed in the U.S. since 1962. His works have won awards and his styles include instrumental and vocal, folk, post modern and electronic and have been composed for orchestras, dance, ballet, opera and films.
Sergio told us about the track in 2013: “As you probably know, I was born in the Southern Hemisphere (in Uruguay to be exact) and wanted to express my concern about those two subjects above. The third is simply my expression of awe contemplating the starry night sky while living in my hometown in Uruguay. The Southern Cross, the Magellan clouds for example. All of these subjects are deeply ingrained in my mind and that is the only reason I wrote them. In my childhood I traveled to Southern Argentina (Lagos del Sur) but never reached Tierra del Fuego or Antarctica.” Navona NV5929; www.sergiocervetti.com
These three pieces, played by Karolina Rojahn, also appear on a CD of Sergio Cervetti’s keyboard recordings, played by various artists, including performances by the composer himself: SERGIO CERVETTI: KEYBOARD³ - WORKS FOR PIANO, HARPSICHORD & ORGAN (2013), Navona Records NV5900. According to the liner notes for Tres Estudios Australes, “Three movements deal with technical intricacies and cherished thoughts about the Southern Hemisphere, my birthplace. The first is an homage to the soldiers fallen during the 1982 Falkland War. The second suggests the endangered Antarctic. The third is a rendering of my teenage years when I spent nights deciphering the sky that crowned my hometown in Uruguay.”
TRIBUTE TO MOUNT EREBUS by William Fairbairn (2013, 2007)
William Fairbairn is a young New Zealand musical prodigy who has been composing since the age of four, performing publicly since he was seven and has been honoured with many awards. In 2007, at the age of ten, he composed the 5½-minute piano instrumental Tribute to Mount Erebus, which was a semi-finalist in the 2008 U.K. Song Writing Competition. Videos of several performances at different ages are available on YouTube, including a November 2013 orchestral performance by the Greenhill Community Orchestra, at the Nelson School of Music, N.Z. In 2013 he had completed orchestrating the second movement of the work for his Erebus Concerto. According to accompanying video notes, “Tribute to Mount Erebus is based on New Zealand’s worst air disaster in 1979. I wrote the piece for the families of everyone on board after my father told me he was scheduled to be on that flight, but thankfully, he was called to a work commitment.” In November 1979, an Air New Zealand plane was on a sightseeing flight over Antarctica and crashed into Mount Erebus in the McMurdo Station area. All 257 people on board were lost. www.williamfairbairn.co.nz; www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8WhFJfo_y8;
SYMPHONY NO. 1 - OCEAN by Ezio Bosso (2013) (Web site download only)
Ezio Bosso is an award-winning Italian double bassist, composer and conductor who has been based in London, U.K. since 2011 as conductor and artistic director of the London Strings. He has appeared as a soloist and conductor at festivals and concert halls with many orchestras on many continents and has composed for films, theater and dance and for orchestras, in collaboration with various artists. His Symphony No. 1 - Ocean, for cello and orchestra, premiŹred in 2010. The present recording is with the Orchestra Filarmonica ’900 del Teatro Regio di Torino, conducted by the composer. One of the tracks is the Adagio: White Ocean (Antarctic), a beautiful and mournful, deeply reverberating 10½-minute post minimalist dirge that captures both the calmness and the changing nature of this vast body of water.
ALICE IN ANTARCTICA by Alice Giles (2013) (DVD only)
Alice Giles is an Australia-based internationally known harp soloist who has played with many major orchestras and also an educator. In early 2011, she travelled to Antarctica on an Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowship, with the Australian ship Aurora Australis. At the Australian bases, Mawson and Davis Stations, she performed and recorded music especially written for the journey, as well as music that was heard in the Antarctic 100 years ago. Alice is the granddaughter of , who was a member of the 1911-14 . Alice was the first Australian professional musician to perform in Antarctica and her musical presentations were arranged to celebrate the Centenary of the First Australasian Antarctic Expedition.
According to her DVD booklet notes: “We need stories and dreams powered by music to keep our attention and imagination engaged with the icy continent, since human activity - scientific and political - is going on there constantly. In creating the Alice in Antarctica project my concept was to unite the historical past and the experiences of my grandfather with the present and my own personal journey. There was very little time between being notified of the Fellowship and the travel date in February 2011, so I am immensely grateful to the composers who generously contributed such fitting and excellent pieces at short notice. I took with me video cameras to record my performances indoors and outdoors, but when I returned I found I had accumulated enough additional film material to create a backdrop to fit the musical program, adding yet another dimension. I was privileged to enter into another world, a world where nature is still overwhelmingly dominant, pristine and powerful. To express the essence of nature in performance is to have experienced that essence in the quiet of the soul. Playing a concert in front of the windows of the Mawson Red Shed at dawn, improvising on the beach at Davis, or imaging what music I would hear in my heart while on the heaving Southern Ocean - these experiences helped me engage with nature in a way I had never considered at home.”
This DVD includes videos of performances at the two bases, on the Aurora Australis supply ship and at Llewellyn Hall in Canberra, Australia. Musical pieces by Australian composers included Billions of Penguins by Joshua McHugh, On Not Dancing with Penguins by Jim Cotter, Beneath the Midnight Sun by Nigel Westlake (an adaptation of Scott’s Theme from his soundtrack for the IMAX film Antarctica), Southern Ocean Song by Alice Giles, Ice by Mary Doumany, Aurora Wynnis by Martin Wesley-Smith and Fantasias No. 16 & No. 17 by Larry Sitsky. www.alicegiles.com; www.aliceinantarctica.wordpress.com; www.music.anu.edu.au/aliceinantarctica
FROZEN PLANET - Soundtrack Album composed and conducted by George Fenton (2013)
This is the soundtrack for the 7-part multi award-winning TV nature documentary, which was jointly made by the BBC, Discovery Channel and The Open University, narrated by David Attenborough. It first aired in 2011 and followed The Blue Planet and Planet Earth from the same production team of Alastair Fothergill and Vanessa Berlowitz. Frozen Planet examined the seasonal environments of both the Arctic and Antarctic, with an emphasis on the effects of global warming on the polar landscapes and wildlife. The series also became a focus of controversy with global warming skeptics and deniers in both the U.K. and U.S. political circles. In the U.S., six episodes of the series were narrated by Alec Baldwin. The stately, lush, melodic music was composed by George Fenton who conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra. Fenton’s music also accompanied the other BBC series previously mentioned. The Antarctic tracks on the CD have titles such as Surfing Penguins, Antarctic Mystery, Flying South, Elephant Seal Duel, Returning Seabirds / Albatross Love, Ice Sculptures, Leaping Penguins, Seal Ballet / Arrival of the Humpbacks, The Long March, Emperors Return and Scott’s Legacy. Silva Screen Records SILCD1392
INSPIRED by Howard Goodall (2013)
Howard Goodall is a multi award-winning British composer who has composed choral music, musicals, scores for films and television shows, including the classic British programs, Mr. Bean, Blackadder, The Thin Blue Line and The Vicar of Dibley. For fifteen years, he has also been the producer of his own educational documentaries on music for TV. In 2009 he won the Emmy Award for music composition for miniseries, movie or special, Into the Storm, which was about Winston Churchill.
This CD is a collection and sampling of his music, which includes gorgeous vocal and choral religious pieces, film music and a new oratorio to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. In the liner notes, Howard explains that he has a gift for immediately hearing music that might accompany a script, film, view or picture he has just seen. Also included is Shackleton’s Cross, a quiet 4½-minute piano solo, played by Howard, written in honour of the cross erected in memory of Antarctic Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. His grave is located at the entrance of the harbour to Grytviken, South Georgia, a former whaling station where Shackleton died in 1922. The piece is one of a set of compositions commissioned for paintings of the Royal Collection, a major British art collection held in trust for the nation by The Queen as Sovereign. It was named for Edward Seago’s 1957 painting, purchased by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh after his 1956-57 visit to Antarctica on HMY Britannia and RRS John Briscoe. The music for this work has been written in three versions, for oboe, trumpet and strings, for trumpet and organ and the current new version for piano. Decca Classic fm CFMD28; www.howardgoodall.co.uk
LETTERS TO LINDBERGH - CHORAL MUSIC by Richard Rodney Bennett (2012)
Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012) was a prolific and eclectic British jazz composer and pianist as well as a composer of classical and choral works and of film soundtracks, for which he had three Academy Award Oscar nominations. He spent the latter half of his life in New York.
This CD of choral music is sung by the NYCoS (National Youth Choir of Scotland) National Girls Choir was formed in 2007 for singers from ages of 12 to 16. It has toured throughout Scotland and this is their second recording. The choir is conducted by Christopher Bell, with Philip Moore and Andrew West on piano accompaniment.
One of the tracks, composed in 1982, is Letters to Lindberg, a 14-minute, three-part cantata for high voices and piano duet. With playful lyrics by Martin Hall, the piece includes letters supposedly written to aviator Charles Lindbergh, as he was making his solo airplane flight from New York to Paris in 1927. The 5-minute track The letter from Scott of the Antarctic is the first of the three in the piece, which also includes letters from the sunken ship Titanic and Disney’s cartoon dog, Pluto.
The lyrics are: “Dear Sir, I write to you this day, To ask a favour, if I may. I pray that you might help me find, A very dear old friend of mine. He’s black and furry, short and fat, His name is Penguin. He’s a cat. A cat named Penguin? Yes I know, It’s rather odd, but there you go. I met him off the Spanish coast. I thought at first I’d seen a ghost: A cat who sailed a small canoe, And said ‘I’m Penguin. How d’you do.’ I helped him climb aboard my yacht, And said ‘Hello – I’m Captain Scott. I’m heading south, toward the snow.’ He yawned and stretched and said ‘Let’s go.’ Antarctica became our home. The two of us were quite alone. We built ourselves a house of snow, And listened to the radio. Each night we walked a milky mile, And Penguin taught the moon to smile. We lived the life of gentlemen; But things were changing, even then. For gradually Penguin came, To wonder how he got his name. Why not some other name instead? It bothered him. One night he said: ‘I think I’ll look me up in the Encyclopaedia, under P.’ He took the book down off the shelf, And opened it, and found himself. ‘By Jove!’ said Penguin. ‘’Pon my word! It says here I’m some kind of bird!’ ‘Pay that no mind,’ was my reply. ‘Encyclopaedias can lie.’ He looked relieved, and closed the book; But then he sneaked another look. And later, when he thought I slept, Outside into the snow he crept. And there, beneath a mournful moon, He sang a melancholy tune; As if to say ‘Goodbye, old friend. My time with you is at an end.’ I cried out ‘Penguin! Come indoors!’ He shook his head and flapped his paws. And while I watched, with tearful eye, He flew away across the sky. Good Pilot, if you see my cat, Be careful not to tell him that He cannot really fly at all; For if you do, he’ll surely fall. Just catch his eye, and call his name; And tell him that a message came. The final words of Captain Scott: Forget me not, Forget me not.” Signum Records SIGCD325
ANTARCTICA FOR STRINGS by JKerby (2012) (Web site download only)
Jade Kerber is a young Tasmania, Australia-based composer whose two stately string movements, each 2½ minutes, were the “first of a collection of short pieces for string orchestra depicting the events of the first voyages to Antarctica in the 19th century”: Movement I - Southern Bearing and Movement II - The Frozen Shore. Jade told us in 2013: “In music class at school we had a compositional competition the TSO (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra) was holding for young composers to write a two and a half minute piece themed on Antarctica; the winners got to workshop their work with the orchestra and have it performed in concert. We entered this competition as a class compositional exercise though I did not like the time limit, so created it as a suite allowing for a longer duration combined over the movements. I then chose themes for each movement and listened to similar music and went from there.” soundcloud.com/jkerby
ANTARCTICA – Best Selections for Brass Band (2012)
This compilation CD of tracks from various composers, played by various Dutch brass bands, includes the track Antarctica by Carl Wittrock, played by the accomplished Provinciale Brassband Groningen, conducted by Siemen Hoekstra. Carl Wittrock is a Dutch composer and conductor (b. 1966). The liner notes explain that “For his first ‘serious’ work, Antarctica, Carl Wittrock became inspired by huge ice fields surrounding the South Pole. Colourful and majestic sounds provide the composition with a fascinating view of the sixth continent. Antarctica is a free impression of the spectacular scenery in the Antarctic. Melodies are linked together to convey the various aspects of the landscape. These melodies together with their simple harmonic accompaniments make this an enjoyable work for listener and musician alike.” Carl told us in 2007 “The main reason was the impressive nature. It is very beautiful, but also untouchable and dangerous. The composition was made as a sort of movie music without movie.” De Haske Records DHR 03-059-3; www.dehaske.com; (See also AMSTERDAM – Brass Band Music of the Netherlands (2005) and other recordings of this piece in this section.)
VOYAGE (STUDY XII) by Martin Reade (2012) (live concert only)
Simon Reade is an Australian musician and brass specialist based in the Hobart, Tasmania area. He is a composer, performer, conductor and educator, currently the Musical director of Hobart City Band Inc. and conductor of the Hobart Wind Symphony. One of his works is the 11½-minute Voyage, for wind band, composed to mark the centenary of the departure in 1911 of Sir Douglas Mawson’s Australian Antarctic Expedition. The piece is on YouTube, accompanied by a few photographs from Mawson’s voyage. According to the composer’s notes to the video and music, it was inspired by the birds of the Tasmanian Sea, by Ralph Vaughn Williams, the composer of Sinfonia Antartica, which premiŹred in 1953, and by the sense of journey. The piece was first performed on June 29, 2012 by the Derwent Valley Concert Band.
According to Simon Reade’s video notes, “Voyage, for wind band, was composed as a deliberate act of homage to a very important date in Tasmanian history - the departure of Sir Douglas Mawson from Hobart on December 2nd, 1911, on a voyage of research and discovery to Antarctica…Voyage is also shaped roughly as a palindrome - the voyage is a recurring one. Mawson went to Antarctica in 1911 with the desire to set up a base that could be returned to and in doing so created a strong connection in the minds of Australians (and particularly Tasmanians) with this most mysterious, fascinating, often terrifying but ultimately beautiful continent. Voyage was composed for the Derwent Valley Concert Band and is dedicated to its conductor, Lyall McDermott.” www.youtube.com/watch?v=afPoQYArHfU
ANTARCTIC CONCERTO by Peeter Vähi (2012) (live concert only)
The premiŹre of this 30-minute Antarctic guitar concerto took place at Nokia Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia on May 10, 2012. It was written by the multi-faceted modernist Estonian composer Peeter Vähi, following a major 4-month trip he made as part of an Estonian TV documentary film, from the Alaskan Arctic through the Americas to the Antarctic Peninsula in 2010. The soloist was Rémi Boucher, a prominent Québecois classical guitarist/composer/teacher who performs internationally with symphony orchestras. The performance was led by Estonian conductor Andres Mustonen with the Tallinn Sinfonietta (which became the Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta in July 2012) and was accompanied by video projections of Antarctic scenes by filmmaker Aivo Spitsonok. Peeter told us that “While the Antarctic portion was only the tail-end of a much larger trip, it left unforgettable impressions, which inspired the Antarctic Concerto. To help portray the crispness of Antarctic ice for the audience, the usual orchestra was supplemented with 20 and 25 metre-long sheets of metal siding, used as percussion instruments.” He also advised that “So far, no record companies have made any proposals, so I cannot tell you if or when it will be recorded and made available.” www.peetervahi.com; www.arktikaantarktika2010.com
SEVENTY DEGREES BELOW ZERO by Cecilia McDowall and Seán Street (2012) (live concert only)
This is a 20-minute, 3-movement work for chamber orchestra and tenor soloist, which premiŹred on February 3, 2012 at the Symphony Hall in Cambridge, U.K. and was performed in four other British cities over the next month. It was commissioned by the Scott Polar Research Institute and the City of London Sinfonietta as part of the Scott 100 Festival of Events, 2012 to commemorate the centenary of Robert Scott’s British Terra Nova Expedition of 1910-12 to Antarctica and the South Pole. The composer, Cecilia McDowall, is a multi award-winning British composer of both choral and instrumental music. Many of her works have been recorded on CD, one of which won a Grammy in 2009. Seán Street is a British writer and broadcaster who has previously collaborated with the composer, recently in a 2011 choral work with the unusual title, Shipping Forecast, based on the BBC radio’s daily broadcasts of British sea weather forecasts for mariners. The title of the Antarctic composition is taken from Scott’s correspondence to his wife, about the extreme cold, at the end of his fateful return from journey the South Pole. For the tribute, Street combined two of his own poems, We Measure and The Ice Tree with extracts from Scott’s expedition journal and letters. Cecilia told us that “Sadly, at the moment at any rate, there won’t be a recording, though I am sure there will be at some point.” www.ceciliamcdowall.co.uk
MARCHAS Y TOQUES DE LA ARMADA ARGENTINA (ARGENTINE NAVY BAND: MARCHES AND BUGLE CALLS OF THE ARGENTINE NAVY by Special Band of the Argentine Navy (2011)
One of the tracks on this CD of Argentinean naval marches is the rousing 4½-minute Antártida Argentine (Argentine Antarctic), written by N. Mastromarino. According to the CD’s publicity and booklet notes, “Navy marches are relatively modern, since the presence of bands in the larger vessels did not become common until the second half of the 19th century. The oldest bands in the Navy were the Navy Infantry and Sea Artillery unit bands during the wars of Independence and against Brazil. Navy bands began to have regular existence in the Argentine Navy around 1880, when it began to develop its own repertoire, different to that of the Army.” Further, according to this particular track’s notes, “During almost a century of presence in the Antarctic, the Argentine Navy has contributed to the knowledge of the continent supporting or conducting individual scientific research projects in a variety of disciplines. Since 1973 it has also undertaken search and rescue tasks on behalf of the International Maritime Organization, in the area demarcated by meridians 10° and 74° West up to the Polar Circle. Chief Petty Officer Nicolás Mastromarino (Italy 1904-Argentina 1975) was the author of this march.”
Although no country has ownership of any parts of Antarctica under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, there are seven countries which claimed territory during the early exploration years of the 1900s. While these countries have agreed to put their territorial claims in abeyance under the Treaty, other acts to show possession and continued occupancy still occur. Stamps of their claimed Antarctic territories are issued annually by most of these countries and Argentina, one of the most active claimants, has for many decades been sending families to live at their Esperanza Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. Tradition CDTR020201
TERRA NOVA CONCERTO by Julio d’Escriván (2011) (live concert only)
The Terra Nova Concerto, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Robert Scott’s Terra Nova British Antarctic Expedition, had its premiŹre in November 2011 at Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge and Chelmsford, U.K.). The 33-minute work was written by Dr. Julio d’Ecriván, Reader in Creative Music Technology. It was performed by the Anglia Sinfonia and the Mechanical Electroacoustic Music Ensemble, conducted by Paul Jackson. The performance consisted of the variously paced and textured music and a projected screen show of sounds and pictures from archival footage from the Expedition’s photographer, Herbert Ponting. Also incorporated in the projection was a computer game, played by its designer, Matthew Hollis who maneuvered through the Antarctic terrain, along with the musicians and the score. At various times, this required choices to be made by the musicians and conductor to match the action on screen. The game itself incorporated three levels, recreating aspects of Scott’s Expedition: setting up a camp, collecting penguin eggs and the attempt at Pole.
In 2012, Matthew Hollis told us about his involvement: “The Terra Nova game was a project I started in my second year of my degree (2011) as I wanted to learn more about game music. I figured the best way to do this was to make a game, which meant learning how to use the Unity 3d game engine (unity3d.com), to compose a soundtrack and also record/source sound effects for it. I was inspired by the Scott Polar museum in Cambridge, run by the Scott Polar Research Institute (who were based close to my campus in Cambridge) and came up with the Terra Nova game.” The game or music has not yet been made available commercially, but there is a video of the concert available on Vimeo. vimeo.com/40801889
RELEASE 7: CONTACT! by various composers (2011)
This is collection of classical music from the 2010-11 season of the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert, which showcased an innovative combination of works, both new and familiar. One of the tracks on this recording is True South, a 19-minute piece by James Matheson, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based composer, whose works have been commissioned by various major orchestras and who has won many distinguished fellowships and awards from the classical music world. True South was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic in 2010 and recorded in December 2010. According to Matheson’s recording notes in the accompanying booklet, the composition “takes its title from flipping upside down the notion of true north. We tend to think of the north as being where the most activity is, the focus of where humanity is. I saw this film, Encounters at the End of the World, a documentary that Werner Herzog made. It’s set at the South Pole. In his film, he goes to Antarctica,…a place that attracts people who are perpetual wanderers, who live at the periphery. Looking at it from this different perspective hit me and became a…foundation for the piece. I use harmonies and sounds that have a familiar aspect to them. I use triads sometimes, but I try to use them in ways that are unusual and unexpected...There are parts of this piece where there’s a lot going on, but the individual components are actually very simple.” The work impresses with various sounds, textures and combinations of instruments. It’s well-suited to represent the dynamic sonics of not only Antarctica’s natural world but also the various moods of the character types that temporarily dwell and work in the harsh environments of Antarctica; NYP 20110107; available from iTunes; www.jamesmatheson.com
ANTARCTIC MUSIC – COMPILATION OF LIVE AND CONCERT RECORDINGS by Patrick Shepherd (2011) (not commercially available)
Patrick Shepherd, originally from the U.K., has been based in Canterbury, New Zealand since 1991. He is an award-winning composer for various media, conductor of various orchestras and senior lecturer at Canterbury University. His compositions have been performed and broadcast internationally. This CD is a private, non-commercial compilation of ten tracks, written over 2004-06, following a visit in early 2004 to Antarctica as part of Antarctica New Zealand’s Educational Programme and as an Honorary Arts Fellow. The titles included are Katabatic, Sinfonietta, Three Antarctic Sketches, Cryosphere, Meditation I & II, Adeliesong and Fanfare for a Frozen Land. The symphonic pieces, Sinfonietta and Cryosphere are each 12 minutes and Fanfare for a Frozen Land is 7 minutes. While they are all varied in their sounds, there is an overall calmness that combines the energy and harshness of the icy landscape with its quietness and serenity. The other pieces are shorter instrumental works for violin/violoncello, clarinets or piano. Performers include local symphony orchestras and other soloists, including the composer on piano. www.litarts.canterbury.ac.nz/people/shepherd.shtml
ANTARCTICA by Landespolitzeiorchester Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (2010)
The National Police Orchestra is a 32-member wind band from Schwerin in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania area of Northern Germany. With a repertoire ranging from jazz and pop music to operettas, the well-travelled orchestra has also appeared on many television and radio broadcasts and has made numerous CDs. This CD has the multi-hued, 11-minute track Antarctica (Suite for Band), by Markus Herr, conducted by Christof Koert. According to the record company’s Web site, “The four-movement suite of wind band describes the journey of English navigator James Weddell through the Antarctic, in search of the mystical Aurora Isles.” James Weddell, a sealing captain, sailed into the Southern Ocean region, now known as the Weddell Sea, and in 1823 reached latitude 74°S, the most southerly point claimed to that time. A species of Antarctic seal was also named after him. HeBu Musikverlag HR CD2010/03
NEW MUSIC FOR CONCERT BAND by various artists (2010)
This is a CD of concert band music by various composers to accompany sheet music for concert bands from Grades ½ to 4. One of the tracks for Grade 2½ is To the Ends of the Earth by Timothy Johnson, a Kentucky, U.S.A.-based music educator and composer. According to the sheet music notes, the piece was written “to commemorate the first successful excursion to the South Pole by Roald Amundsen, December 14, 1911”. Various sections are meant to represent Amundsen’s dogsled team, the beauty, majesty and mystery of the South Pole and the expedition’s triumphal return. The CD is included with the full score parts for the various concert band instruments for this piece. Curnow Music/Hal Leonard Corporation HL63013902; www.halleonard.com
SKETCHES OF THE WORLD by the Gothenburg Combo (2010)
The Gothenburg Combo is the classical guitar duo, Thomas Hansy and David Hansson, from Gothenburg, Sweden, which performs traditional music and collaborates with contemporary composers. After winning an international guitar duo competition in 2004, they have toured internationally and released four CDs. On their latest CD, they composed tracks named for each of the continents, including Antarctica, a 7-minute piece, portraying varying moods from quiet to percussive, with plenty of jangles and string bends. David Hansson told us in 2011: “The piece is part of The Seven Continents. This is the basic idea (taken from the CD-sleeve): To be perfectly honest with you: we have never performed on Antarctica so far. But we hope to be able to someday! Antarctica is the coldest and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Before the aircraft was invented, you could only reach it during the short summer and if you got stuck there during the winter: your only way of communication with the outside world would be through Morse code. This feeling of isolation and loneliness, of being stranded at the end of the world, is described in this opening movement. The majestic, grandiose beauty of the nature and the strange sounds of the ice melting and cracking can also be heard.” COMBO CD 003; www.gbgcombo.com
LE DERNIER CONTINENT (THE LAST CONTINENT) – Soundtrack by Simon Leclerc (2010) (Web site download only)
The Last Continent is a 2007 French Canadian documentary film made by Quebecois biologist and film-maker Jean Lemire about his 2005-06 voyage, lasting 430 days, to the Antarctic Peninsula aboard the sailing vessel Sedna IV. Lemire’s small crew of scientists and back-up specialists, including a doctor and a psychologist, planned to document the threat of global warming on the environment by allowing themselves to be icebound over the winter, which would have allowed them the opportunity to explore the surroundings. Ironically, there was no ice to freeze them in and they had to contend with winds that threatened the ship, lack of easy access to the shore and the thawing of their iced-in winter food caches. Their scripted filming plans went astray with the unexpected drastic changes in lack of ice that they encountered, evidence of the fast speed of warming in the Antarctic Peninsula area. Originally made in French, the English film version features narration by Donald Sutherland. The film’s mellow orchestral soundtrack, 18 tracks illustrating various facets of the Expedition, is a very melodic and subdued production. It was nominated as best original documentary music, for the 2009 Gémeaux Awards, which recognize French Canadian successes in Canadian television (equivalent to the English Canadian Gemini Awards). The composer, Simon Leclerc, is an award-winning conductor, composer and arranger from Montreal who has worked with many well known Quebec musicians, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He has also composed and directed the music for the IMAX film Lost Worlds and has directed the Paramount Pictures Orchestra for the TV series Star Trek. Available on iTunes.
PENGUIN DANCE – Music for String Quartett by Hans Peter Salentin (2010)
Hans Peter Salentin is a German jazz trumpeter and composer who has played with numerous world-class artists and has issued more than 17 CDs of various types of jazz music. He is a former professor of Jazz Trumpet at the University of Würzburg and currently works for a Dutch brass instrument firm. This CD has a lively cover of penguins jumping off an iceberg and contains polar-influenced tracks such as Penguin Dance, Endless Summer Nights, Splitting Iceberg, White and Grey and Whales, played by a Bulgarian string quartet. The melodic musical styles vary from contemplative minimalism to more boisterous playfulness. In 2010, Hans Peter explained his reason for the Antarctic theme to us: “Some years ago, I watched a movie about Antarctica on German TV, maybe National Geographic, strong colours, as you know, very impressive, so I composed some music, in my way, which shows the beauty of this nature, which might be gone in some years. I loved this idea to write this music for string quartet, because it shows to me, how fragile everything is.” Dewey Records 24579; www.hp-salentin.com; www.myspace.com/hanspetersalentin
ANTARCTICA FOR PIANO AND MANDOLIN ORCHESTRA by Daigo Marumoto (2009) (live concert only)
YouTube has a 12-minute live performance of this concert from Japanese composer Daigo Marumoto by the Concordia Mandolin Orchestra. There are three parts: -89.2°C, which refers to the lowest temperature recorded on Earth at Antarctica’s Russian Vostok Station in 1983, Polar Night and Aurora, two quieter, contemplative pieces about the dark winter season and the southern polar lights. Overall, this melodic music has a broad range of dynamics and is a very worthy impression of the faces of Antarctica.
SHIMMERING LIGHT – Film Music of Nigel Westlake (2009)
This is a compilation CD of many of Australian composer Westlake’s peaceful, majestic film scores. It includes music from commercially popular films, lesser well-known films as well as previously unreleased tracks and new arrangements of some older pieces. Included is the short track Threnody, with boy soprano and orchestra, which was originally included as an instrumental-only version on Westlake’s CD ANTARCTICA – The Film Music (1992). This was the soundtrack for the 1991 IMAX film Antarctica. Also on the CD is the track Beneath the Midnight Sun, recorded in 2009, which is a rearranged violin and harp duo version of Scott’s Theme, a haunting track on the ANTARCTICA soundtrack disc. It was originally included on the film music CD as two separate tracks, one scored for orchestra and the other for orchestra and boy soprano. Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC 476 3658
ICEBERG by Pascal Contet and Wu Wei (2009)
This is a French disc of unusual music from a pair of instrumental virtuosos, French accordionist Pascal Contet and Chinese sheng (a giant-sized mouth organ originating around 3000 B.C.) artist Wu Wei, based in Germany. The CD is a showcase of avant-garde and improvised music, with track titles inspired by the names of different forms of icebergs. Title includes Blocky, Pinnacled 1, Amery Ice Shelf, Bergy Bit, A Song of Ice, Pinnacled 2, Wedellsee, Wedge, Icebreaker, Bergie Seltzer and Dome. The high pitched timbres and free-form soundscapes, like the ice they portray, may offer a slippery and challenging footing for listeners grounded on more traditional musical landscapes. According to the liner notes, “Iceberg is especially marked by a desire for sound transformation and introspection particular to the music of Pascal Contet and Wu Wei. A very pure approach, sweetly and sensitively moving, which reveals their association as far more transcendental and spiritual than experimental. Iceberg is a voyage, sliding massively, regularly like an ice-breaker come to crack a visible layer of immaculate pack-ice, provoking the instantaneous capturing of fugitive breaking before the ice reassumes its majestic immobility. In a deceptively calm environment, the music works as if in a process of irisation. Propelled by a shimmering ballet of two instruments answering each other,…even at times losing themselves in each other…And despite the apparent coldness of the decor, the whitish luminosity washed in the wake of this musical expedition, no feel of desolation, no dark thoughts. This Iceberg cruise is a symbol of hope. Hope generated by a will to surpass themselves acoustically, by a desire for sound cohesion of two musicians who have rid themselves for a long time now of all superfluous artifice and instrumental preconception.” Radio France SIG 11056; www.pascalcontet.com; www.wuweimusic.com
WHALE WARRIORS by Brian Balmages (2009) (Web site download only)
Brian Balmages is an American composer, conductor, producer and performer for wind, brass and orchestral music and his commissioned works have been used by elementary schools and leading U.S. orchestras. He is currently Director of Instrumental Publications for The FJH Music Co., Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One of his wind ensemble concert band pieces is the melodic 5½-minute Whale Warriors, for grades 2.5-3. It is described on the publisher’s web site as follows: “Experience the stunning true story of Captain Paul Watson and his crew as they set sail in the Antarctic in an attempt to sink whaling ships! Based on these “modern day pirates”, the music tells the story of their adventures as they use methods that include stink bombs, prop foulers, and even the dreaded “can opener!” The music paints a picture of their ship, the Farley Mowat, which is painted black with a Jolly Roger hoisted up. The energy rises as they engage other ships and risk their lives to save these beautiful defenseless creatures. Awe inspiring!” Brian told us in 2010 that the track was “inspired by the book of the same name by Peter Heller about Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd campaign. It was a very interesting book to read with a lot of thought-provoking material.” Download available for purchase from www.fjhmusic.com; www.brianbalmages.com
PIRATE FOR THE SEA - Original Motion Pictures Soundtrack by Aldo Shllaku (2009)
This is the soundtrack to the documentary/biographical film, by Rob Colby, about the life and career of Captain Paul Watson and his crews of volunteers. Watson was one of the co-founders the Greenpeace Foundation and since 1977 has been better known as the founder and principal activist of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). The SSCS is a leading campaigner to protect marine wildlife around the globe, particularly seals on the Canadian east coast and whales, both in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. His entanglements with the Japanese Antarctic whaling fleet have been well publicized over the years and have been the subject of both films and TV programs. Pirate for the Sea debuted at the 2008 Telluride (Colorado, U.S.A.) Film Festival in 2008. The composer and conductor of the music, Aldo Shllaku is of Albanian origin, studied music in Montreal, Canada and is now based in Los Angeles, U.S.A., as a composer, director and arranger of a variety of music styles. The instrumental music on the soundtrack is played by a small orchestra in classical/New Age world music styles to fit the moods from the Arctic north through the equator all the way to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. This is an area surrounding Antarctica where the International Whaling Commission has banned all commercial whaling. It is in this area that Japan still carries on whaling under the guise of scientific research and against which the SSCS has taken its protesting actions. On the whole, the music on the disc is very melodic and generally serene but on its own, without the visuals, may not be reflective of the aggressive and unpleasant activities that have become the legendary public face of the SSCS’s voyages.
Included on the CD is Speeding into the Sanctuary, a 3-minute, 3-part musical portrayal of the area. Aldo told us that “The director/producer of the Pirate for the Sea, Ron Colby, saw another film that I had written the music for and contacted me to discuss. This is how I got involved. Once I saw the film and because of the subject matter, I immediately accepted. The Whale Sanctuary track was inspired simply by what this sanctuary is - an open, calm, safe ocean place for fish and ocean mammals...until the illegal hunting begins. I had a lot information for every scene because the director of the film was on board the ship with Paul Watson for the duration of the protection expedition.” Carpe Diem Music; aldoshllaku.com; www.seashepherd.org
SYMPHONY NO. 1 FOR STRINGS: ANTARCTICA by Surtsey (2009) (Web site download only)
Dave Court is a Bath, U.K.-based electronic artist who goes by the name of Surtsey (derived from the name of a volcanic island formed in the 1960s off the coast of Iceland). This 30-minute minimalist work consists of five movements, including A Song for Rainfall, A Song for Snow, A Song for Ice, A Song for Wind and Respite. The swaths of sorrowful synthesizer strings combine elements of electronic ambient music with the string orchestra styles of Pēteris Vasks and Arvo Pärt, in which each change in tone is a major musical event. The moods and sounds of Antarctica bring to mind the sadness and suffering in the music of these two East European Baltic artists, as well as in that of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), a surprise international hit in the 1990s for the Polish composer. While Antarctica may not offer the richness of sounds and variety found in the music of these world-class artists, it conveys a very strong melancholy and is about Robert Scott’s 1910-12 South Pole expedition.
We asked Surtsey about his music and he told us, “The piece was in part inspired by Robert Falcon Scott and the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition. It was originally written as a single 35-minute ambient work but was split into movements to emphasise the thematic changes. There was also originally a short reprise after the third track, tentatively entitled The Flag but I cut this from the release version as I was unsure about the way it interrupted the flow of the other pieces. The titles refer to the worsening weather conditions that the party encountered, with the exception of the final track, Respite, referring to the brave sacrifice of Captain Oates and the tragic death of the rest of the party over the next two weeks, being a release from the perceived burden of their obligations and inhospitality of the continent. That piece ends with a series of coherent major chords which are intended to draw a stark contrast to the consistently minor and atonal themes of the rest of the movements. The work overall was written to evoke emotions of emptiness, isolation and helplessness, except the last track, which, ironically, was written to convey a feeling of hope. A motif is introduced halfway through the first movement and recurs in the second, third and fourth, but not in the fifth, in an effort to reinforce this. The other motivation was that I’ve always harbored a fascination for the Antarctic, since I was a child. It seems to hold a powerful and menacing yet fragile beauty, which I find hard to explain.” Download available free of charge under a Creative Commons License at www.monocromatica.com/netlabel/release/tube171.htm; www.myspace.com/surtseymusic
ANTARCTICLAND NATIONAL ANTHEM: ICE MASTER by Pietro Toppani Lutman (2008)
This is a 2-minute track of classical orchestral synthesizer music by Italian Lutman, inspired by the Battle Symphony by Beethoven, which commemorated Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Vitoria in Spain in 1813. Pietro told us about the piece in 2013: “The background of the Antarcticland National Anthem is pretty crazy. In 2007, surfing the web, I found out the website of the government of Antarcticland. The government claims that Antarcticland is the oldest territorial dominion in the Antarctic, founded in 1821 by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. It is a State of fact, not recognized by U.N. I noticed that there was no national anthem and so I contacted the regent, proposing my music. He liked it and approved it as official national anthem. He also gave me the title of Ambassador as a sign of gratitude…I know it could sound like a joke but that is what happened. One day I hope to record the Ice Master with a real orchestra and a choir.” www.antarcticlandgovernment.info
ANTARCTIC TRILOGY by Ben Richter (2008) (not commercially available)
Ben Richter is an American composer and accordionist from the New England area, whose work has been commissioned and performed by various ensembles and orchestras. He has also composed scores for films and sound installations for international museum and gallery exhibitions. According to his Web site, “His music is concerned with peak experience, consciousness and transcendence, the intersection of memory and imagination, and the evolution of worlds and spaces.” One of his works is Antarctic Trilogy for chamber ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano). It was premiŹred in May 2008 by the Da Capo Chamber Players, Bard College, NY. In 2012 Ben told us: “The piece was partly inspired by Lovecraft’s (1931 Antarctic novella) At the Mountains of Madness, but really imagines the true-life experience and landscapes of Antarctica, with movements named after the three mountains, Erebus, Terror and Terra Nova.” www.benrichtermusic.com
THE EXPLORERS: A CENTURY OF DISCOVERY - Original Television Soundtrack - Composed and Conducted by Lee Holdridge (2008)
The Explorers was a 90-minute 1988 television special aired on American PBS to honor the centennial of the National Geographic Society, produced by Nicolas Noxon and narrated by E. G. Marshall. It featured two dozen scientists and explorers from Alexander Graham Bell, one the founding principals of the Society to prominent scientific explorers of the day. The soundtrack music, never previously released, was composed by Lee Holdridge, an American composer whose early collaborations with Neil Diamond recordings led to the soundtrack for the popular Jonathan Livingston Seagull movie. Holdridge has scored numerous other movies and television series, composed classical concert works and worked with many major recording artists. He has received six Emmys, including one for this documentary for Outstanding Achievement in a Craft in News and Documentary Programming - Music.
One of the tracks is Antarctic Summer / Byrd Flies Over the South Pole, which portrays the first flight over the South Pole. The National Geographic society was one of the sponsors of Richard Byrd’s United States Antarctic Expedition, in which Byrd, as navigator and Bernt Balchen, the pilot and two others flew the Ford trimotor Floyd Bennett from Little America on the Ross Ice Shelf to the Pole. Byrd became an American hero and led four later Antarctic Expeditions. According to the CD booklet notes, “Holdridge scores the segment with military-like snare drums and a musical “march” to reach the Pole”. In 2010, Lee told us: “The score for The Explorers was composed to the film. Each cue I wrote was scoring whatever the visual sequence on screen at that moment. Sometimes what I compose for a score might be in response to a request by the director.” In the booklet notes, he further explains that “I approach documentaries as if they are dramas, I’m helping convey the story and the emotions, pulling the viewer deeper into the story…You have to put your feelings into the film…You work with the narration as if that too is part of the score. In a way, the narration is the solo and you are the underscore around it.” Intrada ISE 1019
ON COURSE by Laurie Altman (2008)
Laurie Altman is an assistant professor of music at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. He has received many classical commissions for compositions and has performed as a jazz artist in numerous clubs and events worldwide. This CD is a compilation of his compositions dating from 1985 and contains the 13-minute, 3-part Suite, Three Antarctic Songs for Baritone and Piano, which includes the tracks On Course, Within Limitless Space and Does an Emperor Penguin Meditate. The baritone is Elem Eley, with Laurie Altman at the piano. The second piece is the 5½-minute On Course for Instrumental Octet, which includes flutes, clarinet, piano vibraphone, violin, maracas and conductor. Laurie told us that “the Antarctic pieces found their inspiration from a trip that my wife and I took to Antarctica in February of 2006. The CD contains two On Course Pieces: An instrumental Octet and a setting of three Antarctic poems of mine for Baritone and Piano. There were numerous other pieces that emerged as a result of that trip as well.”
According to the liner notes for Three Antarctic Songs, “I became haunted with trying to find a sound that would take me closer to the emptiness, the vastness, the color and pristine stillness of that place. (Wide spacings; few clusters; a joining of some – ancient and new). The two outer pieces of the set, On Course and Does an Emperor Penguin Meditate are short and relatively straightforward in their presentation. Within Limitless Space truly attempts to capture the emptiness and vastness to which I alluded earlier. The three falsetto insertions were almost like a voice, Shackleton’s perhaps, speaking (da lontano) from the sea, a faint ember, “seemingly to nowhere”. On Course, the instrumental octet, is the most overtly programmatic work on the CD. It is to be heard with the breeze in your face, fourteen knots of speed underfoot, all attended by weather, ship motion and the natural elements of light, birds, ice and seals all around. Structural content is almost song-like: AABCA with an intense and dramatic ostinato mantra carrying the piece and its players forward and On Course. It is for me a tone painting, a work of color and vibrancy, never wavering in both its intensity and relentlessness.” The cover photograph of misty blue-grey pancake sea ice was taken by Laurie’s wife, Jeannine Hummel, on this 2006 trip with National Geographic.
Lyrics for On Course, about being in the Drake Passage: “The thrust, the push forward,“Steady”, “Port Ten”, “Starboard Five”, pitch and roll, a wave, the hint of a breeze, “Midships”, getting there, vacuous space. Waiting, observing, fingers chilled, tears, the wind, frigid, unremitting, “Steady”, the sky, grey, painted on, sculpted, an Albatross alone in search of, diving, drifting, “Port Ten”, Seals floating, the thrust, the push breathless, surrounded all sides, water spraying, “Starboard Five”, everything moving, “Steady”, forward, getting there, fleeting, head wind, getting there, the thrust, the push, getting there, forward, forever, On Course. On Course.”
Lyrics for Within Limitless Space, about being in the Weddell Sea: “Within limitless space, an ice field blue, white and grey. Four a.m., a sky, textured, tufted with light shards. Pin pricks, crystals expanding, rolling, compressed, broken, blue, a Petrel in flight, seemingly, to nowhere. Within limitless space, The weight of an iceberg, below itself, rolling, calving breaking apart, the eye sees beginning, limitless space to be filled (a music score), the horizon. A Chinstrap Penguin, floating sideways, seemingly, to nowhere. In a turn a mountain broken off, something larger, before the sea, yielding to nothing but itself. A lone Weddell Seal, asleep, awakens to space, limitless (no less tomorrow than today). Warmed by the sun deep in a dive, seemingly, to nowhere.”
Lyrics for Does an Emperor Penguin Meditate?, on Booth Island: “Thirty five days, molting, tall upon snow and ice, frigid, a promontory, wind, fifty knots, barely, a quiver. Determined, elemental proof of something so unique, a way of being. Do you question As you wait. Do you Dear Penguin, ever Meditate?
Albany Records TROY1041; www.albanyrecords.com; www.lauriealtman.com
MUSIC FROM SEVEN CONTINENTS Vol. 3 by the Cincinnati Boychoir (2008)
Founded in 1965, the Cincinnati Boychoir, directed by Randall Wolfe, gives numerous local subscription concerts and has performed with the Vienna Boys Choir, symphony orchestras, and gives concerts for community organizations as well as touring internationally. Their latest CD includes four song tracks related to the seventh continent, Southward, The Maid’s Lament and The Ice King by Gerald S. Doorly and Humpback Whales by Wendy Mae Chambers. The Morning was the relief ship sent to resupply Robert Scott’s Discovery Expedition of 1901-04 and during its 1902 voyage to Antarctica, the third officer, Lieut. Gerald Doorly, a talented pianist and entertainer, and the chief engineer, J.D. Morrison, as lyricist, collaborated on a collection of songs that were performed during musical evenings on the ship’s piano, accompanied by riotous noisemaking. More in the vein of Victorian parlour songs than sea shanties, the songs were published in 1943, apparently in a very tame version of the originals. Wendy Mae Chambers is a New Jersey-based pianist and composer who travelled to the Antarctic Peninsula in 1999 and recorded a solo piano CD ANTARCTICA SUITE, which included Humpback Whales. Randall Wolfe told us that in concert “The boys make sounds of whales and dolphins (and can imitate the sounds remarkably well), while some boys pour water from one plastic pitcher into another and also back and forth between plastic glasses, while other boys make bubble sounds with their lips. We ask the audience to close their eyes and imagine travelling underwater to Antarctica. The boys love this music!” www.cincinnatiboychoir.org; (see also THE SONGS of the ‘MORNING’: a Musical Sketch by G. S. Doorly (2002) in this section below and also ANTARCTICA SUITE by Wendy Mae Chambers (1999) in the following “Non-Classical, all or significantly Antarctic” section.)
ELEPHANT by Stefano Ianne (2008)
Ianne is a Ravenna, Italy-based composer of modern symphonic music, at times reminiscent of minimalism and a more pastoral Philip Glass. With three CDs, Ianne’s music is rich with melodic strings and quiet arpeggios. This CD, largely themed about a boy and an elephant, was recorded live at the Dal Verme theatre in Milan by the theatre’s resident orchestra in 2007. It has the track Amundsen and we asked Stefano about it in 2009. He said: “Yes, the track Amundsen is related to the polar explorer Roald Amundsen. When I was young, I had intentions to be an explorer and I’ve studied Amundsen. His story is wonderful and his passing away, which happened in order to try to find Umberto Nobile in the North Pole, is truly mysterious.” Nobile was an Italian explorer whose dirigible-type airship crashed during the return flight from the North Pole in 1928. Many international search and rescue planes were used in the rescue operation. Polar hero Amundsen was on one of planes, which disappeared and was never found. Sconfinarte; www.ianne.org; www.myspace.com/stefanoianne
TERRA INCOGNITA by Gareth Farr (2007) (live concert only)
Gareth Farr is an award-winning New Zealand composer, percussionist and performer who has written music for orchestras, dance, theatre, musical comedies and TV. His music was also heard at the opening of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. During 2005-06 Farr travelled to Antarctica through New Zealand’s Artists to Antarctica programme and followed up with the 27-minute Terra Incognita, written for bass voice, choir and orchestra. It’s an elegant work with very melodic choral and orchestral backing and numerous changes in pace and dynamics to reflect the events portrayed. It has our vote for one of the top pieces of classical Antarctic music for repeated listening. The lyrics include passages written by Robert Scott on his fateful South Pole Expedition of 1910-12 and also include excerpts from the diary of Frank Debenham, a geologist on the Expedition. Poet Paul Horan collaborated on the overall lyrics and the final section of the work includes his Goodbye Larsen B, a global warming commentary about a large part of the West Antarctic Ice sheet that disintegrated in 2002. The work premiŹred in Wellington in April 2008 with soloist Paul Whelan, the Orpheus Choir of Wellington and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Paul MacAlindin. The concert was part of the Exploring Antarctica programme of the NZSO, which also presented other musical, scientific and film events, with videos by Mike Newman, which also accompanied Terra Incognita. While the work has not been commercially recorded, it was available for listening on the Soundcloud Web site. garethfarr.com; www.drumdrag.com; soundcloud.com/paul-macalindin-conductor/terra_incognita
ANTARCTICA SAGA (AMUNDSEN TO THE SOUTH POLE by Mike Hannickel (c. 2007) (Web site download only)
Mike Hannickel is a composer and music director in California’s Rocklin Unified School District, specializing in elementary and junior high band and orchestras. He has also conducted his compositions in Hollywood-area studios and scored for independent movies, documentaries and other productions. Two of his school compositions for wind band include the 3-minute regal march Antarctica Saga (Amundsen to the South Pole) and the more playful 2-minute Penguin Promenade. While not issued on a commercial disc, the two pieces have been recorded as demos and are available for free download and/or listening at the Web sites mentioned in this listing. Mike told us in 2009: “Since my publications are mostly for school-aged musicians, I often try to incorporate some historical, scientific, or literary component so teachers will be able to use the music as a jumping off point for other lessons. Antarctica Saga was also an opportunity for young bands to sensibly use non-traditional instruments and sounds (water glasses, etc.).” www.curnowmusicpress.com; www.jwpepper.com
STRING THEORY and CINEMATIC WINGS by Jeffrey Gold (both 2007) (Web site download only)
Gold, based in Utah, is a multi-talented film producer, composer, playwright and university film/theatre educator. From an early start as a published physicist and mathematician, while still an undergraduate, his films, compositions and plays have premiŹred in both the U.S. and Britain and won many awards. His collection of instrumentals on String Theory includes the tracks Shackleton (Theme) and Shackleton (South Georgia Island). Cinematic Wings has Shackleton’s Return and Antarctica by Air. All of these are beautiful, lush, majestic pieces with rich symphonic strings. Jeffrey told us that “The motivation for the tracks is the inspiration that Antarctica alone generates. There are people drawn to Antarctica for reasons they do not understand; I am one of those people. I suppose it is the pristine serenity and Shackleton’s adventure is the best survival story in existence.” www.jeffreygold.com
HEROES: MUSIC FOR BRASS by Kerry Turner (2006)
Kerry Turner is an American composer, horn performer and music teacher, based in Luxemburg. He has won many awards for compositions and has held principal horn positions with numerous symphony orchestras. He is a member of the internationally acclaimed chamber brass group, the American Horn quartet. This CD is a recording of Turner’s music by the Flexible Brass, a group of European musicians who play in various orchestras and groups. According to the liner notes, one of the tracks is Heroes, written in 1997, for 13 brass and percussion, which is a “3-movement tone poem for large brass ensemble and pays homage to three inspiring people in history who have displayed undaunted courage.” The first part is the 5½-minute tribute, Sir Ernest Shackleton and the other two parts are for Saint Stephen and Amelia Earhart. The notes explain, “Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) was one of the most indomitable and, in some ways, the most luckless of the Antarctic explorers of the early twentieth century. In 1914, as captain of The Endurance, he and his crew were forced to abandon ship when it became trapped and pulverized in the Antarctic pack-ice. Unable to communicate with the rest of the world, Sir Ernest lead his men to a bleak, barren beach on Elephant Island. From there he and six of his men sailed a small lifeboat almost 1000 miles across stormy, frozen seas to South Georgia Island where he and two others scaled mountains in order to reach a tiny whaling station on the other side. He returned to Elephant Island aboard a self-chartered steamer to find all of his crew alive and well. In the face of total catastrophe, Sir Ernest Shackleton risked all dangers to bring his entire crew back safely to England.” The CD cover reproduces the iconic photo, by the expedition photographer Frank Hurley, of the Endurance beset in the ice.
Kerry explained to us in 2013: “I wrote the work “The Heroes” as a commission from the Orchestre Philharmonique de Lyon. They wanted something which would celebrate great moments in aviation history. I chose Emilia Earhart as my subject, and therefore it is the finale of the work. But I decided that I wanted to add a couple more of my personal heroes, and luckily they were alright with that. I have always been fascinated by “unsung heroes”, i.e. people throughout history who have performed incredible feats and daring-do, but who have somehow passed under history’s radar. At the time, mid-90s, Shackleton had not yet been “rediscovered”. Shortly after my work came out, a new biography about him appeared on the shelves in New York. And then, there was this spectacular exhibit at the New York Museum of Natural History, including his famous boat which he sailed to Elephant Island. But I had actually written the music before this exhibit came out. Anyway, this is the reason I chose Shackleton as one of my heroes. I have always been a huge fan of his and his adventures.” Phoenix Music Publications PMPCD1001; www.kerryturner.com
1ST SONCINEMAD FILM MUSIC FESTIVAL OF MADRID SYMPHONIC CONCERT –Composed and Conducted by Trevor Jones (2006)
This live concert of extracts from Trevor Jones’ film music was one of the first concerts of the first International Film-music Festival, held in Madrid in 2006. Jones is a British-based TV and film composer who has composed films for over 90 television and film projects and his later film work included major projects such as Excalibur, The Dark Crystal, The Last of the Mohicans, Cliffhanger, Notting Hill and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. One of his film scores was for Britain’s Central TV’s 1985 historical drama series, The Last Place on Earth, directed by Ferdinand Fairfax. The series was a 7-part TV dramatization of the competing Roald Amundsen Norwegian and Robert Scott British South Pole Expeditions of 1910-12, based on the book of the same name by Roland Huntford, who had a strong anti-Scott bias. The 42-minute orchestral score from the 1985 LP seems to have never been officially issued on CD and the 24 minutes of excerpts included on this CD as Last Place on Earth – Suite may be the first commercial digital release of any of this music. The lush orchestral tracks from the concert include Last Place on Earth Main Theme, Snow Mistress, Norwegian Theme, Chamber Ensemble at Mabel Beardsley’s Soiree, Message to the Public, an extended Axel Heiberg and Closing Titles. CMMP Ltd. CMR2006-3; www.trevorjonesfilmmusic.com; (See also THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH – The Original Soundtrack Recording from Central TV’s Production by Trevor Jones (1985) in this section.)
THE PEOPLE THAT TME FORGOT - Film Score by John Scott (2006)
This is the full orchestral soundtrack for the 1977 U.K. movie of the same name, directed by Kevin Connor, as not all the tracks were used in the movie. It was a sequel to the 1975 film The Land That Time Forgot, in which a German U-boat sinks a British vessel during WWI, picks up the survivors and ends up in the south polar seas at the continent of Caprona, populated by terrifying dinosaurs and apemen. In this sequel, another expedition sets out in 1919 to rescue the colleagues who were previously lost and finds a tropical oasis in the middle of the Ice. Both movies are based on the 1918 Caspak trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The two brief Antarctic-related tracks on the CD are the dramatic Crossing the Ice Wall, and Return Across the Ice Wall, this time a far more relaxed musical passage.
John Scott is an internationally-known musician, composer and orchestra conductor whose first film soundtrack dates to 1965. As a musician, Scott played the flute solo in the iconic Beatles’ song You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (from the movie Help) and was principal saxophonist on the James Bond Goldfinger movie soundtrack. He has won three Emmy Awards and since 2006 has been the Artistic Director of the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra. Scott also wrote the soundtrack score for the William Kronick-produced, written and directed documentary film about The Transglobe Expedition, led by Ranulph Fiennes. This team circumnavigated the globe along its polar axis from North to South Poles, being the first to do so, finishing in 1982. JOS Records JSCD 132; www.josrecords.com. (See also TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH - Original Soundtrack Recording - music composed and conducted by John Scott (1988) in this section.)
ICELIGHT by Michelle Ende’ (2006)
Michelle Ende’ is a Tampa, Florida-area resident and began her musical training at a young age with piano and organ and later continued with conservatory training in composition and orchestration. Her classical and choral works have been recorded by the Bay Area Philharmonic and the Bay Area Chamber Works, which specialize in local area composers. She is now a professor of International Economics. With over 20 CDs, her output has been prodigious, particularly in the last ten years. This CD is the last of three Planetary albums and consists of four long ambient tracks taking us into the mysterious fogs, ice and twilight of Antarctica. From the liner notes: Fog: “Within this landscape there exist vast caverns of fog, lifting images in and out of sight. The landscape varies in its shades of grey and white and fog moves over the ice in a creeping fashion revealing magnificent towers of ice, vast caverns and glacier valleys.” Icelight: “No sunlight or moonlight. Only icelight, a kind of half light in which all things appear grey; another shade of ice as it were. Small points of light drift through the overcast clouds, but it is only a halo; no real light or warmth.” Chiaroscuro: “From this darkness of clanking ice and strange noises, the signs of Spring come drifting in slowly. Icelight gives way to new light; sunlight, warm light, life light.” The most sprightly and melodic of the tracks is Penguins: “The only life here are the penguins atop the ice. Only they break up the general sameness of the icescape. Cold winds huddle them together; the only source of warmth.” Michelle told us in 2009 about her inspiration for the music: “I was exposed to Happy Feet (the movie), March of the Penguins (the movie) and had just finished watching a documentary on Scott and Shackleton and I was moved by the beauty of Antarctica.” www.annuitmusic.com
SHADOW DANCES - GUITAR MUSIC BY NIGEL WESTLAKE - Played by Slava Grigoryan (2006)
Australian Grigoryan (a native of Kazakhstan) recorded this performance of fellow Australian Nigel Westlake’s Antarctica – Suite for Guitar and Orchestra in 2004 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The guitar concerto was completed in 1992 and had its origin from his soundtrack to the IMAX film of the same name. The four movements, totalling 23 minutes on this CD, rework musical ideas from the film, as well as developing others not included in it. The four tracks are The Last Place on Earth, Wooden Ships, Penguin Ballet and The Ice Core – Finale. ABC Classics 476 5744; www.rimshot.com.au (Nigel Westlake’s web site)
PLANET EARTH - Music from the BBC TV Series – music composed and conducted by George Fenton (2006)
BBC’s massive 11-part television documentary about the earth’s various and extreme habitats goes from pole to pole and oceans to mountains. The ICE WORLDS instalment includes the following lavish symphonic themes performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra: Discovering Antarctica, The Humpbacks’ Bubblenet, Everything Leaves but the Emperors, The disappearing Sea Ice, Lost in the Storm. EMI 0946 381891 2 1; www.bbc.co.uk/nature/animals/planetearth
DREAMINGS by Gondwana Voices (2006)
Gondwana Voices is Australia’s national children’s choir, for ages 10 to 16, established in 1997 by artistic director/conductor Lyn Williams to perform new and traditional music, which showcases the country and its peoples. It has traveled internationally and is committed to commissioning works from Australian composers. On this disc is also Principal Guest Conductor Mark O’Leary, who is the founder and director of another Australian children’s choir, Young Voices of Melbourne. The CD contains an Antarctic-related piece, Australian Daniel Walker’s ode to the Southern Ocean’s wandering albatross, The Wanderer. According to the liner notes, the composer writes, “The Wanderer is about living your dreams. The inspiration of this piece was the albatross, a lone traveler soaring on the Antarctic winds, his destination wherever the currents may take him. I have always been in awe of these magnificent birds, and the text I have written in some way pays homage to their grace and determination.” The lyrics are: “Let me go where the wind will go, let it take me over southern shores. I will ride on the ocean air, I will travel across ice and foam, far from home. And where no road will take you, where few have gone before, it’s far beyond the ice-floe far below where my spirit calls. Antarctic land! land of unearthly light, where pale horizon escapes eternal night. Wumara, warawara.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC 476 9093; www.gondwanavoices.com.au; (See also BIRRALEE 10th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT LIVE (2005), referenced in this section.)
ELEMENTAL: IMPRESSIONS OF THE NATURAL WORLD by Mary Doumany (2005)
Mary Doumany is a Victoria, Australia-based composer, harpist and singer who has performed with the Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland Symphony Orchestras as well as internationally. With a repertoire covering music for opera, ballet, orchestra and jazz, she also has a great interest in improvised music. Her harp playing was included in the soundtracks for the movies Shine and The Truman Story. Elemental was her first CD of original solo harp compositions and was written for a 36-string lever harp. One of the tracks is Ice. According to Mary’s CD liner notes, “The harp has a timeless quality to its sound. It is one of the oldest instruments and some have said that the first harp was created out of sinews across a turtle shell. For me, the act of playing (striking strings made from animal gut, with my bare hands) has a rawness and immediacy that belies the ethereal sound I create. Much like ice: It looks magical, and yet it can wreak havoc, as it has done in the Northern Hemisphere this past winter. I believe that the harp invokes the sounds of the natural world most effectively.” Mary told us in 2011 about the track: “It’s based on Ice in a geographical setting, so yes, both Antarctica and the Arctic. I certainly wasn’t thinking about ice cubes from the refrigerator!” This track had its Antarctic performance premiŹre in February 2011, being played by another renowned Australian harp soloist, Alice Giles, who travelled to Antarctica in early 2011 on an Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowship. She is head of the Harp Area at the Australian National University, and according to her University Web pages, went on the Australian ship Aurora Australis to the Australian bases, Mawson and Davis Stations, to perform and record music especially written for the journey, as well as music that was heard in the Antarctic 100 years ago. Alice is the granddaughter of , who was a member of the 1911-14 . Alice was the first Australian professional musician to perform in Antarctica and her musical presentations were arranged to celebrate the Centenary of the First Australasian Antarctic Expedition. www.alicegiles.com; www.aliceinantarctica.wordpress.com; www.music.anu.edu.au/aliceinantarctica
SHOULD THIS BE FOUND: SIX SONGS ON SCOTT’S LAST EXPEDITION by Perry Goldstein (2005) (Web site download only)
Perry Goldstein is Undergraduate Studies Director in the Department of Music and Director of the College of Arts, Culture and Humanities at State University of New York at Stony Brook. As a composer, his music has been heard in many countries and he specializes in saxophone and other wind instrument works. This 34-minute opus consists of six vocal pieces about the phases of Scott’s tragic Terra Nova South Pole Expedition of 1910-12, including The Voyage Out, Land at Last, Penguins, Impressions on the March, In Winter Quarters and Summit, the Pole and Beyond, performed by the United States Military Academy Band of West Point, New York, directed by Col. Thomas Rotondi. Jr. The soprano is Sergeant First Class MaryKay Messenger. The song texts were compiled by the American novelist Richard Powers from Scott’s own eloquent words, written in his classic expedition journal. While a melodic, operatic treatment of the history of the Expedition may not be quite the expected vehicle to portray the physical hardships encountered in Antarctica, it continues in the trend of contemporary historic opera and is a worthy addition to the Antarctic repertoire. It would be interesting to imagine a stage performance or multi-media presentation of this work. Perry told us in 2009 that “I encountered the Scott story by chance while watching American Public Television one day many years ago. The documentary was especially moving when it described the letters Scott wrote about his men and to his wife when it was clear that he wasn’t going to survive. I thought at the time that it would make a very moving set of songs, and years later I had the chance to try my hand at it when I was commissioned by the West Point Band to write a set of songs. The text was compiled from Scott’s diaries by Richard Powers, a friend and acclaimed novelist.” The performance, including text and program notes, is available for free download at www.usma.edu/band/recordings/found.htm
WORKS by Brian Bennett (2005)
This is a 4-CD box set of four of Brian Bennett’s film scores, which includes the soundtrack of GREAT NATURAL WONDERS OF THE WORLD, a 2002 Christmas/New Year BBC Natural History film produced by Peter Crawford and narrated by the ubiquitous Sir David Attenborough. One of the tracks in this visit to various landscapes of the earth is South to Antarctica, a sweeping orchestral theme portraying the icy mysteries of the continent. Brian Bennett, in addition to having won many awards for his film and TV compositions, arrangements and productions, was awarded the OBE from the Queen of England in 2004 for his services to music. Brian is also a drummer and member of Britain’s iconic rock group, the Shadows, which began as the backing band for Cliff Richard in 1959. They became one of the most successful acts in Britain in the 1960s and went on to great acclaim as an independent instrumental group with countless records. www.brianbennettmusic.co.uk
JOURNEYS by Young Voices of Melbourne (2005)
Young Voices of Melbourne is an Australian choir, founded in 1990, by its director, Mark O’Leary. With 130 singers between 6 and 18 years of age, it has traveled internationally and is committed to the performance of new Australian music. One of the tracks on this disc is the 6½ minute Shackleton, for 3-part voices and piano, by the Sydney, Australia composer and performer Paul Jarman. The piece is from his song cycle Turn on the Open Sea, which pays tribute to the adventurers of the sea. It was commissioned for the Sydney Children’s Choir in 2001. According to the liner notes, “The triumphant story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition to the Antarctic in 1914 has become one of the popular tales of modern exploration. Against all odds, Shackleton and his men survived a two-year ordeal, trapped without a ship, during a freezing winter in the most remote and unexplored region of the globe. Thanks to intuitive leadership and incredible persistence, Shackleton not only returned to Europe, but did so without losing a single crew member. The impossible boat journey across the great Southern Ocean in the 20-foot ‘James Caird’, and the successful navigation of South Georgia remains the greatest quest in the annals of the sea. On returning to England, several of the crew enlisted to fight on the red fields of Flanders, and within weeks, two men perished in battle.” The song is a very beautiful hymn to the irony of their return – simple, elegant and one of our favourite Antarctic melodies. Lyrics are:
“Old man, looking out to the sea, This time he’s leaving, Windswept hair and strong old bones, Now gently fading no longer sailing.
Oh many years ago, can you remember? The haunting cry of a ship that drowned, Beneath the ice floe of the Weddell Sea.
Times were hard, but we made it over, Made it over, they wonder why, Through the cold, but we made it over, Made it over, they’ll never know.
Two years trapped in the southern sea, Far from our homeland, Roaring waves and wailing winds, May well defeat us, but hopes were high. Oh please tell me why, we’re most forgotten, Far away from a world at war, Who needs a hero, Who needs to know?
Times were hard, but we made it over, Made it over, they wonder why, Through the cold, but we made it over, Made it over, they’ll never know. Why, why, did we have to come home to war? Why, why, why? Try, try, tell me what are we fighting for? Try, try, try.
Then, on the red fields of Flanders, All men were fallen, A bloody war, fought on every shore, Brought pain and sorrow to a sailing man.
But I still hear the steam whistle blowing, ‘Twas the day of wonders, Frozen tears and heartfelt cheers, Never forgotten, We made it over.
Times were hard, but we made it over, Made it over, they wonder why, Through the cold, but we made it over, Made it over, they’ll never know.
Why, why, did we have to come home to war? Why, why, why? Try, try, tell me what are we fighting for? Try, try, try.
Why, why, did we have to come home to war? Why, why why? Try, try tell me what are we fighting for? Try, try, try.
We made it over! We made it over!” YVMCD006; www.yvm.com.au; (See also NEW LIGHT NEW HOPE by Gondwana Voices (2003) and BIRRALEE 10th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT LIVE (2005), referenced in this section.)
BIRRALEE 10th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT LIVE (2005)
Brisbane, Australia’s Birralee Voices is a community-based organization of nine choral ensembles, largely for children and includes ages 5 to 25. It was formed in 1995 and is directed by Julie Christiansen. It has travelled internationally, won awards and promotes a variety of cultures, while promoting Australian composers. Their anniversary CD includes Paul Jarman’s Shackleton, which is reported to be one of the most widely performed choral works in Australia. According to the booklet notes, “It doesn’t seem to matter how many times Shackleton is performed around this country and overseas, young people love to sing it and audience members love to hear it.” A second Antarctic-related piece on the CD is Australian Daniel Walker’s ode to the albatross, The Wanderer. According to the composer, “The Wanderer is about living your dreams. The inspiration of this piece was the albatross, a lone traveler soaring on the Antarctic winds, his destination wherever the currents may take him. I have always been in awe of these magnificent birds, and the text I have written in some way pays homage to their grace and determination.” The lyrics are: “Let me go where the wind will go, let it take me over southern shores. I will ride on the ocean air, I will travel across ice and foam, far from home. And where no road will take you, where few have gone before, it’s far beyond the ice-floe far below where my spirit calls. Antarctic land! land of unearthly light, where pale horizon escapes eternal night. Wumara, warawara.” www.birralee.com; (See also NEW LIGHT NEW HOPE by Gondwana Voices (2003), JOURNEYS by Young Voices of Melbourne (2005) and DREAMINGS by Gondwana Voices (2006), referenced in this section.)
ANTARCTICA by Elizabeth Brown (2005) (not commercially available)
Elizabeth Brown, a New York (Brooklyn)-based composer and flautist, is a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient and has composed for various commissions. One of her pieces is Antarctica, a 7-minute alto flute solo with prerecorded sound accompaniment. While it has not been released on CD, Elizabeth provided a recorded copy of her performance of it. The flute seems an ideal instrument to convey ethereal Antarctic impressions and the background instruments, windscapes, breathing and vocalizations provide some great atmospherics. In 2008 Elizabeth provided us with her program notes for her composition: “During the winter of 2004-05, Sara Wheeler’s book Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica was my bedtime reading. I started to dream about Antarctica, and this music was born in those dreams. I chose alto flute because of its range and timbre, and the taped portion consists of natural sounds recorded in my Brooklyn studio. Antarctica was commissioned by Patti Monson, who premiered it on July 16th, 2005, at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute at Mass MoCA.” www.elizabethbrowncomposer.com
MARCH OF THE PENGUINS Original Score by Alex Wurman (2005)
Whether a cynical marketing ploy or a desire for cultural adaptation, the English version of this French film has serious narration by Morgan Freeman and a studio orchestra playing a pleasant New Age soundtrack by composer Wurman. There are titles such as The Harshest Place on Earth (played on not so harsh-sounding harps, flutes and tinkling piano), and other musical excursions such as Walk Not Alone, The March, Walk Through Darkness, First Steps and Arrival at the Sea. The soundtrack sounds great with the film but as a self-contained listening experience is a bit too sweet to convey convincingly the harsh Antarctic home of the Emperor penguins. The film became a huge hit, particularly for a documentary and the English version won the Oscar for best documentary feature film of 2005. Milan M2-36131; www.marchofthepenguins.com; (See also LA MARCHE DE L’EMPEREUR by Emilie Simon (2005) in the following “Non-Classical, all or significantly Antarctic” section.)
AMSTERDAM – Brass Band Music of the Netherlands (2005)
This compilation CD of tracks from various composers, played by the accomplished Dutch brass band, Provinciale Brassband Groningen, conducted by Siemen Hoekstra, includes Antarctica, by Carl Wittrock, a Dutch composer and conductor (b. 1966). The liner notes explain that “Carl Wittrock became inspired by huge ice fields surrounding the South Pole. Colourful and majestic sounds provide the composition with a fascinating view of this “6th” continent. This composition is a free impression of the spectacular scenery in the Antarctic. Melodies are linked together to convey the various aspects of the landscape. These melodies together with their simple harmonic accompaniments make this work pleasant for both the listener and the musician.” Carl told us in 2007 that “The main reason was the impressive nature. It is very beautiful, but also untouchable and dangerous. The composition was made as a sort of movie music without movie.” Gobelin Records 05.002; www.gobelinmusic.com; (See also ANTARCTICA – Best Selections for Brass Band (2012) and other recordings of this piece in this section.)
INTRODUCING THE FANFARE BAND - Fanfarekorps Koninklijke Landmacht (2003)
The same piece of music, Antarctica, by Carl Wittrock, is also on this Dutch compilation CD of brass band music by the Royal Netherlands Army (FKKL) Fanfare Band, conducted by Jan Nellestijn. Gobelin Records 03.001 & 03.002; www.gobelinmusic.com
NATALE by Banda Colloredo (2002)
The Philharmonic Colloredo di Prato is an orchestra, formed in 1893, based in Colloredo di Prato (Udine), Italy. This CD has their wind band version of Carl Wittrock’s Antarctica. www.filarmonicacolloredo.it
ANTARCTICA - Carolus Magnus Ingelheimer Kaiserpfalz Bläser (2000)
This is a German disc of various modern instrumental music by Carolus Magnus Ingelheimer Kaiserpfalz Bläser, an Ingelheim-based, German wind orchestra conducted by Peter Vierneisel. The CD is named after the title track, Antarctica, by Carl Wittrock, which gets a more nuanced and subdued treatment than the brass band versions. GEMA ACO CD 10400
ANTARCTICA - Johan Willem Friso Kapel (unknown date)
Carl Wittrock’s Antarctica, also appeared on another brass band compilation disc of the same name, now discontinued, conducted by Gert Jansen. CD not verified.
AUBADE: Organ Music by Ohio Composers: Karel Paukert, Organ (2004)
This is a CD of solo organ recitals by Paukert, a distinguished teacher, concert performer and the long-time Curator of Musical Arts at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Included on the disc is the 6½-minute track Erebus by Monica Houghton, an award-winning composer and composition teacher for the Cleveland Institute of Music Department of Preparatory and Continuing Education and Joint Music Program with Case Western Reserve University. Her music has been performed internationally. Erebus was written in 2003 as a tribute to her older brother, a geographer and mountaineer who passed away in November 1979 in the tragic crash of the Air New Zealand plane that was on a sightseeing flight over Antarctica. It crashed into Mount Erebus in the McMurdo Station area and all 257 people on board were lost. According to Monica’s note in the CD booklet, “In Greek mythology, Erebus was the son of Chaos and the father of Aether (brightness) and Hemera (day). Erebus and his sister Nyx (night) were also said to be the parents of Eros, the god of love, and of Charon, the ferryman at the river Styx. Often, Erebus is referred to simply as ‘the place of shadows.’ Mount Erebus was so named by the British explorer James Clark Ross, who discovered it in 1840. The world’s most southernmost volcano, Mount Erebus is situated on Ross Island, adjacent to McMurdo Sound, on the New Zealand side of Antarctica. The mountain rises directly from the sea to an astonishing altitude of 12,444 feet, where, on a clear day, a plume of smoke can be seen emanating from its summit. My brother had both a professional interest in and a personal love of mountains. I have tried to write a piece of music that will do honor to my brother’s memory, and at the same time convey a sense of the awe and majesty that is characteristic of such a great mountain as the one that took him away from us.” The Cleveland Museum of Art/Azica ACD 71229; www.monicahoughton.com
MUSIC TO PICTURE by Brian Bennett (2004)
This CD is a compilation of Brian Bennett’s great film and television music from TV mysteries, documentaries and films in various musical styles, spanning thirty years. Also included are full tracks that did not make it to the final productions of other broadcast works. Included is the melodic, orchestral The Shackleton Variations, described in the CD booklet as “Brian’s musical interpretation of Ernest Shackleton’s heroic Antarctic explorations.” Brian Bennett, in addition to having won many awards for his film and TV compositions, arrangements and productions, was awarded the OBE from the Queen of England in 2004 for his services to music. Brian is also a drummer and member of Britain’s iconic rock group, the Shadows, which began as the backing band for Cliff Richard in 1959. They became one of the most successful acts in Britain in the 1960s and went on to great acclaim as an independent instrumental group with countless records. FLYCUB20108; www.brianbennettmusic.co.uk
THE HAROUN SONGBOOK - CHARLES WUORINEN SERIES by Charles Wuorinen (2004)
This is a collection of excerpts from Wuorinen’s opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which is based on author Salman Rushdie’s 1990 children’s book of the same name. Rushdie wrote the book as a fable and allegory after the well publicized fatwa that led to his life of escape underground. The story revolves around a professional story teller who loses his gift of gab. His son then goes on adventures to return his father’s livelihood. The music on the CD, for four singers (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass-baritone) and piano accompaniment, was written by Charles Wuorinen, an acclaimed modernist composer, pianist and conductor who was the youngest composer to win the Pulitzer Prize in music in 1970. The lyrics are by English poet and journalist James Fenton. One of the adventures is a polar trip with the short track To the South Pole. Sample lyrics: “It’s getting even colder And the waters are losing their colour. We’re going the right way! We can tell! Before it was filthy! Now it’s Hell!...You can stop a cheque. You can stop a leak or three. You can stop traffic, but You can’t stop me. To the South Pole. Full speed ahead to the South Pole…To the South Pole…These are the waters of neglect. These are the seas of disgrace. Give me a year and I expect I could clean this place.” Albany Records TROY664; www.charleswuorinen.com
MIRRORS OF FIRE - Australian Guitar Originals - Played by Tim Kain (2004)
Australian Kain, together with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, perform (in 1997) Nigel Westlake’s Antarctica - Suite for Guitar and Orchestra, a 22-minute guitar concerto completed in 1992 that had its origin from his soundtrack to the IMAX film of the same name. In four movements, it reworks musical ideas from the film as well as developing others not included in it. Tall Poppies TP169; www.tallpoppies.net
The same recording of Antarctica - Suite for Guitar and Orchestra, with Tim Kain, is included in OUT OF THE BLUE (2004), a compilation of three works by Westlake, performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Porcelijn. ABC Classics ABC 462 017-2; www.rimshot.com.au
MUSIC FROM SEVEN CONTINENTS Vol. 2 by the Cincinnati Boychoir (2004)
Founded in 1965, the Cincinnati Boychoir, directed by Randall Wolfe, gives numerous local subscription concerts and has performed with the Vienna Boys Choir, symphony orchestras, and gives concerts for community organizations as well as touring internationally. The CD includes four lively song tracks about the seventh continent, Antarctica, Penguins, Exploring and Memories. Texts were by Bill Manhire (a New Zealand university professor and poet), from the Book of Job and from the writings of Antarctic explorers Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Ernest Shackleton, with music composed by Carlton Young, an American professor, editor and composer of sacred music. Mr. Young told us that “I've been fascinated with the subject since childhood, e.g., the explorations of Richard Byrd. My recent interest in Antarctic explorers and explorations began in 1999 with my visit to the Antarctic Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand. Cincinnati Boychoir programs had featured six of the continents, but not Antarctica. I agreed to compose a setting, and Mr. Randall Wolfe, Choir Director, suggested some texts, which I supplemented with my own research online and in the standard bibliography, particularly the biographies.” www.cincinnatiboychoir.org
ANGELS IN AMERICA – Music From The HBO Film – music by Thomas Newman (2003)
The soundtrack to this miniseries television film, which is based on the Pulitzer prize-winning political Broadway play of the same name, includes the soothing orchestral instrumental track Mauve Antarctica. The play/film has a polar connection through its Angel Antarctica. Nonesuch 79837-2; www.nonesuch.com
NEW LIGHT NEW HOPE by Gondwana Voices (2003)
Gondwana Voices is Australia’s national children’s choir, for ages 10 to 16, established in 1997 by artistic director/conductor Lyn Williams to perform new and traditional music, which showcases the country and its peoples. It has traveled internationally and is committed to commissioning works from Australian composers. One of the tracks on this disc is the 5½ minute Shackleton, a very moving, beautiful song by the Sydney, Australia composer and performer Paul Jarman. The performance by choir and piano is especially enriched by the accompaniment of a string section. The piece is from his song cycle Turn on the Open Sea, which pays tribute to the adventurers of the sea. It was commissioned for the Sydney Children’s Choir in 2001. It is a bittersweet tale of the survival Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition’s Antarctic expeditioners and their return to a world still at war. On this disc, the conductor is also Mark O’Leary, who is the founder and director of another Australian children’s choir, Young Voices of Melbourne, which performed the same piece on one of their CDs. Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC 472 822-2; www.gondwanavoices.com.au; (See also JOURNEYS by Young Voices of Melbourne (2005) and BIRRALEE 10th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT LIVE (2005), referenced in this section.)
ANTARCTICA - NHK Television 50th Anniversary Nankyoku Project (2003)
NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), Japan’s sole public broadcaster, commemorated the 50th anniversary of TV broadcasting in Japan in 2003 by establishing an HDTV broadcasting station in Antarctica in 2003. Located at Syowa Station, Japan’s base, this was Antarctica’s first such station and the first time a film crew stayed there for more than a year. 153 live programs were made, including the showing of a solar eclipse, distributed to the Discovery Channel in North America, auroras and natural scenery. The commemorative CD (Japan Version) contains some very melodic orchestral tracks, accompanied by various exotic Oriental musical instruments plus a jazzy solo guitar track, conducted by Yoko Matsuo. Titles include Horizon, White Wind, Dry Valleys, Silence and Dawn. As we haven’t seen the TV programs, it’s not easy to relate the very pastoral-sounding CD music by itself to the Antarctic, without the visuals. Toshiba-EMI Ltd. Eastworld TOCT-25014
ICESCAPE FOR ORCHESTRA by Chris Cree Brown (2002)
Chris Cree Brown is the Director (Academic) of the School of Music and Senior Lecturer at University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, as well as the composer of a variety of music. The 16-minute work resulted from a trip to Antarctica in 1999, supported by the Artists to Antarctica programme of the New Zealand Antarctic Institute (Antarctica New Zealand). His first work produced under this programme was UNDER EREBUS (2000), a 15 minute electroacoustic piece, that according to the liner notes was an “attempt to create an expressive work of ‘sonic art’ that reflects my personal interpretation of the environment of Antarctica and my experiences there.” The range of sounds includes walking on snow, skuas, radio communications, wind, seals, penguins and a whiteout. Other Antarctic compositions by Chris include Circulus Antarcticus, a dance commission with Bronwyn Judge, a choreographer who went down to The Ice as part of the 2000 Artists to Antarctica programme and Antarctic Heart, music to go with a video by the sculptor Virginia King, who was the other artist to travel to Antarctica in 1999 under the Artists to Antarctica programme. www.music.canterbury.ac.nz/CCBrownlink/chrispers.htm
MUSIC FOR THE SCOTIA CENTENARY (2002)
The 1902 Scottish National Antarctic Expedition under William Bruce was a successful, but today under heralded, two-year voyage of discovery during which Coats Land, along the Weddell Sea, was discovered. The expedition was also the first to use a motion picture camera in Antarctica as well as the first to document the use of bagpipes to serenade emperor penguins (by Gilbert Kerr). To celebrate the centenary of this expedition, The Royal Scottish Geographical Society, The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, B.B.C. Enterprises and piper Ian MacInnes collaborated to produce this CD.
The first half of the disc consists of seven traditional Scottish country dance tunes with titles such as Antarctica Bound, The Ice Cap, The Piper and the Penguin played by Neil Barron and his Scottish Dance Band. The main event, however, is a 24-minute orchestral suite, South, by Dundee composer Gordon McPherson, played by the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, conducted by Nicolae Moldoveanu. It was commissioned by the orchestra, the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and supported by the Scottish Arts Council and has now been performed internationally. From an appropriately windy opening through some jangly, icy dissonances, this performance can take a proud place amongst the very few recorded orchestral pieces that have attempted to portray the moody, icy seventh continent. RSCDS CD032; www.rsgs.org
THE SONGS of the ‘MORNING’: a Musical Sketch by G. S. Doorly (2002)
The Morning was the relief ship sent to resupply Robert Scott’s Discovery Expedition of 1901-04. During the Morning’s 1902 voyage to Antarctica, the third officer, Lieut. Gerald Doorly, a talented pianist and entertainer, and the chief engineer, J.D. Morrison, as lyricist, collaborated on a collection of songs that were performed during musical evenings on the ship’s piano, accompanied by riotous noisemaking. More in the vein of Victorian parlour songs than sea shanties, the songs were published in 1943, apparently in a very tame version of the originals.
The present hearty and robust recording was undertaken as a Discovery centennial project and the Chorus contains all the adult male descendants of Gerald Doorly, along with professional colleagues and interested friends. The CD booklet includes the lyrics and words of the spoken passages between songs. All royalties from the sale are to be divided between the Dundee Heritage Trust and the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust for their work on the original Expedition’s historic artefacts. Reardon Publishing; www.reardon.co.uk
THE LIVING EDENS by Laura Karpman (2001)
This is the soundtrack from the American PBS television series about the natural wonders of the world that was broadcast over 1997-2001, produced by Alastair Fothergill, with narration by Peter Coyote, Linda Hunt, Sally Kellerman and James Coburn. Laura Karpman, the Los Angeles-based composer of the music, has won four Emmy awards during her career, including two for episodes of The Living Edens series. She has scored for many other films and television programs, has won additional awards and has also composed for opera, classical and other concert music. Included on the disc is the 4-minute orchestral track South Georgia Suite as well as the 2-minute CD closer South Georgia End Credits. Laura told us in 2009 that “We were thinking of a very classic approach, along the lines of a modernist Vivaldi “winter””, when asked about the instrumentation and musical styles used in the tracks. This music was from the episode South Georgia Island: Paradise of Ice and the production crew spent eight months of filming around the island, spread over two years. South Georgia is an isolated sub Antarctic island in the South Atlantic and is home to the world’s greatest concentrations of fur seals, southern elephant seal, King penguins and albatrosses. www.laurakarpman.com
INTO UNCHARTED SEAS by John Hearne (2001) (not commercially available)
John Hearne, a British composer/singer/conductor based in Scotland, was commissioned by Dundee Orchestral Society to write an overture to commemorate the centenary of the launching in Dundee of Robert Scott’s Antarctic ship RRS Discovery in 1901. The ship itself has been preserved in Dundee, whose Symphony Orchestra premiŹred the 13-minute piece in 2001. It is a dramatic and undulating score, portraying the rough and tumble of the seas the ship must have sailed through in its long voyages. Although the piece has not apparently been released commercially on CD, we are grateful to John Hearne and Scottish Music Centre for making it available to us. www.scottishmusiccentre.com
SEA STAR by Martin Kiszko (music) and Anne Ridler (words) 2001
Martin Kiszko, of Polish-British origin, is a Bristol, UK-based composer who has orchestrated scores for over 200 films and TV productions, including works for the BBC and ITV. Anne Ridler (1912-2001) was an editor and librettist, considered to be Britain’s leading female poet. Sea Star is a 27-minute choral-orchestral work, performed by the Spiritual Sounds Festival Orchestra & Choir at Clifton Cathedral (Bristol) and conducted by David Ogden.
The composer-orchestrator, Martin Kiszko, told us: “The cantata was inspired by an Antarctic voyage I made in 2001 as well as from the desire to write a work about humankind’s journey from the sea to space.” While the words were completed first, the score remained incomplete for several years and the liner notes explain that “A turning point for the musical birth of Sea Star came in 2001 when I visited Antarctica. For the first time many of the images that Anne had created in the poem were experienced first hand: ice covered worlds, floes and hummocks, the stillness or energy of the sea, the vast sky; the slow bubbling of ice thawing and cracking or the sound of ice shelves calving into the sea causing waves to break against the shore. Sea Star’s first tutti orchestral chord, followed by the ebb and flow of gentle strings represent the first beats heard and the aftermath of such a calving in the Antarctic panorama. Other sections of the score aim to emulate the pattern of the landscape – the textures of snow and ice, the sky and changing light – these images assisted the interpretation of the text. Sea Star is a journey of even greater proportions than my Antarctic expedition. It travels from the depths of the oceans with its nascent aquatic life-forms, through land and sky to the far reaches of space where other waterworlds exist in the icecaps of Mars and ice-belts of Saturn. As the characters in the text ascend these levels, it is as if they are on a quest to understand their destiny.”
Anne Ridler’s text for the icy, Antarctic-influenced section of the cantata, subtitled The Earth, follows:
“But while ice covers your world, You do not wake. Cowled in darkness, Uttermost depth of sleep. Ice built of water – water built into solids, Condensed to crystal, unique in all the moving worlds, Yet cousin to other constellations: Ice moons, ice planets, plunging comets. You do not wake…Cowled in darkness, Uttermost depth of sleep. On the surface, a dazzling whiteness; Journeying inward, multiple rings of ice terrains; Floes and hummocks, pinnacles, bastions, Fractured and folded.”
Martin’s web site also mentions that during his 2001 Antarctic trip, he “composed, performed and claimed a world first by for a spoof Antarctic National Anthem (someone had to do it!)” As to a recording of it, Martin advised us that “As for the Antarctic National Anthem – this is a spoof piece recorded in Antarctica on video and not available I’m afraid.” HOXA HS 2052-LE; www.martinkiszko.com
SHACKLETON’S ANTARCTIC ADVENTURE – Original Giant Motion Picture Soundtrack Composed by Sam Cardon (2001)
Cardon is an American Emmy award-winning composer, who also worked on a 2002 Winter Olympics project. The IMAX film’s superb opening iceberg panorama is not to be missed, and the juxtaposition of historic photos of the Endurance Expedition with the present-day recreation flows seamlessly throughout this first-class film. The film score, played by the Northwest Sinfonia, conducted by Kurt Bestor, provides a variety of music: majestic orchestral themes, marching band music, melancholic Celtic pipes, fiddles, banjos and a Hovhanessque horn solo, reflective of the era and the activities the music portrays. Musical tracks include, among others, Wintering in the Pack, Hope and Survival, Into the Unknown/A Stern Night, A Grim Landfall and On to South Georgia. A more informative liner/booklet with notes about the music, the Endurance and filming expeditions would have been a welcome inclusion with the CD. WGBH Music (BMI)/ White Mountain Films Music JR74222
SHACKLETON – Original Score by Adrian Johnston (2001)
This was a two-part four-hour TV dramatization of Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition, directed by Charles Sturridge and featuring the prominent British actor Kenneth Branagh in the title role. Although said to be thoroughly researched, the film received some criticism for spending too long on the pre-Expedition details and not nearly enough time on The Ice, Elephant Island, South Georgia or the final rescue. The attractive orchestral sound track by British composer Johnston is performed on CD by the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Terry Davies. Track titles portray scenes such as Sighting Ice, Locked in the Ice, Antarctic Night, Five Miles a Day, Sighting Land and Cracking Ice. Channel 4 Music C4M00172
ANTARCTIC SYMPHONY (SYMPHONY No. 8) by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (2001)
Of special interest to classicists, the British Antarctic Survey and the London Philharmonia Orchestra commissioned prolific British composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to compose the Antarctic Symphony, his 8th Symphony, for its premiŹre in May 2001 at Royal Festival Hall, London, U.K. Sir Peter conducted the London Philharmonia Orchestra at the performance. In 1997-98 Sir Peter spent three weeks at Britain’s Rothera Base on the Antarctic Peninsula experiencing life there. The BAS said, “Through this commission we hope to raise awareness of Antarctica as a unique scientific laboratory among people whose interests normally lie within the Arts. In turn we at BAS very much look forward to learning more about the world of serious music.” Sir Peter’s eloquent Antarctic diary is available at his web site. A CD recording and/or downloading of the symphony, once available on his web site, has been discontinued. The 41-minute recording by the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra in 2003 provides a range of sounds from dissonances to melodic passages, reflecting the composer’s impressions and observations of his trip.
A stylistically similar companion piece, the 21-minute High on the Slopes of Terror, was composed in 1999 for the National Association of Youth Orchestras and was the first musical work resulting from Sir Peter’s Antarctic trip. The title refers to the extinct volcano on Ross Island near McMurdo Sound, Mt. Terror and the virtuoso work was recorded in 2001 by the U.K.’s Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra, the youth orchestra of Chetham’s School of Music.
In 2007, the Purcell School Symphony Orchestra, Britain’s oldest specialist music school, based in the London, U.K.-area, premiŹred Sir Peter’s Port Lockroy, Antarctica, for symphony orchestra. This 11-minute piece, with Simon Rattle conducting, was commissioned by the School for the opening of its new Music Centre. The subject of the symphony, Port Lockroy, on Wiencke Island on the Antarctic Peninsula, is a natural harbour and was used as the site of a British base for Operation Tabarin during the years of World War II and was staffed up to 1962. The now-restored base building is maintained as an historic site and is a very popular landing site for Antarctic tourist ships. www.maxopus.com; (See also ANTARCTICA by Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra (2010) in the “Classical Antarctica: Ralph Vaughan Williams” section.)
LULIE the ICEBERG - Music by Jeffrey Stock, Story by Her Imperial Highness Princess Hisako of Takamado of Japan (1999)
Based on the Princess’ children’s book, written after she saw a lone iceberg drifting off Greenland, the “magical tale centers around a quest for the origins and destiny of life as seen through the eyes of an innocent and very brave iceberg, Lulie, as he embarks on a courageous ocean journey between the Arctic and the Antarctic, the two oldest living continents on the planet”. One of the movements is entitled South Pole.
Recorded at Carnegie Hall, the performance is narrated by Sam Waterston and the musicians include the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Betty Baisch's Choral Associates, Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Pamela Frank (violin) and Paul Winter (saxophone).
This CD is hard to miss with the colourful iceberg, emperor penguins and humpback whales on the cover. Produced in co-operation with UNICEF and Icebridge, a forum of scientists and educators dedicated to the promotion of knowledge about the polar regions and the oceans. Sony Classical SK 61665
ON THE LAST FRONTIER by Einojuhani Rautavaara (1999)
This Finnish classical composer has become well known to North American audiences in recent years, particularly for his haunting 1972 Cantus Arcticus, an ode to the land of the Arctic Circle. On the Last Frontier (A Fantasy for Chorus and Orchestra, 1997) is based on the composer's interest, going back to childhood, in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Published in 1837, this novella about Pym and a group of sailors marooned on a tropical island at the South Pole with a race of savages is considered to be seminal in Antarctic fiction and has spawned numerous like-minded stories. As Rautavaara approached his 70th year, he took the book's closing plot and developed his own rich musical themes of imagined lands not yet explored. Ondine ODE 921-2
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - Music from the BBC TV Series - composed by Benjamin Bartlett (1999)
The BBC Concert Orchestra takes us back in time to the Mesozoic era when dinosaurs ruled the land. The soundtrack includes the rather short Spirits of the Ice Forest which “explores the exotic woodland Antarctic - mirrored by a romantic theme tinged with Hispanic harmony” and the peaceful Antarctic Spring. BBC Music 7243 523458 2 3
2000 TODAY - a World Symphony for the Millennium - composed and conducted by Tan Dun (1999)
An international consortium of television broadcasters commissioned this dynamic musical mosaic for a millennium satellite transmission. The music presents a combination of classical western instrumentation including the BBC Concert Orchestra, choirs, soloists, world instruments and chants “to capture the poetic spirit of the world’s regions”. Included is the percussive Antarctica. Sony Classical SK 61529
LUBOMÍR BRABEC PLAYS BACH IN ANTARCTICA by Lubomír Brabec (1997)
The CD title is somewhat misleading as this music was recorded in the Czech Republic; however, the liner notes indicate that classical guitarist Brabec performed these works on his 1997 trip to Antarctica on board a Greenpeace ship and at one of the bases. “Just as Antarctica was unknown, not to mention unvisited, in J. S. Bach’s day, Bach himself was only known to a narrow group of connoisseurs. I think there are certain parallels: the grandeur, monumental beauty and power of Bach’s music, and the mysterious fascination and power of this mystic continent that belongs to no-one and yet everyone. In both these entities, Antarctica and Bach’s oeuvre, we can sense the presence of something transcendent, something that goes beyond us. It was to the greater glory of this principle, God, that Bach wrote this music.”
Brabec may be on to something here, as we await someone to lug a grand piano or bring a brass band to the shores of Antarctica for what might truly be the first professional recording of a musical performance on the continent. Supraphon SU 3338-2 131
FROM AUSTRALIA – John Williams, guitar (1994)
This CD of world premiŹre recordings by Australian composers includes Antarctica - Suite for Guitar and Orchestra by Australian Nigel Westlake. Westlake wrote the score for the IMAX film Antarctica and later reworked it into this longer 1992 guitar concerto in four movements. Highlights are the stately Wooden Ships and a shimmering piece called Penguin Ballet, which captures emperor penguins frolicking beneath the ice. Sony Classical SK53 361
ANTARCTIC SYMPHONY – various composers (1993)
This CD is a compilation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation of existing older, non-Antarctic classical music, interspersed with the actual sounds of Antarctic wildlife and human activities on The Ice, in an effort to evoke a feeling of Antarctica. The music includes pieces by Vivaldi, Duruflé, Boccherini, Roussel, Sibelius and Nielsen. The non-musical interludes include a kitchen sink of sounds of penguins, seals, petrels, skuas, katabatic winds, huskies, ships moving in ice, helicopters and radio room/flight operation conversations.
According to the liner notes, “Antarctica is a wilderness most people have some idea of, though very few have been there. Perhaps Australians are more aware; Antarctica is closer to us, though still very inaccessible. We have a national responsibility for part of it, and ‘part’ is a very large area indeed. Many of us will know someone who has been there, maybe even someone whose life was changed by spending time there. The race to the South Pole, lost to Amundsen by Scott and his party, the drawn out suffering and human loss as they tried to return – these are among the Australian epics, tales to children and remembered by adults.
The makers of this record haven’t visited Antarctica, though they received the sound recordings from people who have. For us, the sound effects were the introduction to the Antarctic world. As on the previous discs in this series, the idea is to appeal to the aural imagination, stimulating it with music and natural sounds, together and side by side.
The first paradox we found was that Antarctica seemed to demand the inclusion of some human sounds. In our other wildernesses, bush and sea, music provided the humanising element. In ANTARCTIC SYMPHONY there are even more bird and animal presences than in Sea Symphony, but the sounds captured on tape constantly remind the listener that any human presence is a struggle against the elements. We have introduced human voices for the first time, so that we can wonder that people are there at all.
“Symphony” mainly implies music from the European tradition. The sounds, rather than the music in this series, evoke the landscape, but it is no accident that music which can live with Antarctica was composed close to the northern, Arctic wastes…
Paradox No. 2: the trackless wastes of ice and snow seemed to call for a wider, not a narrower range of music and musical emotions. A strange environment, so that strange music is not out of place, like Boccherini’s startling eighteenth century phantasms of a Spanish city by night. Humour, from the dogs and their bluff handlers, releases an energy and directness typical of the music of Roussel, the ship’s officer turned composer. The seasons in Antarctica, we imagine, could hardly be like those of Vivaldi’s Venice, but his music, matching a poem describing an icy winter scene, seems right as our soundscape approaches the great southernmost continent…” ABC Music/Phonogram/Polygram 514 639-2
ANTARCTICA - The Film Music, composed by Nigel Westlake (1992)
The 37-minute CD of the score of the IMAX film Antarctica has thirteen mostly short orchestral tracks of various themes portrayed in the movie, four of which were developed into the previously mentioned guitar concerto. The CD is well played and recorded and the music, conducted by Carl Vine, conveys the dramatics of its theme titles. Tall Poppies TP012; www.tallpoppies.net; www.rimshot.com.au
TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH - Original Soundtrack Recording - music composed and conducted by John Scott (1988)
This is the soundtrack for the William Kronick-produced, written and directed documentary film about The Transglobe Expedition, led by Ranulph Fiennes. Over a three-year period ending in 1982, the team circumnavigated the globe along its polar axis from North to South Poles, being the first to do so. The orchestral music is a pleasant listening journey and the Antarctic tracks include the titles Shackleton, Reaching Antarctica, On to the South Pole and The Scott Tragedy. Prometheus PCD102
THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH – The Original Soundtrack Recording from Central TV’s Production by Trevor Jones (1985) (Vinyl LP only)
This is the 42-minute musical soundtrack for Britain’s Central TV’s historical drama series, directed by Ferdinand Fairfax, featuring Martin Shaw, Susan Wooldridge, Sverre Anker Ousdal, Stephen Moore, Richard Morant, Sylvester McCoy, Pat Roach, Max Von Sydow and a young Hugh Grant. The series was a 7-part TV dramatization of the competing Roald Amundsen Norwegian and Robert Scott British South Pole Expeditions of 1910-12, based on the book of the same name by Roland Huntford, who had a strong anti-Scott bias. The grand orchestral music was composed and conducted by Trevor Jones, a British-based TV and film composer. He has composed films for over 90 television and film projects and his later film work included major projects such as Excalibur, The Dark Crystal, The Last of the Mohicans, Cliffhanger, Notting Hill and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The tracks on the record include scenes such as Main Theme, Snow Mistress, Kathleen and Scott, Norwegian Theme, Scott and Wilson Collaborate, Chamber Ensemble at Mabel Beardsley’s Soiree, The Departure of the Terra Nova, The Fram Heads South, Forty-mile Dash, The British Set Forth Across the Barrier, Axel-Heiberg, The Furthest South, Ski Race, The Great Nail, Death on the Glacier, In Memory of “Soldier”, Message to the Public, The South Pole and Closing Titles. The full soundtrack does not appear to have ever been officially issued in CD format. Island Visual Arts ISTA 8; www.trevorjonesfilmmusic.com; (See also 1ST SONCINEMAD FILM MUSIC FESTIVAL OF MADRID SYMPHONIC CONCERT – Composed and Conducted by Trevor Jones (2006) in this section.)
DAS OPFER (THE SACRIFICE) by Winfried Zillig (1936) (appears to be unrecorded)
This opera was based on an original prize-winning play, Captain Scott’s Expedition to the South Pole, which was completed in 1930 and premiŹred successfully at the Hamburg State Opera, by unbalanced German physician and writer Reinhard Goering (no relation to his infamous WW II namesake), who pursued themes of man’s self-determination and perseverance in his writings. In 1936 he began the libretto for the opera to be based on his play, with music by German atonalist Winfried Zillig. Called The Sacrifice, it was first performed in 1937 but had only three performances, although it furthered Zillig’s musical career. The operatic work was revived in West Germany in 1961 and presentations included penguins as a Greek chorus to the dissonant score, which is still in print and available for purchase through music publishers on the Internet.
Non-Classical, all Antarctic or with significant Antarctic content:
FREEZE ’EM ALL by Metallica (2013) (Web site download only)
Metallica, a Los Angeles, California-based heavy metal/thrash rock group, formed in 1981, has been one of the top live performers and recording artists of its genre and has won many Grammy, Billboard and other awards. In December 2013, they made history by becoming the only band to perform concerts on all the continents in the same year. They performed a concert at Argentina’s Carlini Station (formerly known as Jubany, first established in 1953) on King George Island, part of Antarctica’s Shetland Islands, off the Antarctic Peninsula. The group, their equipment and their Latin American contest-winning fans, sponsored by Coca-Cola Zero, were transported to the base by the Dutch-managed expedition vessel Ortelius. The concert was played inside a clear dome at the base’s helipad and the audience was reported to have included about 120 people, including fans, ship crew and scientists and personnel from Carlini and neighbouring bases. In order to conform to sound control regulations, the concert had no amplification and apart from live drums and was transmitted to the listeners via headphones. A video was to be available later and the 10-song, hour-long downloadable concert audio was included for purchase on the group’s Web site. www.metallica.com
MUSIC FOR WERNER HERZOG’S ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Henry Kaiser & David Lindley (2013)
This is the instrumental soundtrack, by two master American guitarists, for German filmmaker Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World, an award-winning documentary about the scientists and support people who work in Antarctica, largely in the McMurdo Sound area, released in 2007. The music combines lots of drones with country roots and plenty of slide guitars and violins. Particular Antarctic titles include Over the Ice, Flight to New Harbor, Platelet Ice, Still Underwater, Seals on Ice, Greenhouse Gases, Back in Shackleton’s Day, McMurdo Barn Dance, Frozen Fingers, Happy Campers, Ice Cave Raga and Scelsi on Erebus.
David Lindley is an iconic award-winning American string multi-instrumentalist who has recorded as a sideman with the cream of California and other American rock artists from the early 1970s to the present. He is arguably best known for his guitar and vocals on the track Stay, with Jackson Browne on the Running on Empty album, a #3 charting Billboard record in 1978.
Henry Kaiser is a prominent and prodigiously recorded California-based improvisational avant-garde guitarist who first went to Antarctica in 2001-02 on a U.S. National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Program grant. He recorded his guitar playing at McMurdo Station and at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and later returned to work as a research diver and underwater cameraman on two documentaries, including one of his own and for Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World. Kaiser’s Antarctic diving and filming experiences may now be among the broadest in the field.
Henry Kaiser also produced an earlier DVD of his guitar music, A BUNCH OF GUITAR SOLOS (2003), in which he used the South Pole marker as a guitar slide, performed inside an ice cave on Antarctica’s active volcano, Mt. Erebus, and filmed scenes of the Icestock Music Festival at McMurdo Station. Fractal Music 2013A; (See also UNDER THE ICE – Live at 21 Grand by Henry Kaiser (2008) in this section and SOLO ACOUSTIC ON BEARDSELL GUITARS by Henry Kaiser (2011) in the “Individual Songs” section.)
BOND STREET BRIDGE PRESENTS THE EXPLORER’S CLUB: ANTARCTICA (2013) and
‘GREAT GOD! THIS IS AN AWFUL PLACE’ EP – THE EXPLORER’S CLUB: ANTARCTICA by Bond Street Bridge (2013) (Web site download only)
Bond Street Bridge is an Auckland, New Zealand-based alternative folk band started in 2008 by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Sam Prebble. An interest in piracy and exploration stories led to a more focused obsession with Antarctic exploration of the Edwardian era. This was followed up with a road tour over 2012-13 of the multi-media performance of The Explorer’s Club: Antarctica. The show’s publicity presented it as follows:
“They’ve torn up the Bible and eaten the dogs - Auckland alt-folk outfit Bond Street Bridge present tales of courage, endurance and Edwardian pluck in their multimedia song cycle ‘The Explorer’s Club: Antarctica’. Inspired by the incredible stories of Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton, songwriter Sam Prebble has recruited a band of seasoned folk musicians from the Auckland underground and produced a series of stirring vignettes drawn from the diaries and letters of these stalwart adventurers. Tales of shipwreck, frostbite, and stiff-upper-lip survival in the snow are presented in a combination of spoken-word storytelling and original folk songs. Performances range from ethereal to foot-stomping; arrangements run the gamut from delicate vocal harmonies to dramatic percussive explosions. The performances are fortified by projected heritage photographs, taken by the explorers themselves nearly a century ago, and now used here with the kind permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library. Combined with original mixed-media illustrations from Auckland artist Emily Cater, these images bring these legendary characters and stories of early 20th Century Antarctic exploration to life. 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of Captain Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition, with news of the explorer’s death reaching the world via the port of Oamaru in February 1913. Bond Street Bridge have taken this show on a 25 date tour throughout the country to mark this anniversary, including a special show in Oamaru’s historic precinct on the 7th of February. The tour has also included sold-out shows in the Wellington and Auckland Fringe Festivals, a feature appearance at Dunedin Fringe Festival Club, and an award for ‘best music’ in the 2013 NZ Fringe Festival Awards. With a band of road-hardened troubadours, rousing stories of icy adventure, stunning heritage photographs and beautiful original illustrations, audiences can expect to be transported back to a time when the ice was unforgiving, the pole was untouched, and if the worst came to the worst, one could always eat the dogs.”
A 19-minute, 5-track EP of the songs was made available via download in July and the full CD was issued in October 2013. The group described the EP on its Web site as follows: “Recorded live on stage and in the studio for your edification and entertainment, this EP records the story of Captain Scott’s arrival at the South Pole in 1912. Hoping for priority and a safe run home, the British party instead found that Amundsen’s team had won the race. These songs, based on the diaries and letters of Scott and his men, tell the tale of their final doomed effort to return to the safety of Hut Point.”
The full 42-minute studio album is described as: “Songs from the stories of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Captain Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition are remembered and celebrated through original folk songs.” Tracks include The Third Man, Great God! This is an Awful Place, Oates: Tragedy All along the Line, The Means to the End, The Wreck of the Endurance, Water Sky, Sixty Below, It’s All in the Game, Play On and The Lost Men.
Sam explained his interest in Antarctica to us: “Here in New Zealand there’s always been a strong interest, as you’re probably aware, in wilderness exploration and the Antarctic in particular. My parents were mountain climbers and wilderness guides in the 70s, and I grew up learning to sail wooden boats on Wellington Harbour with my friends, so these stories were all around.
“Travelling around the country playing folk music, I’ve also come across many visible connections to the expeditions that used New Zealand as their jumping-off point - Lyttelton Harbour has a thriving folk scene and the little museum there was a treasure trove before the earthquakes. Down in Port Chalmers in Dunedin – Scott’s final port, if you like – there’s an old pub on the wharf called Chick’s Hotel. We play there every time we pass through Dunedin and it struck me at one point that this would have been one of the pubs where the crew of the Aurora would have sat, waiting for the money to come through so they could fix their ship and head back to McMurdo Sound to collect the shore party they’d left behind.
“I also work in libraries - I drive a mobile library around West Auckland - and that’s given me a chance to spend a lot of time with the published narratives of the expeditions. Scott’s diary, Worsley’s books, Cherry-Garrard, of course, and Mawson, they were all stunning writers, as I’m sure you know well. Between the writing and the photographs that are held in collections here in NZ, I had a treasure trove of material to draw on when I wrote the songs. I also went into the poetry that Scott and Shackleton were reading out there on the ice - Browning, Tennyson, Kipling and of course, your own Robert Service - and that gave me some more angles on what these explorers may have experienced.
“What I haven’t done yet is go there myself - I’d love to and there are several artist residencies as I’m sure you’re aware, but what with playing shows and organising tours, I haven’t gotten around to applying for them...It’s on the list, however!” Banished from the Universe Records BAN014; www.bondstreetbridge.com
600 YEARS IN A MOMENT (2013) by Fiona Joy Hawkins; ICE – PIANO SLIGHTLY CHILLED (2007) by Fiona Joy Hawkins; ANGEL ABOVE MY PIANO by Fiona Joy Hawkins (2006)
Fiona Joy is an Australian painter and pianist whose 2006 CD of romantic New Age piano presents a suite of Antarctic Interludes, which includes Crystal Desert, Dance of the Penguins, Flight of the Albatross and Angel Above My Piano. Her 2007 CD, with added percussion and accompaniment, contains Antarctic Wings, a perkier sounding reprise of Flight of the Albatross from her 2006 disc, as well as Snow Bird, a vocal version of the same piece. Her 2013 album is “an exploration into time and history”, with orchestrated piano and backed with ancient instruments from around the world. It includes the re-arranged track Ancient Albatross and Antarctica, which has a North American Hopi drum accompaniment.
Fiona Joy told us in 2007 about her recent trip to Antarctica and its influence on her music: “I went out of New Zealand and into Hobart, Australia on an Orion Expedition Cruise (2005) - we went to the Antarctic Continent – most boats only go from South America to the Peninsula. I believe that less than six boats go there each year – we went to the lowest latitude you can sail to. The boat was fantastic and had two pianos on board – thus I could write as I looked out the window. As I am a conceptual writer, I need subject matter, and Antarctica is perfect to write music about. In my mind I captured what it is like, I hope other people agree – I guess it’s always something personal. I have to be honest, there were several places I went that I could hear no music whatsoever – it was simply too desolate and there was too much hardship (Scott’s Hut) – but the beauty of the ocean, the glaciers, the sunset, the mountains and the wildlife were irresistible to write about.” Fiona’s Antarctic video clips, including scenes of her playing the piano on the ship, have appeared on www.youtube.com (use Penguin Whisperer in the search box). Little Hartley Music FJH002 (2006 disc); FJH003 (2007 disc); FJH014 (2013 disc); www.fionajoyhawkins.com; www.littlehartleymusic.com.au
ANTARCTICA: ONE WORLD, ONE FAMILY by Lauren Alaina (2013) (Web site download only)
In May 2013, SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida opened the largest expansion in its history, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin™. This exhibit combines interactive ride technologies with views of the lives of 230 penguins and their recreated Antarctic habitats, including 50-foot glaciers and thousands of glass icicles. It’s all owned by the world’s largest private equity firm, Blackstone. To mark the opening, young award-winning country singer Lauren Alaina recorded the perky, anthemic new theme song, Antarctica: One world, One Family. Sample lyrics: “Sometimes the world seems vast and unknown, Icy and wild as the wind blows, Standing together, we’re never alone, One world, one family. Crystal and silent, night fills the skies, Lost in the mist as the snow lies. But there is wonder, a rainbow away, In the light of each other’s eyes. Come share a dream with me, And you’ll be, Breathless with wonder. Beyond an icy chill, Time stands still, One world together. It’s just a world away, Beyond the light of day, Antarctica, Where home is family. Together we will thrive, Our dreams survive, One world forever. It’s just a world away, Beyond the light of day, Antarctica, Where home is family.”
Alaina was the runner-up on the tenth season (2010-2011) of the long-running television talent showcase, American Idol. The song was available for free download from the SeaWorld Web site. seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando; www.laurenalainaofficial.com
OF WATER AND ICE by DJ Spooky (2013)
DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid (a.k.a. Paul D. Miller is a New York, N.Y.-based composer, musician, writer, lecturer and multi-media artist who has had international performances and presentations of his works. His current CD was produced as part of the Artist in Residence program, The Met Reframed, organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which was launched in 2012-13. It includes commissions, workshops and world-premiŹre performances. According to the Museum of Art’s Web site, “Of Water and Ice is a composition for string quartet and video that evolved out of Paul D. Miller's large-scale multimedia work Sinfonia Antarctica. Of Water and Ice is a music/video exploration of the composition of ice and water and our relationship to the vanishing environment of the arctic poles.” The show was presented as a commissioned concert by the Museum in March 2013. Antarctic-themed tracks on the disc include the 4-minute Antarctic Rhythms (Invincible Hip Hop Mix) and 5½-minute Antarctic Dawn. The violin, cello, sound effects, hypnotic rhythms and electronics showcase some very hot music for a warming polar climate.
In 2009 Paul D. Miller presented The Science of Terra Nova, which was about the changes in Antarctica related to global climate change, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a presentation incorporating his Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica. According to his Web site, “In December 2007 and January 2008 Paul D. Miller went to Antarctica to shoot a film and make a large scale multimedia performance work that will be an acoustic portrait of a rapidly changing continent called Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica.
Miller’s 2011 Ice Music was a CD of a live multi-media performance of his music during the 2011 Art + Environment Conference at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, with members of a string quartet from the Reno Philharmonic. The symphonic and electronic music was an interpretation of both environments of the Arctic and Antarctic. The music was a companion piece to Miller’s 2011 book, The Book of Ice, which combined history, science and politics of Antarctica and humans’ relationships with the natural world. www.djspooky.com; (See also ICE MUSIC by Paul D. Miller/ DJ Spooky (2012) and TERRA NOVA: SINFONIA ANTARCTICA by DJ Spooky (2008) in this section.)
ANTARCTICA (2010), ANTARCTICA 2 (2012) and ANTARCTICA 3 (2013) by Deep Chill Network
Deep Chill Network is the electronic ambient music project of Maryland, U.S.A-based Stephen Philips. He is a multi-instrumentalist who has been recording as Deep Chill Network since 1990 as a solo project and with occasional collaborators. Over the year she has produced countless CDs of ambient, relaxation and drone music on various themes. These two CDs of minimal drone music have individual tracks named after various places and geographic features in Antarctica and the subantarctic. ANTARCTICA has the tracks Gondwana, Amery, Weddell, Amundsen, Balleny, Crozet, Le Kiosque, Annenkov and Antarctica. ANTARCTICA 2 has the titles Shackleton, Mawson Sea, Ekstrom, Amery, Voyeykov, Archer Rock and Zavodovski. ANTARCTICA 3 has various tracks named after dates in time from the late 1890s to the late 1980s. Dark Duck Records DDR 250, DDR 257 and DDR293; www.darkduck.net
ANTARCTICA by Redgloam (2012) (Web site download only)
Redgloam (a.k.a. as Kidron Cool) is an electronic/downtempo/chillout music artist from the Spokane, Washington area. Her current album publicity describes Antarctica as: “The land of secrets hidden well within glacial masses. The land where day can last for a half-year, and night too. Endless white realms, as open as mysterious. Come make your own discoveries with these graceful tunes.” The tracks have the titles: Aurora Australis, Sun Dog, Blue Ice, Fire at McMurdo, Party at Vostok, Midnight Sun, South Pole, Calm Southern Ocean, Polar Night, Alone at the Bottom of the World. Kidron Cool told us about the record in 2013: “I am really interested in the Arctic and Antarctic. I was fascinated at how desolate Antarctica is, and what it must feel like to be in peace at the bottom of the world. I wanted to create a mood of wonder and awe, and peaceful serenity that one would expect to feel when down there.” uscu.unitedstudios.ru/2012/12/redgloam-antarctica.html
THREE LAST LETTERS (In Memoriam of Capt. Scott, Dr. Wilson and Lt. Bowers) by Craig Vear (2012) (Web site download only)
Craig Vear is a British electroacoustic composer and musician who won an Arts Council England Fellowship, in conjunction with the British Antarctic Survey’s Artists and Writers Programme, to spend three months over 2003/04 on British bases in the Antarctic Peninsula area. This resulted in his 2005 multi-media CD and DVD Antarctica, which included a small book of his diaries and other commentaries, a CD of recorded Antarctic wildlife sounds, ice breaking and glacial melting, and a video. His current piece, Three Last Letters is a 33½-minute theatrical presentation commissioned by the Vale of Glamorgan Festival commission (Cardiff area, U.K.), which premiŹred in May 2012. Written for three male voices, bass clarinet, cello and electric guitar with prerecorded, treated music from a string sextet, it incorporates passages from Robert Scott’s diaries, whose ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition for the South Pole sailed from Cardiff, Wales in June 1910.
According to Vear’s Web site, Three Last Letters is a “music composition that imagines the last moments in the mind of Scott before he dies in the tent, alone. It will be created using facts and suppositions surrounding these last moments and will include a library of found materials: Text from the final entries in Scott’s diary, the final letters home from Scott, Bowers and Wilson, Antarctic field recordings from my BAS composer residency in 2003-4, music materials (specifically We Love the Place, O God, and Sea Slumber Song by Elgar) and other sound and music that take the minds of the audience to this lonely place.
“These materials are the basic elements of the composition and will be subjected to a number of treatments. A bespoke software score will be developed using these found textual materials (score and words) as the visual elements. The role of the musician is to contribute to a sense of place, they will respond to the on-going visual and aural score through improvisation using their voice or their instrument. Each musician has a responsibility to a narrative exposition - however abstract this may be - but the main concern is to take the mind of the audience to this other place: a ‘dimension’ for their mind’s eye to wander.
“In performance the audience will sit in the round in near darkness. They will face the centre of the circle where the musicians perform: the three instrumentalists sitting facing out with the vocalists standing above them, each pair sharing laptop scores. The performers will be lit with a tight focused blood-red lantern from above evoking the famous Antarctic Pyramid Tent, and the ghostly presence of the other.
“Surround sound speakers will encircle the audience, at times immersing them in the immensity of white sonic space, or shrinking perception towards the claustrophobic sense of being in the tent. The mix of the live ensemble (fragments of melodies, held chords, spoken text, word play), the disembodied voice of “Scott”, the ghost sextet, processed and treated recordings and a soundscape created from the found sound library will be diffused live. The experience will be vivid, phenomenal and touching, offering a variety of possible interrelationships generated by the open work process.”
(See also ANTARCTICA by Craig Vear (2011) and ANTARCTICA - Musical Images from the Frozen Continent by Craig Vear (2005) in this section and SUMMERHOUSES by Craig Vear (2009) in the “Individual Songs” section.)
AURORA PASSAGE by Douglas Quin (2012) (live concert only)
Canberra, Australia was the setting of the first live performance, in August, of this multi-media presentation, scored for voice, piano and prepared recordings of polar sounds by American Douglas Quin, a sound designer, composer and associate professor at Syracuse University, N.Y. who has extensively recorded the natural sounds of Antarctica. The project was in collaboration with the Australian National University School of Music and ABC Classic FM, originally created for the ANU’s 2011 Antarctic Music Festival and Conference. The 52-minute work incorporates archival imagery from Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition, which began in 1911, and readings from the diary of Bert Lincoln, a crewman on the SYAurora, the ship used during 1912-13 to resupply the Expedition. Excerpts from the diary were read by Vincent Plush, a composer and broadcaster, with piano performed by Arnan Wiesel, Head of Keyboard at the ANU School of Music. The concert was the final one of a series of events of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Extreme Film and Sound exhibition, celebrating Australasian Antarctic Expeditions. (See also POLAR SUITE (2011), FATHOM (2010) and ANTARCTICA (1998) by Douglas Quin in this section and UNAMUNO by David Rothenberg (1997) in the “Individual Songs” section.)
THESE ROUGH NOTES by Bill Manhire, Anne Noble, Norman Meehan and Hannah Griffin (2012)
These Rough Notes is the collaboration of a writer, photographer and two musicians, which resulted in a music CD and a book of Antarctic poetry and photographs as a memorial to Robert Scott’s fateful South Pole expedition of 1910-13 and to the victims of the 1979 air crash of a tourist flight over Mount Erebus. Also included is a section on themes of current Antarctic exploration and science. The 14 tracks on the 40-minute CD include Forecast, Scott Sets Out, At the Pole, Scott Dying, Scott Dead, from Going Outside, Erebus Voices: The Mountain, Erebus Voices: The Dead, The Scholar’s Song, Forecast, Erratic, The Blue Flower, The Polar Explorer’s Love Song and Dry Valleys: The Scientist’s Song. The music was composed by and played by pianist Norman Meehan, an Associate Professor at the New Zealand School of Music and the vocalist is Hannah Griffin, a Wellington, N.Z.-based jazz vocalist. The lyrics are by New Zealand’s inaugural Poet Laureate and writer, Bill Manhire, based on themes from Scott’s own diaries. Ann Noble, the photographer, is a Professor of Fine Arts at Massey University. The musical tracks are very calming, lyrical and pastoral, if such a term can be applied to Antarctic moods. There are also various musical accompaniments from clarinets, violins, cello, percussion, whistles and pipes. Victoria University Press
ENTER SUNLIGHT by Ocean Camp (2012)
This is an album of experimental electronic, ambient/industrial instrumental music with polar influenced track titles, including Enter Sunlight, Beneath the Ice, Journey at Sea, Closing Floes, Exit Sunlight. The music is described on one sales site as follows: “An experimental sonic research inspired by the exploration of the Antarctic continent at the beginning of the 20th Century…A study in nine musical pieces, each with its own character and intention, together forming a text, more visual than descriptive, about the transient presence of man in that place of overwhelming extremes that is the Antarctic.”
Of note, Ocean Camp, the project’s name, was also the name of one of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ice camps, set up by the crew of the Endurance on November 1, 1915, after they abandoned their ship, which had been trapped in pack ice.
Lorenzo Bona, the composer and artist, told us about the music: “I started working on this project with no clear intention of making an “Antarctic-themed” CD. But getting more and more into it, I realized I was being deeply influenced by an interest in early Antarctic exploration, the conquest of the South Pole, etc., and the classic reads that came with it (Shackleton’s diary, Lansing’s reconstruction, Hurley’s pictures...). So, to explain further, this album is more about rediscovering these great themes (of ultimate discovery, uttermost loneliness, great heroics, etc.) in the soundscapes I was creating, than about trying to fit the music to some pre-defined decision of making an “Antarctic Soundtrack”. Each piece started as a sonic performance which sometimes rang true with what in my mind could have been a good musical representation of how I pictured a particular event or emotional landscape. For instance Water Where She Stood was inspired by the sinking of the Endurance. Dawn Patrol recalls the freezing, silent hour, just before the sun comes up, of a man on patrol-duty on the ice. All that said, I myself prefer to be free of any too strict a description of a musical piece, so as to be free to have my own imagination “work” with it. That may be why I tried to keep any reference to a specific Antarctic event somewhat hidden, only sometimes hinting at it in the chosen titles, so that the musical work could be enjoyed independently.” www.oceancampmusic.com
SCOTT’S MUSIC BOX – Music From Terra Nova – The British Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913) by various artists (2012)
This is a 2-disc collection of songs recorded in the early 1900s and represents a sample of the hundreds of 78s that were taken along for entertainment for Robert Scott’s British Terra Nova Expedition, which had as its primary objective the first arrival at the South Pole. Early flat disc recordings were first made in the U.K. in 1898 by the newly founded The Gramophone and Typewriter Company, an offshoot of a company formed by inventor and developer of the flat phonograph, Emile Berliner, in the United States. By the early 1900s, the technology had developed considerably and records with sales of a million copies were being made by popular artists such as Enrico Caruso.
According to the liner notes, “The Gramophone Company was a thriving business with branches in Germany, France, Russia, Italy and elsewhere, and its board of directors saw Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic as an excellent opportunity for publicity for the company. In addition to lending them two HMV ‘Monarch’ gramophones (one of which was kept in the Cape Evans base-camp hut with Scott, the other later moved to the Northern party’s smaller hut at Cape Adare) they provided several hundred records – still mostly single-sided in those day – ranging right across the catalogue, from red label celebrity classical recordings to the most popular musical hall performers and songs from the latest musical shows. This album presents a programme of recordings likely to have been selected, including some that we know from the diaries of the men on the expedition were definitely in the collection.”
According the liner notes, the music indicated a difference in tastes: “It seems that the serving men of the ship’s company generally liked the records of songs from the musicals, dance tunes and musical hall items, especially comic songs and sketches…The officers, however, apparently preferred something more cultured like stirring ballads and operatic arias.” The music on the two discs, originally recorded over 1902-10, is generally programmed similarly, ranging from popular and musical hall tunes on the first CD to mainly classical on the second. Artists include singers such as Margaret Cooper, George Robey, Harry Lauder, Clara Butt, Edward Lloyd, Enrico Caruso and Nellie Melba. The still-scratchy tracks were mastered and restored from original recordings in EMI’s archives, the successor to The Gramophone Company.
In addition, there are two bonus tracks, The Dash for the South Pole, a recitation by Ernest Shackleton in June 1909 about his 1907-09 Nimrod Expedition (one of two separate versions he recorded), and ’Tis a Story That shall Live Forever, a song recorded in 1913 by Stanley Kirkby as a tribute to Scott and his men, reflecting the mass of public sympathy following the news of the fate of the team’s South Pole journey. The CD cover has the interesting photograph by expedition photographer Herbert Ponting of Chris the Husky, standing on the Antarctic ice, listening to Captain Scott’s gramophone, reminiscent of the iconic “His Master’s Voice” publicity photo of the The Gramophone Company. EMI Records 5099964494920. (See also both the “Classical: Ralph Vaughn Williams” section and the end of this “Non-Classical, all Antarctic” section for descriptions of the Shackleton and Kirkby recordings.)
ELEPHANT ISLAND featuring Mara TK by Lucky Paul (2012) (Vinyl EP)
Lucky Paul (Paul Taylor) is an electronic music artist from New Zealand, now based in Los Angeles. He is also the drummer for award-winning Canadian pop artist (Leslie) Feist. This 4-track EP has the song Elephant Island, which pays homage to Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 Endurance Expedition and “the drift on the floe.” With lyrics, vocals and production by fellow New Zealand musician Mara TK, the 4-minute the track sails along with floating vocals, underpinned with synthesized bass and percussion. Three other subdued versions of the track include a piano dub version and two remixes by British artists, Ossie and Midland MO. Somethink Sounds STSEP005
ICE MUSIC by Paul D. Miller/ DJ Spooky (2012)
DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid (a.k.a. Paul D. Miller is a New York, N.Y.-based composer, musician, writer, lecturer and multi-media artist who has had international performances and presentations of his works. This is a CD of a live multi-media performance of his music during the 2011 Art + Environment Conference at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, with members of a string quartet from the Reno Philharmonic. Polar tracks include Ice Sonification, Arctic Rhythms Quartet 1 and the 4-minute Antarctic Rhythm Quartet 1 (invincible hip hop mix). This well-recorded, dynamic, modern instrumental music has synthesizers, looped arpeggios and a string quartet, at times reminiscent of American minimalist Philip Glass’s perpetually moving music. The music is a companion piece to Miller’s 2011 book, The Book of Ice.
According to the Nevada Museum of Art’s Web site, “Paul D. Miller…creates bridges between sound art and contemporary visual culture. Through music, photographs and film stills from his journey to the Antarctic, along with original artworks, and re-appropriated archival materials, Miller uses Antarctica as an entry point for contemplating humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Based on The Book of Ice -part fictional manifesto, part history, and part science book - this exhibition combines video footage of past performances with graphics and dynamic data visualizations related to climate change in the Earth’s polar regions…Miller is the musical genius behind Ice Music - a series of symphonic compositions and electronic quartets that interpret the environments of the Arctic and Antarctic.”
According to Miller’s own Web site, “Antarctica, the only uninhabited continent, belongs to no single country and has no government. While certain countries lay claim to portions of the landmass, it is the only solid land on the planet with no unified national affiliation. Drawing on the continent’s rich history of inspiring exploration and artistic endeavors, Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky has put together his own multimedia, multidisciplinary study of Antarctica. Book of Ice is one aspect of this ongoing project.
In light of climate change and tireless human enterprise to be present everywhere on the planet, Miller uses Antarctica as a point on entry for contemplating humanity’s relationship with the natural world…
Using photographs and film stills from his journey to the bottom of the world, along with original artworks and re-appropriated archival materials, Miller ponders how Antarctica could liberate itself from the rest of the world. Part fictional manifesto, part history and part science book, Book of Ice furthers Miller’s reputation as an innovative artist capable of making the old look new.”
The site further explains that “In December 2007 and January 2008 Paul D. Miller went to Antarctica to shoot a film and make a large scale multimedia performance work that will be an acoustic portrait of a rapidly changing continent called Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica. Sinfonia Antarctica transforms Miller’s first person encounter with the harsh, dynamic landscape of Antarctica into multimedia portraits with music composed from the different geographies that make up the land mass. It’s about the environment, sound, hip hop, electronic music and what it means to be a composer in the 21st century…Miller’s field recordings from a portable studio, set up to capture the acoustic qualities of Antarctic ice forms, reflect a changing and even vanishing environment under duress. Coupled with historic, scientific, and geographical visual material, Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica is a seventy minute performance, creating a unique and powerful moment around man’s relationship with nature…”
In 2009 Paul D. Miller presented The Science of Terra Nova, which was about the changes in Antarctica related to global climate change, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a presentation incorporating his Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica. In 2010 Paul went to the High Arctic for his Arctic Rhythms/ Ice Music project with Cape Farewell, a charitable organization working to encourage artists to produce art based on scientific research, to engage the public in global warming issues. According to his Web site, “I am in the High Arctic creating a series of drafts for several compositions that I’ll eventually turn into several string quartet pieces, a gallery show, and a symphony out of the experience. I’m looking at how to collect impressions of the landscape, distill the material into something that I can use in the compositions (visually, sonically, and for writing as well), and arrive at a point where sound and art can create portraits of what’s going on up here.”
His Web site further explains: “The Arctic compositions I’ve been working on are based on a place where Nature is a commons, owned by no one. My first Antarctic symphony project was an “acoustic portrait” of Antarctica as a place that has no government, and is under a kind of “Terra Nullius” context – the Arctic Rhythms project will take that path and go further along. So many countries claim the Arctic. I want to make music a way to reflect on this, and move beyond it. Today, concepts like “land” and “territory” are becoming more and more abstract – the internet has radically changed the way we relate to both concepts. The “commons” in our information economy-based global culture is just as intimately linked to climate change in the Arctic and Antarctica as anywhere else in the world. In “Terra Nullius” – the legal concept of land considered “ownerless” property is usually free to be owned – how do we portray that in music? Under international law, no country owns the North Pole, or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The five surrounding states – Russia, The United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark, have “exclusive economic zones” but under the United Nations Convention on the Law of The Sea, there’s a lot of possibilities that the Arctic could be opened for exploitation in a way that Antarctica never can. That’s what these compositions will look at – how music can reflect some of the basic realities facing us in this time of massive change and they’re a signal, like the glaciers I watched this morning, that we need to really think of everything as being more connected than we realize.” www.djspooky.com; www.myspace.com/djspooky; www.nevadaart.org; (See also OF WATER AND ICE by DJ Spooky (2013) and TERRA NOVA: SINFONIA ANTARCTICA by DJ Spooky (2008) in this section.)
THE GIANT by Ahab (2012)
Ahab is a Stuttgart/Heidelberg/Mannheim-based German doom metal band, formed in 2004. Their third album follows two previous ones that had ocean and whaling themes. This concept album is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s novella, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Published in 1837, the story about Pym and a group of sailors marooned on a tropical island at the South Pole with a race of savages is considered to be seminal in Antarctic fiction and has spawned numerous like-minded stories. One of the CD tracks is the deeply descriptive Antarctica - The Polymorphess. Lyrics: “A strong current setting, with heavy gales and fog, many a strange thing written, down in the Captain’s log. Clouds of a snowy whiteness foreshadow immense fields of ice. South, where the giant sleeps, motionless, cold and proud. Eternal, two worlds collide, senses go numb. Sleeping, dreamless aeons and aeons. Will he ever dream again? Antarctica the “Polymorphess” plays her game of bloody dice. She is so ragged and broken, yet shatteringly adorable, many words have been spoken, her ways purely impassable. To the west: icebergs, four hundred fathoms high, our passage south is doubtful, O Father, hear our mournful sighs. This gigantic creature tossed its vast bulk across our thole board, seizing one man – instantly lost, Peters plunged the blade and roared. Clouds of a snowy whiteness, foreshadow immense fields of ice, Antarctica the “Polymorphess” plays her game of bloody dice. She’s so ragged and broken, yet shatteringly adorable, many words have been spoken, her ways purely impassable.” Napalm Records NPR 426; www.ahab-doom.de; www.myspace.com/ahabdoom
ALL’S WELL by Jake Wilson (2012)
Jake Wilson, a trained classical violinist and pianist, is a British composer and folksinger/guitarist who has recently released All’s Well, a cycle of songs imagining the final thoughts of Captain Scott and his polar party, as they faced their deaths on the return journey from the South Pole in 1912. The songs have been fully endorsed by the Scott Polar Research Institute as part of the official Scott centenary celebrations, and have been described as “a cultural masterpiece for the centenary”. The album has been produced by the English folk fiddle legend Dave Swarbrick, a member of iconic British folk/rock group Fairport Convention, and is dedicated to the memory of Jake’s mother, and his close friend, the novelist and children’s writer, Russell Hoban, both of whom died in 2011. Jake has been performing the songs through the centenary period at a number of key locations, including the Scott Polar Research Institute, the Natural History Museum, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Swansea Museum, Cheltenham College, Exeter Cathedral and Plymouth City Museum.
The 25-minute CD has five tracks titled Home, Maybe Some Time, All’s Well, Sleep in the Cold and Black Was the Flag, which are sung forthrightly with masterful guitar accompaniment, each from the point of view of one of the five South Pole expedition members. The CD booklet includes lyrics and notes about each song. The front and back of the CD cover include the two iconic photographs, taken by team member Birdie Bowers, of the dejected group at the South Pole after they arrived and found that the competing Norwegian expedition had beaten them to the Pole. Sample lyrics of Black was the Flag, sung from Robert Scott’s imagined point of view: “White were the nights, and white were the days, White was the path that we trod all the way, White were our thoughts, as we hauled and we dragged, But black was the flag, black was the flag…Red was the blood of the ponies that we drove, And white was the snow that it stained. Blue was the sky so clear above, But black, black was their pain…Black was the flag that fluttered at the Pole, But red, white and blue, Red, white and blue, Is my soul.”
Jake told us about the project in 2012: “A couple of years ago, I was looking for something to read at my parents’ house and pulled an interesting-looking book off the shelf - which proved to be an early edition of Scott’s Last Expedition. I found Scott’s journal so gripping that I started reading everything I could lay my hands on about the Terra Nova expedition: the published journals of the other expedition members, their biographies, accounts like The Worst Journey in the World. At that stage I thought that maybe I would write my own little book about it, or perhaps try and make a documentary (my usual work is researching BBC art history television documentaries). Even after I had written the first song, Black was the Flag, imagining Scott’s reaction to discovering one of Amundsen’s black marker flags near the South Pole, it wasn’t clear to me that I would write any more. Then in April 2011 my mother was suddenly diagnosed with advanced cancer and died only a few weeks later. Seeing how bravely she behaved in the last weeks of her life made me feel very differently about Scott and his polar party - it turned them from icons into real people. In the months after my mother’s death, I realized that I wanted to write a song for each of the other members of the polar party (Evans, Oates, Wilson and Bowers) and started working hard on this project. When I was part of the way through the process, and felt it was realistic that I might manage to complete the set, I contacted the Scott Polar Research Institute, and their very positive reaction kept me going. I was also helped enormously by two people who I think are geniuses in their fields: the cult novelist and children’s writer, Russell Hoban, who was one of my closest friends, and encouraged me a lot until his own death late last year; and the folk fiddle legend Dave Swarbrick, who produced the live recordings of the songs and has made it possible to release the CD. Thanks to the support of the Scott Polar Research Institute, I’ve been able to perform the songs as part of the recent official centenary celebrations and also to reproduce key images and documents from 1912 on the CD packaging and in the accompanying booklet. It’s also very heartening that the project has been so warmly received by descendants and relatives of the original team-members, including Edward Wilson’s great-nephew, David Wilson, and Captain Scott’s grandson, Falcon Scott.”
In 2013, Jake gave us an update of his recent trip to Cape Evans on Ross Island, Antarctica: “My expedition to Captain Scott’s Hut to perform my songs there was a success – you’ll remember I was granted special permission from the NZAHT (New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust) to play all of my album ALL’S WELL there, if I was able to reach it. I actually managed to get to Cape Evans on 3rd March, 2013 and had the one perfect day of the whole month I was at sea: blue sky, sunshine, no wind, temperature only -13 degrees, and Mt. Erebus clearly visible. The conditions couldn’t have been better, and I was able to play all of the songs from my collection ALL’S WELL in different areas of the Hut, relevant to the man the song was for. It really was a truly extraordinary experience, and the Hut was unbelievably atmospheric and peaceful. I’ve just posted the first edited video of one of the performances at my website. I’m now working on a longer documentary about the whole project, which will include all five performances.” Jake Wilson Music JWM0001; www.jakewilsonmusic.com
AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS – Sketches for the H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast by Reber Clark (2012) (Web site download only)
Reber Clark is a Chicago area-based freelance composer, arranger and performer, with particular interest in concert band and wind ensemble works. As a trumpeter, he has performed in bands for many internationally known performers. This CD has 27 short instrumental tracks, including various sinister sound effects, based on themes from Lovecraft’s 1931 novella of a Byrd-era Antarctic expedition that meets unimagined horrors in an ageless, underground city beneath Antarctic ice. Reber told us that “The H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast commissioned me to do some music for them. This was one of the episodes they requested. I have been a fan of Lovecraft since I was in high school and enjoyed the chance to do this for them.” www.reberclark.bandcamp.com; www.reberclark.blogspot.com; www; www.hppodcraft.com; www.hplovecraft.com
AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS by Allicorn (2012) (Web site download only)
Allicorn is a British electronic musician, artist and software developer with a great interest in American writer H. P. Lovecraft’s science fiction and horror mythology. Allicorn’s current CD is based on themes from Lovecraft’s 1931 novella At the Mountains of Madness, the story of a Byrd-era Antarctic expedition and the horrors it encounters in caverns under Antarctica’s ice, which has become a classic. The thematic instrumental tracks include Intro (Antarktos), The Expedition, South Orkney, Aurora, McMurdo Sound, Across the Ice, The Old Ones, Forgotten by Time, Thaw, Dead City, Polar Warning, In Crystal Gulfs Below, The Intern’s Story and The Primal White Jelly. Allicorn explained the background of the CD to us: “I’m rather an H. P. Lovecraft fanatic, to be honest, and this is the third album of Lovecraft-inspired material I’ve published. This latest, which I’ve been gradually working upon for quite some time, grew out of my particular fascination for Lovecraft’s short poem Antarktos, especially since I’ve also been working on composing music to accompany a reading of the full Fungi From Yuggoth cycle from which it originates. Then again, I’ve known that my buddies over at Yog-Sothoth.com were planning a new audio game of Lovecraft-inspired role-playing this year based on the Beyond the Mountains of Madness campaign book from Chaosium. Together, those two things probably contributed to finally getting started on an At the Mountains of Madness album. The story itself fascinated me for years, mind you. The absolute remoteness of it all is what gets me, particularly, I guess, the Antarctic being not just remote in sheer distance but in practical accessibility and also remote in experience, in contrast to the inhabited parts of the world. It’s very alien, strange - remote from common day.” FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH by Allicorn (2012) (Web site download only) is a CD of the 36 spooky sonnets of H. P. Lovecraft, largely written over a short time in late 1929-1930. The poems are read by Paul Maclean, underlain by Allicorn’s musical backing. One of the sonnets in the group is Antarktos, which hints of unknown things buried deep in the Antarctic ice. Issued by U. K.’s Innsmouth House. www.allicorn.com; www.allicornuk.deviantart.com; www.yog-sothoth.com; www.innsmouthhouse.com
ANTARCTICA by Įystein JŅrgensen (2012)
Įystein JŅrgensen (a.k.a. Ambient Fabric) is a Norwegian musician who has moved from metal/hardcore to production of numerous experimental CDs. His current record of contemplative, dark ambient drone soundtracks has pieces titled Antarctica, Ice Drift, Snowstorm, Iceberg, Antarctic Night, Aurora Australis and Snowstorm (Part 2). Įystein commented on his CD for us: “I have had this idea in mind for a long time, always been fascinated by Antarctica, the coldness, isolation and the beauty so my idea was to create some pictures with soundscapes, and try to capture those elements.” oysteinjorgensenmusic.wordpress.com; ambientfabric.wordpress.com
ANTARCTICA by Mark O’Leary, Jeff Herr and SŅren Kjĺrgard (2012)
Mark O’Leary is a veteran Cork, Ireland-based jazz guitarist and composer who studied in the U.S. and has played and toured with many top international musicians. In recent years he has worked in post-rock, ambient styles with electronic/processed sounds and participated in films and soundscapes for art projects. On this CD of ambient music, he is joined by SŅren Kjĺrgard, a Danish pianist and Jeff Herr, a percussionist from Luxembourg. The instrumental tracks include Antarctica, Aurora, Searching for Scott I, II and III, Beneath the Frozen World (J. Cousteau), Shackleton, Endurance, Polheim (Amundsen), Trans-Antarctica and Ice Station.
Mark told us that the liner notes best explain the reason behind the recording: “It is said one of the first men to have discovered the landmass of Antarctica, Royal Navy Master Edward Bransfield originated from Balinacurra, a short distance from the Church where Antarctica was recorded. While we herald Amundsen and his exceptional achievement of reaching the South Pole first, we also reminisce on the heroic bravery of Captain Robert Falcon Scott. His expedition was not in vain, numerous scientific experiments were enacted and his bravery is a source of inspiration to many of the adventurers that endeavor to embrace the challenge that Antarctica poses. The bravery of Shackleton and his comrades in the face of adverse conditions, to go to extreme lengths to save his colleagues, provided a staple source of inspiration to courage for the men fighting in the Trenches on the Western Front and indeed today, he is still lauded. We also think of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Trans-Antarctic commonwealth expedition and how technology started to have an impact on the excursion, albeit the capacity to contend with hostile conditions still had to be figured into the equation and it does take a special kind of individual to thrive in this kind of environment. The expedition of Jacques Cousteau in the 1970’s was one of the first times where we could get close to the terrain, ornate icebergs and figurative underwater scenes juxtaposed with sea life, as well as an aerial panorama with vastness of ice as well as engaging with the wildlife. We also recently have encountered Werner Herzog’s documentary, which in a way, encapsulates the psyche of the individual who can survive in such a desolate terrain in extreme conditions for a prolonged period. Antarctica has captured the imagination of the masses for nigh on two centuries and it has the capacity to create challenges for science and exploration, as well as pose a subject matter for media and art for many years to come.” Tibprod TIBIT025; www.markoleary.eu; www.myspace.com/markolearyjazz; www.myspace.com/jeffherr; www.sorenkjaergaard.com
69ľ54’S-135ľ12’E by Lauki (2011) (Web site download only)
Mikel Lauki is a Barcelona, Spain-based composer and sound technician, whose 5-track EP of ambient music and the title piece are named after co-ordinates in Antarctica’s Wilkes Land, close to the border of Adélie Land. Mikel told us in 2013 about the EP: “All the phases of the creation of this album (and maybe of all of my work) are inspired by the polar desert landscape. Somehow, it vibrates very deep with some inner place of my psyche. When I watched the film Encounters at the End of the World (Herzog), I was very impressed with the images, and wanted to work on what would be a soundtrack that evoked these. The name used is the coordinates of Tierra Adela, which is the biggest piece of ice on earth. My working formula is based on the sampler and the recordings of stringed instruments, greatly modified until I get textures in constant change, as fractals of an ice crystal. I guess this is very personal and maybe for some people, evokes something totally different.”
According to descriptions in his Web sites, the title is described as follows: “69ľ54’S-135ľ12’E - Coordinates scribbled on a map, lost, then recovered in the world of dreams. In the coldest region, the promise of breaking through the inner ice. The polar desert, another frontier of our planetary existence, a territory where only fools and heroes dare to go.”…“With the juxtaposition of classical music set to fractured digital manipulation, 69ľ54’S-135ľ12’E is characterised by crystalline nets of microsound, glitch and computer sounds that break upon contact with the delicately analog melancholy of rubbed strings. The contrast of these two ingredients is stark, like ice melting in the hot summer sun. The ice is fragile and vulnerable, inevitably melting away quickly in the intensity of the heat. For this EP, the five short tracks reference this beautifully as the modern classical melodies are quickly melted into droplets by the electronic glitches, evaporating in just fifteen minutes. The beauty is in the collapse...” lauki.bandcamp.com/album/69-54-s-135-12-e; music.audiogourmet.co.uk/album/69-54-s-135-12-e
POLAR OPPOSITES: AMUNDSEN, SCOTT, and the RACE FOR THE POLE created and told by Lawrence Howard (2011)
MAWSON’S METTLE: Alone On the Wide Shores of the World created and told by Lawrence Howard (2010)
SHACKLETON’S ANTARCTIC NIGHTMARE: The True Story of the 1914 Voyage of The Endurance created and told by Lawrence Howard (2009)
According to its website, Portland, Oregon’s Portland Story Theater was “launched in 2004 to bring the urban community together for a unique performance experience, telling original tales that stimulate the mind and rouse the heart. Our vision is to enrich, inspire, challenge and expand our world through the narrative arts…PST delivers engaging, true stories for adult audiences. We are a grass-roots operation, committed to creating original work and building awareness and appreciation for narrative. Portland Story Theater provides a unique live theater experience where the artist and the audience are always making direct eye-to-eye contact…PST’s mission is to find the meaning in the mundane, and to illuminate the universal through personal narrative. We strive to make the narrative arts an integral part of Portland’s rich cultural identity.” One of the co-founders and storytellers is Lawrence Howard, the creator of the Armchair Adventurer Series. Lawrence told us in 2011 about the CDs: “My dad was a great fan of the Shackleton story and I just grew up with it. I read (Alfred) Lansing when I was a teenager and it was a thing that my dad and I shared and talked about quite a bit. I started telling stories professionally in 2001. After my dad died, it just came to me that I would tell the Shackleton story as a tribute to him. That was very well received and I saw that there was a hunger for these kinds of stories of courage and fortitude. My reading and research led to Mawson, who is so little known outside those of us who are interested/obsessed with Antarctic history. Once I created the Mawson story, it just sort of seemed obvious that I had to cap off the series with Amundsen and Scott. The third Antarctic CD is called POLAR OPPOSITES: AMUNDSEN, SCOTT, and the RACE FOR THE POLE and tells the story of Amundsen and Scott and the 1911-12 race to the pole. I told it and recorded it last January 2011 but I’m just now getting around to editing it and preparing to release it (in 2012).”
The stories are very clear, vivid, down-to-earth presentations, which are easy on the ears of the listener. The well-known Shackleton story is an epic of survival on the frozen ocean, the miraculous boat journey to South Georgia, the trek over the mountainous backbone of the island to the safety of the whaling station and the eventual rescue of all the expeditioners. The history of Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14 is less well-known. On a scientific dog-sledging journey, Mawson lost his two companions through misfortunes and the story of his battle to return to base alone, through starvation and deprivation, is one of ultimate bravery and perseverance. The story of the Race for the Pole is explained not so much from the point of view of a race but rather, explains in a gentle, humourous way, the personalities of the two leaders and the national cultures of the era. Let’s hope the series continues with other outstanding stories of Antarctic exploration. www.portlandstorytheater.com; www.lawrencehoward.name
POLAR SUITE by Douglas Quin (2011) (live concert only)
Douglas Quin is a sound designer, composer and associate professor at Syracuse University, N.Y. who has extensively recorded the natural sounds of Antarctica. This 14-minute piece had its premiŹre in November at Syracuse University, N.Y., part of a multi-media workshop, sponsored by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Written for string quartet and active electronics, it used digitally processed samples from Quin’s Antarctic nature and other sound recordings, integrated with electronic treatments and acoustic instruments. The acoustic stringed instruments were played by the internationally famed San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet, aided by an electronic sound processor called the K-Bow, which can trigger various musical and sound effects from the natural sounds being sampled. One of the difficulties of touring the piece will be its repeatability since the sounds may be different in every performance due to differences in performer mechanics and gestures. (See also AURORA PASSAGE (2012), FATHOM (2010) and ANTARCTICA (1998) by Douglas Quin in this section and UNAMUNO by David Rothenberg (1997) in the “Individual Songs” section.)
SPACES OF ANTARCTIC by Pulsacium (2011) (Web site download only)
This is an album of electronic drone/ambient music by Chelyabinsk, Russia-based Dmitry Romanov. According to his Web site album notes, “Dmitry Romanoff is the unique participant of the project. He characterizes his style as cold ambient. The album Spaces of Antarctic has been recorded from desire to plunge into the world of the most mysterious and not enough searched continent of Earth - Antarctica. The nature of Antarctic attracts with snow-white beauty and frightens with mysteriousness at the same time. Only little part of people was possible to get acquainted with the nature of this ice continent alive. The album Spaces of Antarctic draws sound landscapes of Antarctic, aspiring to pass its atmosphere and mentally to ship the listener in this fine ice uncertainty. Tracks Boundless Spaces of Antarctic, Peaks and Land-Ward represent abstract landscapes, among which snowy silent deserts, tops of icebergs, shouts of gulls on coast. Two remaining tracks are devoted to separate geographical objects. The track Sovetskaya carries the name of the same subglacial lake in Antarctica; Erebus is named in honour of the most southern volcano on the Earth. Listen to the album, include the imagination and plunge into an atmosphere of the unthinkable.” archive.org/details/Pulsacium_2011_Spaces_of_Antarctic; www.last.fm/music/Pulsacium; www.7hz.ru/d04.html
NANKYOKU TAIRIKU (ANTARCTICA) - Soundtrack (2011)
This double CD set is the musical soundtrack of a 10-episode Japanese television drama series, which ran from October to December 2011, made to commemorate Tokyo Broadcasting System’s 60th anniversary. The story is based on the 1958 first Japanese Antarctic Expedition, which ended up stranding a pack of 15 sled dogs on the continent over a winter season, two of which had survived when the team returned a year later. The tracks are largely very melodic instrumental New Age and pop-flavoured orchestral music, occasionally interspersed with more dynamic and dramatic tracks. Anchor Records UZCL-2020/21
HAPPY FEET TWO – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2011)
This is the soundtrack to the 3D movie sequel to 2006’s Happy Feet. The Emperor Penguin, Mumbles, the star of Happy Feet, is now the father of Erik and there are new character arrivals on the Antarctic scene. After the colony is trapped following an iceberg collapse, Erik and the other chicks must find a way to rescue it. While the plots may be confusing, the movie benefits from two comical krill and more feats of endearing tap dancing. The songs are a mixture of adaptations from existing tunes and a few new ones, which include compositions from singer Pink, and vocals from the cast and choirs, including the Sydney University Graduate Choir. The songs in the first half of the disc ranges from funky to operatic, while the second part has more subdued orchestral tracks and arrangements by John Powell. As a note, the music for one of the tracks, Rawhide, has another polar connection: it was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin, an icon of the Golden Age of Hollywood films, who wrote also the spooky soundtrack for The Thing (From Another World), a 1951 movie about an alien monster found at an Arctic research base, which later became the model for the 1982 Antarctic cult horror film The Thing, and its 2011 prequel. WaterTower Music WTM39268
THE THING - Music from the Motion Picture by John Carpenter (2011)
This is the re-recorded CD release of the soundtrack of the popular 1982 Antarctic science fiction movie by director John Carpenter, in which a buried alien is thawed after being discovered in the Antarctic ice. It comes back to life at an Antarctic base and is able to take on the appearance of the resident dogs and people, as it attacks them. The original orchestral and synthesizer music to the film was composed by the veteran of many Western scores, Ennio Morricone. He did not compose the music directly to picture cues, but composed pieces of music inspired by film cuts he had been provided, based on the concepts of isolation, desolation and vulnerability. Many of the tracks on the original The Thing soundtrack CD were not used as cues in the movie and the film contained three electronic drone tracks composed by John Carpenter, with Alan Howarth, which were added to Morricone’s music for scene continuity and did not appear on the original soundtrack CD. This current CD is a new recording, made by Alan Howarth, with digital orchestrations by Larry Hopkins, of the original Morricone orchestral and synthesizer scores, including the three Carpenter/Howarth tracks that were included in the original film score. The music was sequenced to fit the chronology of the events in the film, which the original CD soundtracks did not follow. BSX Records BSXCD 8895
THE THING – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2011)
THE GREAT WHITE SILENCE – Original Soundtrack to the Film by Simon Fisher Turner (2011)
This is a restored documentary release by the British Film Institute Film Archive of original films of the fateful 1910-13 British Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole, led by Robert Scott. Although Scott and his team were beaten to the Pole by the Norwegian expedition, led by Roald Amundsen, his death and that of his four companions have become iconic for their show of valour against impossible odds. The Expedition was documented by its photographer and cinematographer, Herbert Ponting, who was already an experienced photographer but at the time was still a newcomer to cinematography. Shorter, early versions of his Expedition films were released in 1911 and 1912 and re-edited in 1913 after Scott’s death had been confirmed and publicized. Ponting lectured and toured with his films during the First World War but interest faded. Ponting again re-edited the film in 1924 as the 2-hour long The Great White Silence and in 1933 produced another 75-minute version, with sound, known as 90ľ South. The current 106-minute restoration includes footage from the earlier films and has a new electronic soundtrack of ambient/industrial sounds by veteran British musician Simon Fisher Turner. A former child actor in movies and TV, Turner’s music career has ventured from pop to avant garde and he scored numerous films for British film director Derek Jarman. The stand-alone soundtrack recording includes two CDs of interesting sounds that include quiet contemplative electronic drones and other brooding effects, interspersed with Scott-era banjo snippets, recorded string scrapings from a quartet and other musical instruments. Although much of the sound seems depressive and joyless, it is a mesmerizing listening experience with enough variety to keep up interest. The CD is attractively packaged in a parchment jacket, with a booklet outlining the composer’s enthusiasm, when he was requested to work on the project and his subsequent progress on it. Soleilmoon SOL 176 CD; www.simonfisherturner.com
MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Rolfe Kent (2011)
This is the soundtrack music for the film, based very loosely on a 1938 book by Richard and Florence Atwater of the same name. The film is directed by Mark Waters and features Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino and Angela Lansbury. A divorced upwardly mobile businessman receives six unwelcome penguins from his father. His ex-wife and children arrive for a birthday party and are smitten with the penguins, but to the detriment of his work. The film has garnered both hot and cold reviews, based on opinions of Jim Carrey’s performance. The music is by Rolfe Kent, a California-based British composer, who has scored many prominent movies and TV programs, including Legally Blond I & II, About Schmidt and Nurse Betty. The pleasant melodic, orchestral music, like the film, is not polar in focus, but the last track on the disc, A Family in Antarctica, at least gives a formal nod to the continent. VarŹse Sarabande 302 067 103 2
UNTITLED # 272 (ANTARCTICA VARIATIONS) by Francisco López (2011) (USB flash drive only)
Francisco López is an award-winning Spanish experimental sound artist, who works with urban sounds as well as with the wilderness. He has had decades of experience in research fieldwork in biology and has participated in concerts and sound installations with galleries and festivals internationally. His recorded sound pieces have been released by over 200 record labels worldwide. The current work is a limited-edition of 300 flash drives. Recorded in mp3 format, it is a 24-hour recording, in 8 separate tracks, made from hydrophones under the 100-meter thick Ekström Ice Shelf off the coast of East Antarctica, near Germany’s Neumayer Station III. Francisco told us: “I just find those sound environments, in their specific texture through the audio streaming, quite thrilling. I also think they’re perfect material for the idea of the “variations” that I carried out in this piece. www.franciscolopez,net/index.html; www.somnimage.com
ANTARCTICA ENCORE by Frozen Orchestras of Lost Sound (2011) (DVD only)
The liner notes of this limited-edition DVD describe it as “A cross-modal improvisation in 4 movements with words, sounds and visual media to describe and evoke the spirit of the journey that Frances Hatch made to Antarctica in 2005. This 26½-minute DVD presents “Journey” and “On Location”, the 2nd & 3rd movements, taken from the debut performance of this collaboration on 18th February 2010 at Bournemouth University, U.K., in which two musicians, Cathy Stevens (violectra and percussion) and Udo Dzierzanowski (guitar and computer), responded to images and photographs previously created by Frances Hatch, all inspired by her 2005 visit to the Antarctica Peninsula. Frances Hatch is an established Dorset, U.K.-based visual artist who also collaborates on projects with musicians. In 2005 she visited the Antarctic Peninsula, which led to a book of her paintings and commentary, Drawn to Antarctica, as well as other exhibitions, including a 2005 CD, Improvising Antarctica, of improvised music based on images and photographs of the 2005 trip, by four musicians, including the two on the DVD. Udo told us in 2011: “The work began soon after meeting artist Frances Hatch, who had traveled to Antarctica. Working together eventually lead to Frozen Orchestras.” On the DVD, starting slowly, the two musicians spiritedly float their way through the creation of a wall-size sketch of Antarctic a shoreline, in an interesting multi-media voyage. www.franceshatch.co.uk; (See also IMPROVISING ANTARCTICA by Cathy Stevens, Udo Dzierzanowski, Karen Wimhurst, Steve Harris (2011) in this section.)
ANTARCTICA by Pollux (2011); ANTARCTICA (RE-MIXED) by Pollux & Golgotha Communications Ltd. (2011) (Web site download only)
Two albums of chilly, introspective ambient music with tracks on the first album such as Antarctica, Bored (Frozen Version), -30 Is Hot; Circle (All Is Ice Version), Borealis and Glacial Wind. The second album is a remixed version with new titles such as Antarctica (Ice shelf Collapse Mix), Glaciation, Bore and Freeze and Penguin Society. Pollax (a.k.a. Arnaud Barbe), based in Grenoble, France, told us about the tracks: “Honestly, I don’t write sounds inspired by themes but when I finish a song, it inspires in me a theme.” Sirona Records Siro111; www.pollux0.com
ANTARCTICA EP by Sanderson Dear (2011) (Web site download only)
Sanderson Dear has been a Toronto, Canada-based DJ since 1987 and a music producer/writer of techno and minimal, ambient music since 2001. His 5-track EP has the tracks Parasomnia, It fell From The Sky and three mixes, totalling 21 minutes, of the ambient track Antarctica, that pulsate and drip in an unrelenting, hypnotizing tempo, not unlike a glacier on its path to the sea. Sanderson explained the music to us: “I’d started writing the song It Fell From The Sky after rewatching John Carpenter’s The Thing awhile back. I wanted to compose a piece to encompass aspects of that movie. I’d left it alone for a year or so and started piecing together a second tune at the time, unrelated, called Parasomnia, based on another flick and decided this one would work well with the first. That’s when I decided to theme an EP around Antarctica. Parasomnia doesn’t really give you much of a glimpse but it deals with the paranoid aspect of things when a person or persons are isolated from civilization for long durations. The title track came about because I wanted to tie all the songs under an umbrella and thought it was perfect to complete The Thing reference by writing a tune about the continent itself: crisp, cold and clean. Arjen Schat and David Roiseux further expanded on both with their remixes. Arjen’s especially captures the expansive nature of Antarctica, while David’s is the perfect sequel to my original mix. www.myspace.com/stasisrecordings; www.stasisrecordings.com
THE ANTARCTIC by the Chimneys (2011) (Web site download only)
The Chimneys are a Brooklyn-N.Y. based quartet, led by banjo-playing Alex Greiner. Their first recording is a 4-song EP about the first expeditions to the South Pole, in 1911-12 and the rivalry between Robert Scott’s British explorers and Norwegian Roald Amundsen’s group. The 23-minute concept record has the tracks Amundsen’s Dream, At Polheim, Terra Australis and Salt of the Earth. The first songs two are about Amundsen, the third about Robert Scott and the last is about Apsley Cherry-Garrard, one of Scott’s expeditioners, known for his long trek with two others to collect emperor penguin eggs, described in his landmark book The Worst Journey in the World. The songs are a wonder of quirky vocals and tempos, backed by banjo, mandolin, accordion and other rock instruments. www.myspace.com/chimneys; chimneys.bandcamp.com/album/the-antarctic
ANTARCTICA EP by Andrey Subbotin (2011) (Web site download only)
Andrey Subbotin is a Russia-based progressive house/techno electronic DJ and artist. His current EP has a 23-minute suite of three energetic instrumental dance pieces titled Antarctica, Iceberg and Ross Ice Shelf. www.myspace.com/djandreysubbotin; www.andreysubbotin.all.dj
ANTARCTICA by Craig Vear (2011) (Web site download only)
Craig Vear is a British electroacoustic composer and musician who won an Arts Council England Fellowship, in conjunction with the British Antarctic Survey’s Artists and Writers Programme, to spend three months over 2003/04 on British bases in the Antarctic Peninsula area. This resulted in his 2005 multi-media CD and DVD Antarctica, which included a small book of his diaries and other commentaries, a CD of recorded Antarctic wildlife sounds, ice breaking and glacial melting, and a video. This new recording consists of 57 minutes of electroacoustic soundscapes not previously issued and includes Iceberg (Rothera Point), Uranus Glacier (Adelaide Island), Katabatic Wind (Sky Blue), Adélie Penguins (Jenny Island) and R.R.S. James Clark Ross Hold #2 (Lemaire Channel). Gruen Digital GrDl 089/11; www.myspace.com/craigvear; www.ev2.co.uk; (See also THREE LAST LETTERS (In Memoriam of Capt. Scott, Dr. Wilson and Lt. Bowers) by Craig Vear (2012) and ANTARCTICA - Musical Images from the Frozen Continent by Craig Vear (2005) in this section and SUMMERHOUSES by Craig Vear (2009) in the “Individual Songs” section.)
ANTARCTIC MUSIC by Michael Mollura (2011) (Web site download only)
Michael Mollura is a Los Angeles, California-based theatre and film composer, who began his career writing for off-Broadway productions in New York. He has written scores for two movies which premiŹred at the 2010 and 2011 Sundance Film Festivals. The music on this album is the soundtrack for a private 36-minute DVD, Antarctica - Inner Journeys in the Outer World, made in 2009 by Dr. Robert Romanyshyn, a philosopher, author and psychotherapist at Pacifica Graduate Institute, near Santa Barbara, California. The DVD consists of haunting still photos of the mountains and ice of the Antarctic Peninsula coast, accompanied by the soothing, spiritual narration of Dr. Romanyshyn. As a stand-alone soundtrack, the 38-minute, 6-track suite begins as a calm minimalist ambient piece and in the final tracks picks up steam, culminating in a very melodic interplay between piano and violin. According to the publicity for a workshop given by Dr. Romanyshyn in Cincinnati in 2011, The Melting Polar Ice: Inner Journeys in the Outer World, the presentation, which drew on the video and music, “will explore the intertwining of psyche and nature in the context of the ecological crisis of the melting polar ice.” The Web announcement of another of Dr. Romanyshyn’s seminars said: “The DVD unfolds the grounds for a radical eco-psychology based in the power of this Antarctic landscape, to restore the broken aesthetic connection between the flesh of the human body and the flesh of the world. As it reveals the awe-ful Antarctic beauty of stillness and silence, it taps into the feeling function as, perhaps below the radar of mind, our natal bond to the world.” www.michaelmolluramusic.com; www.mythopoetry.com/mythopoetics/scholar11_video_antarctica.html
ANTARCTIC THE MUSICAL by Dugald McLaren and Dr. Dana Michelle Bergstrom (2011) (live theatre)
According to the Australian musical’s Web site, “Antarctic The Musical will be a major cultural event during the Antarctic Centenary Year (2011-12), celebrating 100 years of Australian Antarctic exploration…Antarctic is a story about the lives of a small contemporary expedition during their year down south and of a love that develops unexpectedly. Imagine a place so hauntingly beautiful that it gets into your soul, yet so unforgiving, to venture out unprepared means death. Now imagine traveling to this place with only nine people you’ve just met with no chance of going home for a year. You’re just thrown into the mix. You work, you play, you struggle, and you live and love. And where is this place? Antarctica in the 21st Century. You’re down south for peace and science and your life will never be the same again…The expeditioners work hard, party hard but at all times they must follow the hard rules, developed over generations to keep people alive. The rules are simple: never say die, be true to yourself and kind to others, and always tell someone where you’re going…” The music and lyrics were written by Australian singer/songwriter Dugald McLaren (a.k.a. Mac Lauren), with the book and production by Dr. Dana Michelle Bergstrom, an ecologist. Both have extensive Antarctic experiences. Allan Jeffrey and Leiz Moore will direct the show and Charlie Hull will be the musical supervisor. Opening night was to have been October 20, 2011 at Princes Wharf No. 1, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia and there was to be Workshop Performance in February 2012. www.antarcticthemusical.com; www.maclaurenmusic.com
LAPTOP DAYDREAMING VOL. 1 by IĖaki (2010) (Web site download only)
IĖaki (Barrocal) is an Andorra-based singer and musician who has made several experimental vocal-only demo CDs, followed by others in which “IĖaki pairs his vocals with everyday objects (non-instrument instruments) to create alternative and sometimes spooky universes.” This third demo CD has five separate pieces, one of which is the 26-minute Frozen Symphony. The five tracks of Frozen Symphony include: Voices in the Wind: A Hidden Message, Interrupted Sleep: Monsters, Latitude 0: They Told Me What Happened Here, Midnight Sun and Antarctic Nights: Aurora. The music is haunting, underlain by a steady, blowing wind with otherworldly voices weaving mystery throughout.
IĖaki explained his music to us in 2012: “You see, on a realistic level, I wrote/recorded that piece on a snowy day and the whole city of Toulouse (where I was living at the time) was covered in snow, so I guess that would have started that whole mess! But of course, this piece has a story, more or less. The first movement, Voices in the Wind: A Hidden Message, is just someone listening to the wind and hearing the voices of all the explorers who had come to Antarctica and died there. The second movement, Interrupted Sleep: Monsters, is about being under the ice and hearing the rumble of dinosaurs or something like that, as they sleep. The third movement is sort of like an extension of the first one. The fourth and fifth movements, Midnight Sun and Antarctic Nights: Aurora, are just about witnessing those phenomena (midnight sun and auroras). The main character of this piece would be a spirit wandering about Antarctica. There, all explained!”
According to IĖaki’s Web site, “It is a minimalistic piece set in Antarctica. Divided into five movements, they express the magic that exists in seemingly still landscapes like those of Antarctica. Antarctica, The Sixth Continent of the Earth, it’s not just a cold place, Be careful not to awaken the Old Monsters, sleeping in the deep! If you listen carefully enough, the wind will tell you about the past, Learn how to look and you will see the Midnight Sun and Auroras. Antarctica is not a dead place at all. It is very much alive! The wind carries an ancient melody, The Frozen Symphony.” https://www.sites.google.com/site/inakitheofficialpage; https://sites.google.com/site/ldv1referential/home
WHISTLERS AT ELLSWORTH STATION, ANTARCTICA 1957 (2010)
This is a very limited edition of 50 box sets, of presumed electronic music, described by the label’s Web site as follows: “Cramped and smothered in a small research station, nuclear war in your subconscious and freezing temperatures locking you in, you sit with your receiver listening...Recorded in Antarctica in 1957, Whistlers is an attempt to document the true song of the heavens; low frequency magnetic waves occurring in the ionosphere. Clicks, hisses, pops, screams and moans. It’s all there, along with the voice an enigmatic man introducing the selections he deemed worthy of recording. Unearthed in a dusty record store, this mysterious 3-sided acetate is being given new life by dŅd univers as a double 3” cdr boxset, including a bonus cassette tape, More Apparent Than Real, a 13-minute track on a transparent blue C27 inspired by and utilizing the sounds of the whistler recordings.” CD not verified. We note that during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, Antarctica’s Ellsworth Station, on the western coast of the Weddell Sea, was used to record ionospheric radio noise and whistling atmospherics (whistlers), low frequency electromagnetic waves, to help in understanding radio wave propagation and geomagnetism. DŅd Univers DU001; www.soundofadeaduniverse.blogspot.ca
SHACKLETON EP by Spookey Ruben (2010)
Spookey Ruben is a Toronto, Canada-based pop-rock musician/producer and experimental filmmaker. He has made numerous CDs since 1995 and has toured internationally. This 50-copy, 4-song limited edition EP has the 8-minute track, Shackleton, co-written with Carson Cohen, which is a very brief retelling of the epic story of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition of 1914-16. The individual sub-themes include Prologue, Whistle as They Wave, Trapped by Ice, The Deep Freeze, Elephant Island and Epilogue. Sample lyrics of Trapped by Ice: “Save your men, don’t let them freeze to death, save your men just help them stay alive, stay long, stay long. Lantern shows, how to pass the time, “the Ritz”, gramophone Sundays, banjoman relieves the pain, seal and penguin meat for all, is there anything that’s left to keep us from going…, “all is quiet!”” The CD package also includes an original drawing by Spookey and a beaded bracelet. Interestingly, the cover has a photograph of a bearded Ernest Shackleton, not from the Endurance Expedition, but instead from his 1907-09 Nimrod (British Antarctic) Expedition. Hi-Hat Recordings HAT 1001-2; www.spookeyruben.tumblr.com; www.myspace.com/spookeyruben
THE THING – Complete Motion Picture Score by Ennio Morricone & John Carpenter (2010)
This double disc CD contains the complete score for the movie The Thing, the 1982 Antarctic science fiction movie by director John Carpenter, in which a buried alien is thawed after being discovered in the Antarctic ice. While the original spooky electronic music was by Italian composer Ennio Morricone, director John Carpenter incorporated three of his own tracks as fill-ins into the movie soundtrack. The official 1982 film CD soundtrack, however, also included tracks recorded by Morricone for the movie but not used in it. The present CD set contain all of Morricone’s tracks from the movie, the extra tracks added by John Carpenter as well as unused alternates and longer takes and orchestral tracks. The CD package, issued in a limited edition of 500, has detailed liner notes about the movie plot, but it’s disappointing that there are no comments about the music or any discussion of the alternate or longer track versions. Cimmerian Records CRCD003
BI/POLAR by BouvetŅya (2010)
Since 2008, BouvetŅya has been the electronic music recording project of Dublin, Ireland-based Michael Jones, who has been active for over twenty years in writing and recording, and is currently involved in ambient music and soundscapes. BouvetŅya (Bouvet) Island, the most isolated island on the planet, is a small uninhabited volcanic Peri-Antarctic Island in the Southern Ocean, off the coast of East Antarctica. It is a nature reserve and a territory of Norway. This recording was the first under the BouvetŅya name and includes two icy-sounding Antarctic-related instrumental tracks. The 2-minute 54:25S/03:20E is named for the co-ordinates of BouvetŅya Island and the 18½-minute NyrŅysa is named for a lava shelf on the Island’s coast, thought to have been formed in the late 1950s (a.k.a New Rubble or West Wind Beach).
Michael told us in 2012 that his “decision to name my electronic music project BouvetŅya was driven by the following: I was always drawn to “remote sounding” electronic music. Some peers who inspired me were, Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Biosphere and Autechre who often evoked images of icy remote locations, as opposed to space, stars, and spaceships, which other electronic musicians such as Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis would conjure. I like islands! I live in Ireland and often seek inspiration travel to some of our outlying remote islands such as Arran, Valentia, Skellig, Michael, etc. I have always been fascinated by the polar landscape, the weather extremes, and the people brave enough to venture to these parts. I can merely write music based on the emotions I would feel under such circumstances. When I began to research BouvetŅya, I was amazed that a nation (i.e. Norway) would even attempt to claim sovereignty on it considering it was not really possible to populate it, other than place a weather station on it. Also the shape of it on satellite photos, the hostility of the environment, I found very inspiring; and the fact that no other musician used it also helped.”
My first album Bi/Polar was inspired by both polar regions, and two tracks on it namely 54:25S/03:20E and NyrŅysa are both references to the remote island of BouvetŅya in the South Atlantic. I guess my own electronic interpretations of an “Antarctic sound” would rely on producing “cold sharp” ambient sounds on the synthesizer to replicate ice forming, melting, and breaking. A lot of electronic music is very “urban” sounding, but can be very effective at inducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. I find the whole region very inspiring, although I do cover other subject matter in my music.” www.myspace.com/bouvetoya; www.tunecore.com/music/bouvetoya
THE GRAND DESIGN by Day Six (2010)
Day Six is a veteran Dutch progressive metal rock band from Noord-Brabant, Netherlands, formed in 2002. This is a concept album about an alien spaceship found in Antarctica’s Lake Vostok and the story follows the five weather scientists who discovered the ship. The 70 minutes of exacting, dynamic music ranges from epic arena rock to heavy metal. Robbie van Stiphout, the group’s guitarist and vocalist, explained the theme of the CD to us in 2011: “The idea for The Grand Design is based on the works of Erich von Däniken. The result of it is an album with a complete story, divided in different chapters. However, there’s a main theme that can be sensed throughout the entire album, which is the disclosure of the existence of extraterrestrial life and contact. The story is about five weather scientists who uncover a long lost E.T. spaceship under the ice of Lake Vostok, Antarctica. They decide to enter the ship themselves, where they find the answers to the most fundamental questions of life and the existence and evolutionary process of mankind. Being enthusiastic and maybe a little naēve as to cover-ups, they try to release their findings through mainstream media only to bump into government interference. Our scientists are locked up in mental institutions where agents try to erase their experiences from their memories and condition them with a self-image of a deluded mind. However, the powerful energies they felt inside the ship strengthened them with a strong sense of hope and telepathic capabilities. They start hearing voices in their heads from the others and from extraterrestrial beings. When alone in their hospital rooms, the scientists contact each other this way to devise a new plan of disclosure. Every track on The Grand Design is a separate chapter of this story and stands on its own, which gives us the freedom to put our live set-list in any order that seems best for any particular show.” Lion Music LMC287; www.myspace.com/daysixweb
AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS by Nameless City (2010) (Web site download only)
A solo project of Hungary-based Peter Renner, this concept album of dark ambient, electronic music is based on the novella At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft, whose 1931 story of a Byrd-era Antarctic expedition and the horrors it encounters in caverns under Antarctica’s ice has become a classic. Music titles include Antarctica, Mountain, Leng, Civilized, The City, Under the Ice and The Past. Nameless City, Renner’s name for the project under which he records his Lovecraft-inspired music, is considered to be the first story in Lovecraft’s alien Cthulhu Mythos. www.myspace.com/namelesscity; www.namelesscity.eu; limitless-audio.com/blog/releases/limitless-015
THE CALL OF CTHULHU - AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS (BERGE DES WAHNSINNS) - Soundtrack by Erdenstern (2010)
Erdenstern is a Hamburg, Germany-based trio of musicians who, according to their Web site, “professionally compose and produce soundtracks for role playing games. Our music resembles movie scores when it comes to being an emotional, musical backdrop for different situations, while we also take great care for the versatility in different game systems and the musical independence of the composition.” This soundtrack is based on the 1999 role playing novel, Beyond the Mountains of Madness, by Charles and Janyce Engan et al., in which a 1933 Antarctic expedition is launched to unravel the mystery of the fateful story in H. P. Lovecraft’s 1931 Antarctic novella At the Mountains of Madness. In that tale, a Byrd-era Antarctic expedition discovers the unmentionable terrors of a lost underground civilization. The various CD tracks, based on events in the sequel book, vary in styles from grand orchestral scores to quieter, jazzy interludes and spooky, fear-inducing music portraying monsters. The CD booklet notes are in French and German. We asked the group about their production of this CD and they replied: “We have released this music in collaboration with a French publisher that has released a role playing campaign based on that story. In the U.S., Chaosium released a similar story as Beyond the Mountains of Madness; the players are part of the expedition, which followed, in search of the remains of their predecessors.” Erdenstern 1100108-1; www.erdenstern.com; www.myspace.com/erdenstern
I, MOUNTAIN by Caēna (2010) (cassette only)
Caēna is the black metal solo project of Hampshire/Sussex, U.-K.-based Andrew Curtis-Brignell. Originally released in 2007 as a limited-issue EP, this 21-minute soundscape track is based on H. P. Lovecraft’s 1931 Antarctic novella At the Mountains of Madness, in which Byrd-era Antarctic expeditioners discover the remains of an ancient civilization and meet the horrors of its still-existing monsters. The music begins with soft crystalline guitar, which slowly develops into the screeches and howls associated with the story’s descent into terror and madness. DSR-EVIL-IV; www.myspace.com/cainaband; www.caina.150m.com
DECEPTION ISLAND by Bella Koshka (2010)
Bella Koshka is a Minneapolis, U.S.A.-based alt-rock quintet, fronted by a female vocalist and a violinist, who play dramatic, Gothic-flavoured, moody musical mini-dramas. The CD is named after Antarctica’s Deception Island and according to their Web site, the music is “a cinematic landscape and its echoing remains. A journey through time to an old, forgotten place. This is the epic tale of “Deception Island.”” The tracks on the CD have Deception Island-appropriate titles such as Winter, Subterranean, Caldera, Pendulum Road, and Cathedral. The real Deception Island is a U-shaped still-active volcanic caldera that became a safe harbour for Antarctic sealers from the early 1800s and later became the site of intense whale oil processing in the early 1900s. Numerous small research stations have also been located there and it remains one of the top attractions for visiting tourist ships. www.myspace.com/bellakoshka; www.bellakoshka.com
60ľ SOUTH by Second Thought (2010)
Ross Baker, a Leeds, U.K.-based musician began his experimental synthesizer solo project, Second Thought, in 1999. His current album of electronic and ambient sound washes and aural paintings is based on H. P. Lovecraft’s Antarctic horror novella At the Mountains of Madness and includes tracks with icy titles such as Tekeli-li, Ice Shelf, Snow (I & II), Meltwater, Icebergs (I & II) and At the Mountains of Madness. Ross explained the reason for the record: “My girlfriend lent me a book by H. P. Lovecraft and the first story, At The Mountains Of Madness, really inspired me with wonderful vivid descriptions of the Antarctic landscape; so much that the music I began to write at the time seemed to reflect that, so I took the idea further and themed the whole album around it.” Ambientlive Records ALR3092; www.myspace.com/vacuumroad; www.secondthought.co.uk
THE COMPLETE RADIO FREE ANTARCTICA TAPES by The Owl Watches (2010)
The Owl Watches is the solo music project of Atlanta, Georgia-based guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Phil McKenna, aided by a few friends on other instruments. The CD booklet has a print of an Antarctic territorial claims map, a picture of an Emperor penguin and an historic explorers’ hut. The music is relaxed-sounding, experimental progressive jazz/rock and one of the free-form guitar tracks has the interesting title, Our Audience is Mostly Penguins and Scientists. Phil told us about the reason for the Antarctic setting: “The idea for this, well, icy-themed album arose from a rather hilarious conversation involving gig horror stories. That set me thinking about what if a hapless band got stuck playing in Antarctica, miles from anywhere, and thus I concocted this little story:
Imagine if you will that The Owl Watches was an actual touring band, complete with a less-than-competent Reuben Kincaid-like manager. Said manager gets the brilliant idea of booking the band for a 5-night engagement at a scientific outpost in Antarctica, where he assures them their career will reach a new level of greatness. Eventually, the band packs up its gear and winter clothes and boards a C-130 transport headed for The Frozen White South.
Once there, the first 2 nights go less than swimmingly, with the audience bleating out requests for Celine Dion, Slim Whitman and obscure Albanian coal miner’s songs. Later, the band retreats to a secret storage room and discusses either firing their manager or staging an “accident”. Sensing that his untimely demise may be imminent, the manager absconds with both plane and pilot, leaving our heroes stranded. The scientists take pity on the hapless band after this bit of outrageous fortune, and radio for a new plane to get them back home. However, it won’t be available for at least 2 days. Making the best of a bad situation, the band discovers a small radio station, Radio Free Antarctica a short distance away by dogsled. Radio Free Antarctica kept itself on the air against great odds, due in part to the generosity of the king of a small obscure island nation on The Dead Sea, and by station staffers siphoning gas for their generator from unsuspecting scientific outposts.
The last anyone knew, the band set up and recorded several new pieces that were being road tested or were in various stages of development, when during the last track, a horrific avalanche struck (which was rumored to have been deliberately started). The band’s fate still remains a mystery; further compounding the mystery was the fact that the master tape reel was found several miles away by another expedition some months later. By some miracle, the tape survived and has been restored for your dining and dancing pleasure.” 4 The Boids 4TB0001; www.myspace.com/theowlsmusic
ANTARCTICA by David Maranha (2010) (Vinyl LP only)
Portugal-based David Maranha, an organist, violinist and architect, has been playing avant garde jazz since 1986 as a solo artist, with collaborators as well as and with his group Osso Exótico. This limited-release LP has a 20-minute track on each side consisting of hypnotic minimalist dirges with percussion, organ, strings and guitar. We asked David for the reason for the title of the record and he said: “I guess it was the idea of arid white landscape.” The press release on his website blog says: “Like the great white expanse of the titular continent, it can be taken in simply as a glorious wash of sound; listen to it closely, however, and you’ll hear the smallest details jump out in high relief: a feather can move a mountain.” Roaratorio Roar18; www.myspace.com/ossoexotico; davidmaranha.blogspot.com
ARCTIC/ANTARCTIC by Marcus Fischer (2010) (Web site download only)
Marcus Fischer is a Portland, Oregon-based musician and multimedia artist who explores sight and sound through music and film. His current album of ambient electronic music has three Arctic tracks and three Antarctic tracks. In between is the single track Tropica. According to his Web site, “Arctic/Antarctic is centered around a series of guitar based improvisations…The first 1/3 of the Antarctic portion is based on the slow shifting of loop points within a larger guitar loop. The rest of Antarctic contrasts with prior sections. Rather than using digital processes, this portion relies only on loops created using a system of modified analog cassette tapes. These cassettes were played back and rerecorded at a distance capturing some of the surrounding sounds such as cats moving about the room and hints of nearby construction.” Marcus told us that “The reason for the Arctic/Antarctic theme is, (beyond just being fascinated by the continent itself), taking the idea of different but similar landscapes and environments and translating that into textural music. On first sight/sound it can be stark and cold without much detail but the more you look/listen the details emerge and what seemed cold is now a little warmer. www.mapmap.ch; luxusarctica.wordpress.com
FATHOM by Douglas Quin (2010) (Vinyl LP only)
American sound recordist Douglas Quin has been recording Antarctic sounds since 1996, when he received a grant from the U. S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program to work in Antarctica. Recorded with the use of hydrophones (underwater microphones), this limited edition record has Arctic walruses and Beluga whales on the first side. The second side has sounds of icebergs and brash ice, recorded near Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell seals, leopard seals, orcas and ice fractures from McMurdo Sound on the second side. Recording is both an art and a science and according to the record label’s Web site, “The recordings have been gathered over a period of 15 years, capturing an extraordinary palette of sonic voices, events, spaces, and textures. To the human ear, these soundscapes are haunting and otherworldly; yet they are very much of this world - out of earreach. The tracks are minimally edited and are his first field recordings to be archived in vinyl.” The record is packaged in an attractive cover with an artistic sleeve. The sleeve notes, by René van Peer state that “The environments captured in sound by Douglas Quin, and presented on this album, are situated in areas at the exremes of the globe - they are not beneficial to human life. Compared to visual representations, however realistic those may be, they work on a different level. The recordings cut right through the armour of armchair content (reinforcing the notion that what we hear is more evocative than what we see). They make instantly clear that what you are listening to is an alien world. A world that is conjured up in staggering and disturbing detail before your very ears.” TAIGA 11; www.taigarecords.com; www.dqmedia.com. (See also ANTARCTICA by Douglas Quin (1998) in this section.)
ANTARCTIC SUITE: LANDSCAPE by Steve Schalchlin (2009) (Web site video only)
Steve Schalchlin is a New York City-based composer, musician performer and actor. He has been nominated for and has and won many Los Angeles and New York theatre awards, including awards for the music and lyrics for two acclaimed off-Broadway pop gospel musicals. In 2008-09 he was on an Antarctic Peninsula voyage and was inspired to write his Antarctic Suite, which includes a superbly rousing but stately 4-minute theme, Landscape, about the rivers of ice and rivers of rock that amazed him.
Steve told us in 2013 about the background to the Antarctic Suite for piano, chorus, oboe and clarinet, composed during the trip: “We were approaching the Continent from South America. It was 6 or 7 am. Off in the distance, I saw the tip of an island. I could see that it had a glacier. I remembered Glacier Bay in Alaska, and how monumental it was to see two or three of them. As we approached, I seemed to be the only person awake on board. Closer in, I saw an almost black tip of rock thrusting out from the snow, cut razor thin from the constant river of ice and broken rock that makes up a glacier. As we passed by, I noticed another glacier on the other side of the black razor tip. Side by side glaciers sharpening a mountaintop like a great craftsman forging a sword. Then another glacier. And another. And another. And another. I was running to and fro on the deck, filled with an overwhelming sense of Time. Of an unchanging land upon which no human can live because it’s just ice and rock. Untouched through the ages. I started counting them. Five, six, seven, 10. 20! I could scarcely breathe. But I knew I had to find a way to express it. Downstairs. A piano. I found what felt like the deepest, most sonorous part. Db. And then I thought of sailors and songs of the sea, remembering when I met Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, who was, at the time, obsessed with sea chanties - “They’re all in three.” So, I started this rolling rhythm in “three”, and it all blossomed from that figure. I think back at what a privilege it was to write the piece as I was experiencing it. That became Antarctic Suite: Landscape, the first movement of an in-progress three movement piece. Movement Two: Peaks, Ice and Wind was inspired by how the wind and ice blew fiercely up and over the sharp, jagged mountain peaks. It features angular chords and gentle but piercing flute and string lines. These are demo recordings, using synths. The first movement, Landscape, stands on its own and is used as the background score to footage I shot of the island, from a video diary of the Antarctic, posted to YouTube.” www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ob9oa98nbk; www.bonusroundblog.blogspot.com
ANTARCTICA JAZZ by Alexey Bogolyubov (2009)
Alexey Bogolyubov is a young Kiev, Ukraine-based professional jazz pianist and composer who has recorded a CD and played internationally. Youtube has videos of a 15-minute live performance of his dynamic Antarctica Jazz suite for quintet, posted in 2011, which includes the tracks Iceberg, a Penguin Walks and Zodiac, based on his trip to the Continent on a tourist cruise. He told us in 2012: “I was in Antarctica in 2009. And I was excited by what I saw, so I came back to my country and wrote a new musical program.” www.myspace.com/alexeybogolyubovtrio
JASPER - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Florian Tessloff (2009)
Jasper, a penguin, is the leading character of a German television series of animated shorts by Toons ’n’ Tales, from the early 2000s. It was made into a feature-length film for the European market in 2008 as Jasper und das Limonadenkomplott, but the English version, titled Journey to the End of the World, has not yet been distributed in North America. According to the CD, “Between the backdrops of the icy South Pole and a colourful harbour city, unfolds the adventure of the penguin brothers Jasper and Junior, who, with the help of 9-year old Emma, rescue the eggs of the rare Kakapo bird from the evil hands of Dr. Block.” The dynamic orchestral score by Tessloff, performed by The Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Allan Wilson, includes the short polar tracks More Icebergs… and South Pole Adventures. Moviescore Media MMS-09019; www.moviescoremedia.com
CHEF OF THE SOUTH POLE – Soundtrack (2009)
Chef of the South Pole is a 2009 Japanese drama, directed by Shuichi Okita, about an Antarctic science research team, based at Japan’s Dome Fuji Station, which spends a year on The Ice. It presents a light-hearted look at the interplay between the personnel, with food being a focus, based on an autobiography by the Station’s chef. This CD is the film’s short music soundtrack, at just 20½ minutes, covering a variety of styles from a sing-along whistling tune to classical and rock. Ki/oon Records KSCL 1441
“TEKELI-LI” – A Soundtrack to the Adventures of A. G. Pym by Psi Corps (2009)
This is a joint project of Russia’s Alisa Coral, a space metal musician and Australian Michael Blackman, who have also collaborated on several CDs under the band name Space Mirrors. According to their Web site, “Psi Corps is a side project of Alisa Coral from Space Mirrors. The purpose of this project is to exploit a “soundtrack to a book” concept. It can be any style or genre, the main ambition is to transfer the feeling and images of the story into the music soundscapes.”
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, by the American macabre mystery writer Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1838, is a classic of Antarctic fiction and tells the tale of A. G. Pym, a young man who stows away on a whaling ship, Grampus, which undergoes mutiny and is finally wrecked on its way to the Southern Ocean. Pym and a mutineer are finally rescued by another ship heading south. Crossing through an ice barrier on the way to the South Pole, they are marooned on an island by its malevolent inhabitants. They manage to escape on a small boat, which hurtles into a mysterious chasm blocked by a large white shrouded human figure and giant white birds overhead, crying “Tekeli-li!”
The track titles refer to various chronological references in the story: Party at Barnard’s (Is Over), On Board the Ariel, On Board the Grampus, Tsalal, Further South and Tekeli-li. The manic music superbly portrays a troubled voyage and particularly in the closing track Tekeli-li, the swirling guitars, synthesizers and percussion propel us into the core of the raging maelstrom. The CD booklet also has colourful artwork showing the harrowed, shipwrecked survivors barely surviving on ice flows. RAIG R040; www.myspace.com/psicorpstekelili; www.spacemirrors.com; www.myspace.com/spacemirrors; (See also MAJESTIC-12: A HIDDEN PRESENCE by Space Mirrors (2008) in the “Individual Songs” section.)
CHATTERMARKS - Field Recordings from Palmer Station, Antarctica by Cheryl E. Leonard (2009)
Cheryl Leonard is an award-winning California-based composer, performer and instrument builder, specializing in natural object instruments and performances. In 2008-09 she went to the Antarctic Peninsula’s Palmer Station American scientific base on a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. This CD is a presentation of the raw sounds of penguins of various ages, various forms of floating and melting ice, elephant seals and even a storm. According to Cheryl’s liner notes, “I went to the Ice to create music using natural sounds and materials, but I began by simply listening. I needed to first experience, explore, and try to understand this unique place: its ecosystems, weather, landscapes and sounds…Some of these field recording “studies” have been incorporated into my compositions, but many of them are fascinating and musical in their own right.” The title of this CD seems very appropriate since the tracks do sound like friendly chattering, whether between penguins or seals and especially in the brash ice/iceberg tracks. A musical CD release was planned for 2010 and Cheryl told us it might be combined with a DVD of composed music and images. Great Hoary Marmot Music GHMM 004; www.allwaysnorth.com; www.musicfromtheice.blogspot.com
GLACIAL by Watchmenmk (2009) (Web site download only)
This electronic/dark ambient record, by a Serbia-based group has the tracks Antarctica pt 1, Antarctica pt 2, Glacial and Polar Crystals. The group’s site describes the music as “a soundtrack for a coming ice age.” www.myspace.com/watchmenmk1; wmk1.blogspot.com
POLARIS by Juno Morse (2009) (Web site download only)
Juno Morse (a.k.a. Gregor Huber) is a Switzerland-based electronic musician whose album takes us to Antarctica through majestic soundscapes with track titles such as Frozen Animals, The Long Sleep, Dark Blue Water, White Noise, Glass Monolith, Floating Snowflakes, On Mount Erebus, Amundsen’s Last Outpost, and Light Crystal Cloud. According to his recording label Web site, “When I was lying in summer 2009 under the sun of Provence in the pool, I read the word “Polaris” on the hose of the pool-cleaning robot. The name seemed awkward for this machine and seemed to be appropriate more for refrigerators or ice-machines. Apart from that the name also reminded me of the book “Solaris” of science fiction author Stanislaw Lem. This extraordinary book has been filmed already three times with rather little success, the last time in 2002. However, remarkable is the soundtrack by Cliff Martinez for this last film. It accompanies me since then…On my search for Ice-music I only discovered one, but very important album: “Antarctica” by Vangelis. This work has been composed in 1983 for a film with the same name and is unmatched since then…Inspired by Cliff, Vangelis and the pool-cleaning robot, I decided to compose an icy, sparkling, wide and still album.” Gregor told us about two of his tracks in 2010: “On Mount Erebus: While I was composing this part it reminded me of a song from Vangelis from his album “China” called “Himalaya”. So I looked for a significant mountain in the Antarctic. I found Mount Erebus and liked its shape and name. Amundsen’s Last Outpost: While I was combing through the massive information about Antarctica, I read about the expeditions and came across Roald Amundsen. I imagined his South Pole outpost to be very desolate and melancholic and that matched quite well to this part.” Available from www.cdbaby.com and iTunes; www.hult.ch
WHITEOUT - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2009)
This is the soundtrack disc to the Antarctic who-done-it action movie of the same name, based on the main character from the Whiteout comic book series by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber. It features Kate Beckinsale as Carrie Stetko, a U.S marshal on Antarctica who has to investigate a murder on the continent, which may be related to a secret drilling project. The movie received tepid, or more appropriately, frosty reviews for the plot. The dark and dramatic orchestral soundtrack music, composed by John Frizzell, has tracks with titles such as Aurora Australis, Base Camp, Vostok Attack, Frost Bite, The Storm Approaches, Last Plane Out, and The Whiteout. VarŹse Saraband 302 066 986 2; www.whiteoutmovie.com
CINEMATIC MUSE by Brandon Visel (2009) (Web site download only)
Brandon Visel is a California-based film composer whose album consists of orchestral and acoustic music inspired for film. Included are two tracks, Antarctica 1 and Antarctica 2, which were part of the soundtrack music written for the 60-minute documentary film about artist Lita Albuquerque’s December 2006 large-scale art installation, Stellar Axis: Antarctica on the Ross Sea Ice Shelf near McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. The two tracks are meditational and Oriental-sounding and the soundtrack music on the documentary admirably conveys the sense of tranquility and grandeur of the wide, white flat landscape of the Ice Shelf. Lita Albuquerque is a California-based large-scale installation artist, painter and sculptor, known internationally for earth art in natural landscapes. Stellar Axis: Antarctica was funded under the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program in 2006 and the project consisted of ninety-nine blue spheres being spread over the icescape, aligned with and mirroring the brightest stars in the sky above. This was a major logistical undertaking with three years of preparations and involved the manufacture of the spheres and assistance from an astronomer, photographer and cinematographer. The actual installation, documentation and dismantling took three weeks and was done under demanding environmental constraints and regulations. The event also included overhead filming and a performance by McMurdo Station staff portraying the motion of the stars at the poles. The progress of the whole enterprises was filmed over the years by artist and documentary filmmaker Sophie Dia Pegrum, also based in California. Sophia explained to us about the project and music: “The Antarctic is a deeply affecting place, both geographically and philosophically. One of the most wonderful things about working on this project was working with the composer Brandon Visel, who captured the feel and grandeur of the experience beautifully. His score really became the adherence that the film needed. It is hard to express such a place of terrific violence and beauty visually. After coming back I felt almost hopelessly inadequate to represent the experience.” Music tracks available from iTunes and CD Baby.com; a DVD of the film is also available via Sophia Dia Pegrum. www.brandonvisel.com; www.myspace.com/brandonvisel; www.77below.com; www.stellaraxis.com; www.litaalbuquerque.com; www.sophiadia.com
ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME by GrooveLily (under development in 2009)
GrooveLily is a New York, N.Y.-based vocal/violin/keyboard/drums pop/rock trio (Valerie Vigoda, Brendan Milburn, and Gene Lewin) that has been together since 1994 and in recent years has expanded to musical theatre, with successful collaborations in numerous musicals. A current project is Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, described by the group on its Web site as a “one-woman fever-dream musical” about a video games music writer who is contacted by Ernest Shackleton, who “shares his Antarctic journeys with her as both struggle toward new horizons.” It’s based on a book by Joe DiPietro, with lyrics by group members Valerie Vigoda, who is also the sole actor and music by Brendan Milburn. In August 2009, early-stage workshop performances were held in Palo Alto, California and in October three more pieces were presented at a pub theatre evening in New York City. One of the songs from it, We’re On Our Way, is a rousing banjo-backed sea shanty about leaving home, sung by Ernest Shackleton’s character (Brendan Milburn), who promises to find land and return to his darling wife, available from iTunes. Valerie Vigoda, the group’s vocalist and violinist extraordinaire, told us in 2009 that “We have been intrigued by Shackleton for several years, and are writing a one-woman musical in which the main character discovers and is changed by his amazing story. We just did a workshop and 3 readings of the show at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, which helped us immensely as we develop the piece. We are hoping that we can do a full production before too long, and incorporate some of the actual visuals from Shackleton’s Endurance journey as projections during the show. The rest of the music, we hope, will be available when we get farther along.” www.groovelily.com
TICKET TO ANTARCTICA by KevOz (2009)
Kevin Osborn is a Chicago-based independent synthesizer/keyboard artist who has recorded many New Age and instrumental albums in various styles during the past ten years. His recent cruise to Antarctica inspired this album. Kevin explained to us: “My wife and I went on an Antarctic cruise in January 2008, mostly because it was one of our last continents to visit; little did I know that it would become one of my favorite trips of all time! I had such a wonderful time there that I was inspired to create an album of music about my experiences on Antarctica. The wonderful sights, the sounds - whether it be choruses of penguins or just the calm near the Lemaire Channel, the feelings and emotions. I’ve done my best to pour it all into an album. This is the first time I’ve created an album based on my travel experiences and it probably won’t be my last, as I’ve had such a blast putting the music and artwork together.” The CD liner notes further explain: “The first cruise I ever took was a trip to Antarctica with my wife. You might be thinking, “Why would you go there - wouldn’t it just be freezing cold? What about the Caribbean?” I must admit, it sounded strange to me at first, too. But, I got more and more psyched about it as our trip drew nearer. And by the time our boat left Ushuaia, Argentina, I just couldn’t wait to see the “great ice”. As we passed through the rough waters of the Drake Passage en route to Deception Island (our first of several destinations), my excitement was building to a crescendo. Just what would I see? How would it feel? I knew it would be an experience I’d never forget, and I just couldn’t wait to get there…In short, Antarctica is a place like no other on Earth – or, I’m guessing, any other planet. It’s equal parts beautiful, eerie, jubilant, and somber. And this is my Ticket To Antarctica. May it be yours, too.” The 11 tracks include Ticket to Antarctica, Crossing the Drake Passage, Deception Island, Zodiac Cruise, Blue Ice, Penguin Dance, Antarctic Lullaby, The Last Continent, 20 Hours of Sunshine, Iceberg Maker and Return Voyage. Kevin’s Web site has a separate Antarctica section along with detailed travel notes to each track. www.kevoz.com
ANTARCTICA: THE MUSICAL by Dogmatic Music (2009)
Dogmatic Music is a quartet of teachers and musicians from the New South Wales region in Australia, which has been recording and entertaining in a variety of musical styles since 2004, with help from many other family members. They have performed at public and school events and their music and theatre pieces have been used by schools directly. Antarctica: The Musical is their fourth CD and contains 14 tracks with various Antarctic themes, including karaoke instrumental tracks for a sing-along. The song styles range from rock to country and rap. Titles include: Antarctica, 200 Million Years Ago, Aristotle Rap, The Sailor’s Song, The Seals’ Lament, Antarctic Anthem, Antarctic Fever, Crevasse, Shackleton, Scott of the Antarctic, Mawson Walked, I’m a Whale and The Penguin Stomp. According to the CD booklet, “The songs are easy to play and sing. Each one tells a story or carries a message about some aspect of Antarctica, from its formation and exploration, to its hostile but delicate environment and the creatures that inhabit it. Together, they present a unique, engaging and enjoyable learning experience.” The CD comes with a songbook of music and lyrics, a classroom study guide and script/libretto for a primary school play with up to 17 narrators. The group told us in 2009: “This music and play was written for upper primary school students as most study Antarctica as part of the Human Studies and Its Environment course in schools in New South Wales, Australia. Our music is meant to be fun, the idea being to engage students in music and drama while they learn about Antarctica’s ancient and more recent history, the explorers, Antarctica’s animals and environment. All upper level primary students (10-12 year olds) in New South Wales, Australia, are required to study Antarctica so it’s pitched at that level. One of our group, Paul McGee, was teaching the topic for years and found that students remembered more and engaged with the topic more through music and drama.” KIA009; www.dogmaticmusic.net
SHACKLETON’S VOYAGE by Eureka (2009)
Eureka is the 51-minute musical project of Germany’s Frank Bossert, an established rock musician, who tells the story of Ernest Shackleton’s famous Endurance Expedition of 1914-16 in a series of 15, largely instrumental tracks, themed around the various phases of the Expedition and its survival stages. Frank told us in 2009 that “I saw a documentary on the German/French TV channel “ARTE” in the year 2000/2001 and I was so fascinated by the story and the character of Ernest Shackleton that I had the idea of creating a concept album in an art rock style. It took a few more years to realise this.”
In addition to a few tracks of narration by British thespian Ian Dickinson, there are veteran guest artists on vocals and instruments such as Uilleann pipes and whistle to provide a Celtic flavour, in keeping with the origins of some of the expeditioners. Track titles include The Last Adventure, Departure, The Challenge, Grytviken Whaling Station, Heading South, Icebound, Plenty of Time, The Turning Point, Going Home, Into the Lifeboats, Elephant Island, In Search of Relief, The Rescue and We Had Seen God. The music, in a progressive rock style with guitars and synthesizers, at times symphonic, matches the moods of the themes of the songs. Lyrics for Going Home: “We lost our ship in a wasteland of ice. No time to look back if we want to survive. We missed our aim, but what still can be done is to save everyone. No glorious fame, ship and stores are gone, we’re left on our own – we’re going home! We’re going home now – Our ship is gone but our will is strong. We’ll survive – We’re coming home. We’re going home now – No mission’s won but our hope is not gone. We’ll return – we’re coming home. We drag our boats through impassable heights. No time to waste – we just fight for our lives. We missed our aim – we just fight for our lives. We missed our aim, but what still must be done is to save everyone. No glorious fame, ship and stores are gone, we’re left on our own – we’re going home.” Ironically, at that point they still had months of camping on ice, Elephant Island and the South Georgia rescue still ahead of them. There is also the poignant and arguably the most memorable track, Will You Ever Return, sung by a female trio, from the unusual point of view of Shackleton’s wife Emily (lyrics: “So long ago, that I heard your voice, so long ago, that I felt your loving touch. All the tears that I’ve cried for you, all the prayers that I’ve sent, All the love that I feel, Can not bring you back home, All the fears that have passed, All the darkness around, can not give me an answer now – Will you ever return? So long ago, that I saw your smile, So long ago, that I fooled around with you. So long ago, that I held your hand, So long ago, that I danced around you.” The CD includes a very complete booklet with Frank Hurley’s famous expedition photographs illustrating each track, as well as track explanatory notes. The CD cover also has a Hurley photo of the Endurance, frozen in the ice. SPV 28022 CD; www.eureka-music.de
SONIC ANTARCTICA by Andrea Polli (2009)
Andrea Polli is a digital media artist who is an Associate Professor of Electronic Arts at the University of New Mexico and formerly an Associate Professor of Film and Media at Hunter College, part of the CUNY organization. According to her Web site, “Her work addresses issues related to science and technology in contemporary society. She is interested in global systems, the real time interconnectivity of these systems, and the effect of these systems on individuals. Polli’s work with science, technology and media has been presented widely in over 100 presentations, exhibitions and performances internationally, has been recognized by numerous grants, residencies and awards including UNESCO. She currently works in collaboration with atmospheric scientists to develop systems for understanding storm and climate through sound (called sonification).” During the 2007/08 Antarctic season she spent seven weeks in Antarctica under the U.S. National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, recording interviews and videos with weather, climate and earth scientists and recording the sounds of natural and work-related mechanical and human activities. Areas travelled included McMurdo Sound, the Dry Valleys and the South Pole. The resulting CD, limited to 500 copies, presents 10 tracks, including recordings of helicopters and radio transmissions from the Williams Field landing area, sounds from Taylor Glacier, Castle Rock and Lake Hoare, weather balloon launching activities at the South Pole and polar philosophy from a cast of prominent researchers on their activities and on global warming. Gruenrekorder Gruen064/LC09488; www.andreapolli.com; www.gruenrekorder.de
UNDER THE ICE – Live at 21 Grand by Henry Kaiser (2008) (Web site download only)
Henry Kaiser is a prominent and prodigiously recorded California-based improvisational avant-garde instrumental guitarist who went to Antarctica in 2001-02 on a U.S. National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Program grant. He recorded his guitar playing at McMurdo Station and at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and later returned to work as a research diver and underwater cameraman on two documentaries, including one of his own and for Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World. This recording is a 5-track live improvisation recorded in Oakland, California on June 8, 2008. While presented as a preview of Werner Herzog’s Antarctic documentary, released in North America in June 2008, the 35-minute live performance was played to underwater scenes from Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound, which were not included in the final version of the film. Along with the guitarist, five other musicians performed on various instruments such as percussion, saxophone, viola, trombone and bass. One of the musicians was Cheryl Leonard, an award-winning California-based composer, performer and instrument builder, specializing in natural object instruments and performances. In 2008-09 she went to the Antarctic Peninsula’s Palmer Station American scientific base, also on a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Henry Kaiser also produced an earlier DVD of his guitar music, A BUNCH OF GUITAR SOLOS (2003), in which he uses the South Pole marker as a guitar slide, performs inside an ice cave on Antarctica’s active volcano, Mt. Erebus, and films scenes of the Icestock Music Festival at McMurdo Station. www.archive.org/details/kaiser2008-06-08.flac16; (See also SOLO ACOUSTIC ON BEARDSELL GUITARS by Henry Kaiser (2011) in the “Individual Songs” section and CHATTERMARKS - Field Recordings from Palmer Station, Antarctica by Cheryl E. Leonard (2009) in the “Non-classical, all Antarctic” section.)
TERRA NOVA: SINFONIA ANTARCTICA by DJ Spooky (2008) (not yet released as a recording)
DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid (a.k.a. Paul D. Miller is a New York, N.Y.-based composer, musician, writer, lecturer and multi-media artist who has had international performances and presentations of his works. According to his Web site, “In December 2007 and January 2008 Paul D. Miller went to Antarctica to shoot a film and make a large scale multimedia performance work that will be an acoustic portrait of a rapidly changing continent called Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica. Sinfonia Antarctica transforms Miller’s first person encounter with the harsh, dynamic landscape of Antarctica into multimedia portraits with music composed from the different geographies that make up the land mass. It’s about the environment, sound, hip hop, electronic music and what it means to be a composer in the 21st century…Miller’s field recordings from a portable studio, set up to capture the acoustic qualities of Antarctic ice forms, reflect a changing and even vanishing environment under duress. Coupled with historic, scientific, and geographical visual material, Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica is a seventy minute performance, creating a unique and powerful moment around man’s relationship with nature…
Using digital media, video, and high tech recording equipment, DJ Spooky will go to Antarctica and paint an acoustic portrait of this rapidly transforming environment…he aims to bring Antarctica to the contemporary imagination by digitally reconstructing it: historical maps, travelers journals over the last several centuries, crystalline ice’s resonant frequencies, and the Earth’s magnet poles - will all be paints for the audio palette he will work with. Essentially, he will go to the continent and create a recording studio that will be portable enough to move all over the territory…For the purposes of this project, the idea of looking at the places beyond the realms of everyday life in the industrialized 21st century world, puts the continent front and center into the idea of making a map of the continent in sound.
Sinfonia Antarctica will be an acoustic portrait of a rapidly transforming continent made of ice and condensation. In many ways, because there is little rain, the interior of the continent is technically one of the largest deserts in the world. What Sinfonia Antarctica proposes to do is explore the realm of fiction and ideas that underlie almost all perceptions of Antarctica - from the interior desert plains, to the Transantarctic Mountains that divide the continent, the Suite will take samples of the different conditions, and transform them into multi-media portraits with music composed from the different geographies that make up the land mass.”
The work was commissioned by a number of international arts festivals and institutions and is played by a string trio with piano along with hip-hop and sampled digital accompaniment. With integrated Antarctic video projections, it has been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) as well as by other local ensembles in the United States. The Alter Ego Ensemble has performed it in Europe and Australia.
In 2009 Paul D. Miller presented The Science of Terra Nova, which was about the changes in Antarctica related to global climate change, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a presentation incorporating his Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica.
In 2010 Paul went to the High Arctic for his Arctic Rhythms/ Ice Music project with Cape Farewell, a charitable organization working to encourage artists to produce art based on scientific research, to engage the public in global warming issues. According to his Web site, “I am in the High Arctic creating a series of drafts for several compositions that I’ll eventually turn into several string quartet pieces, a gallery show, and a symphony out of the experience. I’m looking at how to collect impressions of the landscape, distill the material into something that I can use in the compositions (visually, sonically, and for writing as well), and arrive at a point where sound and art can create portraits of what’s going on up here.”
Paul told us in late 2010: “I’m now in production on my Arctic project, which is part 2 of what I did with my South Pole scenario.” www.djspooky.com; www.myspace.com/djspooky; (See also OF WATER AND ICE by DJ Spooky (2013) and ICE MUSIC by Paul D. Miller/ DJ Spooky (2012) in this section.)
ANTARCTICA ZEN (2008)
This is French disc, by Yiric Illians, in a Zen series of recordings of themed New Age and relaxing electronic instrumental music. The restful tracks include Antarctic titles such as Erebus Station, The Ross Barrier, Penguin’s Song, Polar Breath, Orcas, Iceberg, Ice Children and White Mountain. EMI Music France 509992659502 3
LES EXPÉDITIONS POLAIRES FRANāAISES by Paul-Émile Victor, Robert Gessain and Claude Lorius (2008)
This a 3-disc spoken-word package, by three eminent French polar explorers, academics and scientists, in their native French language. Paul-Émile Victor (d. 1995) is well known for his 1934-35 traverse of Greenland and a year spent in the study of Inuit culture, for founding after WWII the Expéditions polaires Franćaises, France’s then-leading polar organization and for his Antarctic research from the era of the 1957 International Geophysical Year onwards. His CD covers both polar areas and there is a 17-minute Antarctic interview from 1962, which was conducted with students from a French school. Robert Gessain (d. 1986) was a doctor and ethnologist and was also on the Greenland expedition with P-É Victor and his CD is related to Inuit culture, recorded in 1982. Claude Lorius has been a prominent glaciologist from the days of the 1957 International Geophysical Year and was notably involved with ice coring at the famed Russian Vostok Antarctic base. He became president of the Expéditions polaires Franćaises following the death of P-É Victor. In 1992 he established the French Institute for Polar Research and Technology. Lorius’ CD contains a 1986 interview with French students about Antarctic science and there is a further segment recorded in 2006 related to the then upcoming 2007-09 International Geophysical Year. There is an extensive 48-page booklet with the box set, describing the background science and culture of their work and discussions.
This commercially released disc is a real gem for its record of significant polar activities from people who were directly involved. It sets an example for other nations to record and disseminate to the public the records of their own accomplishments, in whatever fields. Frémeaux & Associés FA 5211
ANTARCTICA - Music and Nature Sounds (2008) (Web site download only)
The Belgian Biosphere label specializes in relaxation music, including sounds of nature and environmental themes in various New Age styles. This disc includes both frothy and languid New Age and ambient-style instrumentals with titles such as Daybreak on the Ice field, Snow Dreams, Parad’ Ice, Flight Over the Antarctic, Iceberg, The Wild Continent, Crystal Desert , Glacier at Springtime and Love Season. Available on various music download sites such as iTunes. www.biosphere.com
SERVE CHILLED by Medwyn Goodall and Tim Rock (2008)
Cornwall, U.K.-based Goodall is a prolific master New Age composer, musician and producer of thematic CDs. According to the liner notes, his latest melodic work is “inspired by a unique environment under threat from global warming…the CD also incorporates the actual atmospheres of snowstorms, ice caves and under a frozen sea. The sounds of penguins, whales and seals weave in and out of the music as it takes you across a white world.” The CD liner has a great photo of a sinister looking, weather-sculpted iceberg as well as penguins and seals on icy shorelines. MG Music MGCD105; www.mgmusic.ltd.uk
ANTARCTIC SONGBOOK by Ian Tamblyn (2008)
Ian Tamblyn is a veteran Ottawa-area musician, playwright and educator/guide on nature cruise ships, who has made trips to both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. During the 2007-08 Students on Ice Expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula, which included about 64 international students and 25 educators/chaperones, Tamblyn was the team minstrel. He told us that the “songs were written for the most part on the expedition”, with a few from his previous CDs. These songs are a tribute to Antarctica and according to the liner notes, “added a whole new way of understanding, appreciating and digesting everything we were experiencing. Most of the students had them memorized before we returned to South America! And now we have this CD as a lasting memory, gift and legacy for the International Polar Year and our incredible journey of discovery to the bottom of the world.” The tracks of melodic, acoustical folk-rock include such titles as Paradise Bay, Albatross, Gentoo Penguin, With the Whales-Deception Island and The Emperors. Students on Ice is a Gatineau, Québec-based award-winning program led by Geoff Green, dedicated to providing high school and university youth with educational expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic regions, accompanies by world-class teams of scientists, environmentalists and other specialists. ITCD-2008; www.tamblyn.com; www.studentsonice.com; (See also GYRE (2009), ANGEL’S SHARE (2004) and THE BODY NEEDS TO TRAVEL (1997) by Ian Tamblyn in the following “Individual Antarctic songs” section.)
ELEGI FOR ROALD AMUNDSEN by Hornorkesteret (2008) (Web site download only)
This anniversary tribute collection to polar hero Roald Amundsen may well be one of the most original and unusual recorded musical portrayals of an Antarctic theme. Jonas M. Qvale is the founder and a member of Norwegian group Hornorkesteret, formed in 1999 as an experimental art project, which has played in concert halls, museums, in the woods, on mountaintops and contributed to films and theatre. He told us that “I run a band called Hornorkesteret, The Norwegian Polar Orchestra, and we play soundscapes and experimental music on stringed reindeer antlers, stones, drums flutes, logs, ice, coffee percolators and other things. Our main musical concern is the forces of nature, and in particular how they are expressed in the Polar Regions. We have also been very inspired by polar exploration and the period from 1860-1920, when the last “white areas” on the globe were charted and “conquered”. We also find inspiration in the animals of the Polar Regions and their struggle to survive.
By amplifying the reindeer antlers with contact microphones, we are able to get a range of unusual sounds - from the underwater calls of Arctic and Antarctic animals like walrus, seals, various whales and penguins to creaking ship hulls, ice floes, ice shelves breaking off and howling winds.
We have just released an MP3 single commemorating the 80 years since polar hero Roald Amundsen disappeared in the Arctic with the seaplane Latham 47. The title track, Elegi for Roald Amundsen features the vocals of another great Norwegian polar hero, Fridtjof Nansen, taken from his speech at Amundsen’s funeral. Two other tracks related to Amundsen are included on this release, Mot Sydpolen (Towards the South Pole), an imagined soundtrack to the trek towards the Pole in 1911, and Mandolin Under et Vindu (Mandolin Under a Window), which looks at Amundsen’s youth and his early determination to make a name for himself in the Polar regions. Finally, a live version of the title track is included, recorded at the memorial monument at Amundsen’s birthplace in Borge, Norway at a memorial ceremony on the 18th of June 2008, complete with birdsong and rustling leaves.”
Towards the South Pole is a wonder of feral squawks, bleats and percussion, underlain by a menacing bass and as marching music might be more than adequate to encourage anyone to trek to the Pole and back. www.hornorkesteret.no; www.myspace.com/hornorkesteret
The track Elegi for Roald Amundsen is also included in Hornorkesteret’s best of CD collection of mostly live recorded and a few studio tracks, FJģR OG JERN (2011). Panot CD 002
An off-shoot project began in 2001 with Hornorkesteret recordings that were inadequate due to technical and other sound problems. These were organized along with material from other electronical sound sources under the cultural sharing network ORIGAMI ANTARKTIKA. According to their website, the goal is “to freeze down, time-stretch, to punctuate or blur these sounds. To submerge everything in the black waters of Lake Vostok, perhaps never to come back, perhaps to become new soundscapes one day. The low activity of this unit is due to extremely cold temperatures. When things are frozen, the atoms don’t ‘die’ or stop moving, they just slow waaaay down.” www.myspace.com/origamiantarktika
SOUNDS OF AUSTRALIA – THE NATIONAL REGISTRY OF RECORDED SOUND – National Film & Sound Archive (2008)
According to the CD booklet notes, “The National Film and Sound Archives of Australia develops, preserves, maintains and promotes a national audiovisual collection” as an Australian statutory authority created in 2008 from a previous non-statutory agency. The National Registry of Recorded Sound was begun in 2007 “as a way of highlighting Australia’s rich sound heritage. Each year, ten entries are added to an ever-growing list of iconic sound recordings of all genres (not just recorded music but also spoken word, radio serials, advertising jingles and so on), from all periods and across all sound media. The CD presents various musical groups, indigenous musicians and Aboriginal songs. A puzzling inclusion is Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1910 recording of My South Polar Expedition. This is the less well-known of his two recorded recitations about the British 1907-09 Nimrod Antarctic Expedition. This Expedition was not known as an Australian venture, although it did have several Australian crewmen and scientists (including Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson, who later went on to Antarctic fame in his own right.) ABC 476 6812; www.nfsa.gov.au; (See also HISTORIC VOICES IX – The Voices Collection (2008) following in this section.)
HISTORIC VOICES IX - The Voices Collection (2008)
This CD of speeches by famous people such as Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein and Babe Ruth includes Ernest Shackleton’s My South Polar Expedition, a recitation from March 30, 1910 and the lesser known of the two separate recordings made by him. It describes the British 1907-09 Nimrod Antarctic Expedition led by Shackleton. Unfortunately, for a series such as this, the CD does not have any background liner notes to any of the tracks, indicating recording dates or the contexts of the speeches. Also on this disc is a 20-second excerpt track Reaching the North Pole by Robert Peary, from the recording The Discovery of the North Pole, which was recorded in 1910 by Peary about his expedition, which claimed to have reached the North Pole in 1909. This latter recording was on the reverse side of the first, better known 78 rpm recording made by Shackleton in 1909, A Description of the Dash for the South Pole. Saland Publishing SP180; (See also the compilation disc SINFONIA ANTARTICA/SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC (2009) in the “Classical Antarctica: Ralph Vaughan Williams” commentary section at the beginning of this Discography and THE VERY BEST HISTORIC VOICES (2007) following in this section.)
THE VERY BEST HISTORIC VOICES (2007)
According to the CD cover, the disc includes “25 rare recordings from some of the most important people at the turn of the 20th century”, such as speeches from five American presidents, Commander Robert Peary (talking in 1910 about the discovery of the North Pole), Thomas Edison, Oscar Wilde, Harry Houdini, Buffalo Bill Cody and an 1890 speech by Florence Nightingale. Also included is Ernest Shackleton’s My South Polar Expedition, a recitation from March 30, 1910 and the lesser known of the two separate recordings made by him. It describes the British 1907-09 Nimrod Antarctic Expedition led by Shackleton. Also on this disc is the track The Discovery of the North Pole, which was recorded in 1910 by Peary about his expedition, which claimed to have reached the North Pole in 1909. This latter recording was the reverse side of the first, more commonly known 78 rpm recording made by Shackleton in 1909, A Description of the Dash for the South Pole. The CD was compiled by Bill Seper (Illinois, U.S.A.). Blue Denim Records 92107; (See also the compilation disc SINFONIA ANTARTICA/SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC (2009) in the “Classical Antarctica: Ralph Vaughan Williams” commentary section at the beginning of this Discography and HISTORIC VOICES IX - The Voices Collection (2008) in this section.)
ANTARCTICA by Martin Villiger (2007)
Martin Villiger is a Baden, Switzerland-based composer and keyboard player who has produced numerous CDs and composed soundtracks for TV documentaries, in styles ranging from classical to pop. The music for this CD was made for the panoramic multi-media shows Antarctica and Land of the Penguins, produced by Heiner and Rosamaria Kubny, who photographed the landscapes and wildlife of the continent. The music ranges from quiet to animated, orchestrated New Age/pop underlain by cavernous, booming bass on some tracks. Tracks include titles such as Antarctica, Another World, Emptiness, To the Top, Far Distance, The Penguin Song, Atmosphere, Storm and After the Storm. Martin says on the liner notes: “When I started composing for “Antarctica”, I had no idea how strongly this far-away continent would influence me. I had new melodies and ideas coming to my mind easily. You now hold the result in form of a CD, and I can say that there is a lot of soul and (despite the cold) warmth in it. Enjoy this music as it takes you on a journey to far away places.” www.martinvilliger.com; www.myspace.com/martinvilliger; www.pinguine.ch
AUDIO FLIX: ARCTIC INVASION – DISK I (2007)
This is an audio theatre adventure, modeled on radio dramas of yesteryear. Futuristic lab-engineered military elites are sent to a mining operation in Antarctica to investigate temperature drops over the world. They encounter alien underground creatures as well as unfriendly miners who have their own secret digging activities and are wary of the military. The soundtrack and effects are by Oregon, U.S.-based producer John Pospisil. The concluding follow-up Disk II seems not to have been made. Audioflix 842994-012344
DEEP_FRIEZE by Sleep Research Facility (2007)
Sleep Research Facility is the solo project of Glasgow, U.K.-based ambient sound artist Kevin Doherty. According to his Website site, “Sleep Research Facility explores notions of awareness and perception in the sub/unconscious listener. Focusing primarily on sound bereft of rhythm based energies, SRF(acility)’s goal is to provide listening environments wherein the music simply adds texture to the silence. SRF entertains the idea that music can forgoe notions of compositional architecture, resulting in noise which draws attention away from itself, leaving room for the listener to focus on other things (or, focus on nothing at all). SRF puts emphasis on these aesthetics in the search for a kind of “play me quiet” sound suitable for listening to actively or passively depending on circumstances, creating an aural experience which guides the mind through gentle misdirection rather than forcing its attention, allowing listeners to drift in their own diversified thoughts.”
His fourth CD of ambient sonics and soundscapes is based on the solitary bleakness of the Antarctic and the five long minimalist tracks are named for Antarctic geographic co-ordinates: 79ľS 83ľW, 72ľS 149ľE, 82ľS 62ľE, 86ľS 115ľW and 80ľS 96ľE. Kev told us in 2010 about the background of the music: “Hmmmmm, what inspired the Deep Frieze album...? The Antarctic environment is so pure and motionless and (for the most part) still unsullied by mankind. It’s a huge “emptiness” begging to be filled with stories and imagination. It evokes tranquility but harbours darkness and danger in its serene beauty as well. It’s probably one of the last great unexplored regions of our planet, still holding deep secrets within its frozen wasteland. There is life there, as well as death. The co-ordinates for the track titles were chosen arbitrarily, but I looked to scatter them evenly and randomly across the map, hopefully representing the vast nothingness as opposed to anything that might be thought of as a tourist attraction. Who could resist exploring this! Either in person or artistically.”
The Website notes to the CD state that “The polar regions are awe-inspiring environments of inhospitable minimalism, and at the same time there’s a beautiful serenity to be found in their uncharted bleakness as well. There’s a powerful purity and a timelessness to be found there: snow which has lain un-trampled for millennia and ice which formed eons ago; mountain ranges and deserts and rivers to be found if you look. Here deep, resonant, abyss-like tones shine forth from icy chasms below as whiteout blasts across the vast and largely uncharted expanse of emptiness above. Chilled, though not necessarily chilling. There is a certain comforting warmth in the encroaching slumber of hypothermia.” Cold spring CSR72CD; www.myspace.com/sleepresearchfacility; www.resonance-net.com
ANTARCTIC by Mac Lauren (undated) (Web site download only)
Mac Lauren, from Hobart, Tasmania is an Australian singer-songwriter who has travelled his native land, designed and built green power units and been an electrical contractor. He overwintered in Antarctica and produced three songs from his experiences for his web site. Peace of Mind is a relaxing guitar/harmonica instrumental. The other two tracks are sung in a husky baritone and are very expressive of the strong emotions of beauty and longing brought out by The Ice. Lyrics to Antarctic: “And the beauty of it all becomes clear, as we draw near. South of here there’s an ocean as wide as any known. Grey mountains marching endlessly, the albatross above surfs the air, fortune we share. Antarctic, the beauty of silence, land of the storm. Lift off the deck into a perfect sky, perfect sky. Once around the ship and we’re climbing high. Around the horizon cathedrals float in a frozen sea. I recall her icy breath over me. Antarctic, the beauty of silence, land of the storm. Antarctic, the beauty of silence, land of the storm.”
Lyrics to Return to Australia: : “Where have you been, long lost son? Finally, spring has come. Stretch the days. Draw the life, back to this land, this land of ice. Why does a world so cold, bring fire to the soul? This line on the map in the mess, reading daily, sailing south southwest. Moving an inch a day, slowly and surely coming our way. Red ship is in the bay. Stand by to R.T.A. I’ll never leave you cold. I’ll warm your heart and soul. I’m tired of loving over the phone. I’m meant to hold you. I’m coming home. Red ship is in the bay. I’m on for R.T.A. I’ll never leave you cold. I’ll warm your heart and soul, your heart and soul. Red ship is in the bay. Stand by to R.T.A. We’re coming home.” www.maclaurenmusic.com
CARTOGRAPHER by E.S. Posthumus, featuring Luna Sans (2007)
According to the liner notes, “In 1929, the ancient map “Piri Reis” was discovered in Constantinople. The map is extraordinary because it depicts bays and islands on the Antarctic coast which have been concealed under ice for at least 6,000 years. What civilization was capable of such exploration that long ago? On “Cartographer”, we imagine that these explorers were from the tiny island of Numa in the Southern Indian Ocean. As advanced seafarers, they navigated every corner of the Earth. We have created a language unique to them and tell stories through song that describe their creation, discoveries and ultimate demise.” Piri Re’is (Admiral) was an Ottoman seafarer and cartographer who compiled a now controversial map of the world in 1513. The surviving part shows the coasts of Western Europe, Africa and the Brazilian regions of eastern South America. The South American outlines have been claimed by some writers since the mid-1960s to show an ice-free eastern Antarctic Peninsula coast, though this is unproven. Many others believe this interpretation belongs in the fantasy world of Von Daniken’s Chariot of the Gods.
The composers of the music are two brothers based in Los Angeles, California, with the unlikely-sounding names of Helmut and Franz Vonlichten, also reported to be pseudonyms for two real brothers who have written numerous soundtrack pieces for TV programs and film studios. The music on the disc is big orchestral World Music, largely with a Latin sound with some Mid-Eastern influences. The package contains two discs, one with vocals by the wonderful Luna Sans to lush instrumental tracks and the second has an even fuller all-instrumental treatment. It’s great listening, but with the tropical flavour, it takes a great imagination to pretend that any of the lands portrayed musically could be overlain by miles of ice today. Wigshop Records WS2237; www.esposthumus.com
ANTARCTICA SUITE by Hunter Johnson (2007) (Web site download only)
Hunter Johnson is a California-based musician who grew up in Southeast Asia and moved to Portland, Oregon for his high school years. He has worked independently as an artist and producer for musical projects and for television. This downloadable suite of 13 melodic, instrumental synthesizer pieces began as musical impressions for the paintings and photographs of the visual artist, J. J. L’Heureux, also based in California. L’Heureux has visited the continent five times and has been an Antarctic expedition artist with Quark Expeditions. The themed track titles will be familiar to any Antarctic visitor and include Wilderness Theme, Encounter with Sea & Ice, All Ice Melts, Penguins in Paradise Bay, Frozen Rivers, Walk to the Rookery, Dawn Down Iceberg Alley, White Wilderness, Lemaire Passage, Ice Caps Melting, Crossing the Circle and Zodiac Exploration. In late 2007, Johnson accompanied L’Heureux and a Swiss filmmaker on board the Golden Fleece, a 65-foot motor sloop, which circumnavigated South Georgia, and is composing background music for the video adventure. www.hunterjohnsonmusic.com; www.jjlheureux.com; www.penguinspirit.com
ANTARCTICA by Gill de la tourette (2007) (Web site download only)
De la tourette (Steven Tevels) is a Belgian native and electronica artist. His 39-minute, 6-track Antarctica is a bleak, minimalist ambient work and according to the web site, “is a concept CD dedicated to the experimental pioneers who discovered and explored Antarctica...The first impressions of an untouched mighty new land. Extreme circumstances, never ending icy winds, random noisy silence, white absolute monochrome landscapes, hunger, cold, no daylight in winter, the suffering, tiredness and isolation...An audiosonic story, a melodic journey through a world of dissected and strangely reassembled tones. On first listen, these soundscapes could easily sound like a stuttering mess, but give it time and the stutters become a string orchestra and the glitches become the delicate sound of a glockenspiel…” ca080; www.clinicalarchives.blogspot.com; www.myspace.com/gilldelatourette
ANTARCTICA by Metamorfrozen (2007) (Web site download only)
This dynamic 80-minute ambient work, containing 10 instrumental tracks, on a Polish net label dedicated to industrial, dark ambient, power electronica and experimental music, is “especially for all explorers of Polar landscapes.” Titles include Metamorformation, Polar Plateau, Snow Petrels Over the Pole, Diamond Dust, Dark Days Under Mount Terror, Aurora Australis, Subglacial Lakes, Winds Over the Cold Emptiness, Ice-o-lation and Mountains of Madness. No information on the artist in the Web site. KEMn53; www.kaos-ex-machina.pl/promotions
ERNEST SHACKLETON BIG BAND ORCHESTRA (2007 and 2005) (Web site downloads only)
The ESBBO is the ambient recording project of the Lille, France-based artist who records under the name of Kaneda. His eight-track, 41-minute Artic Opera from 2005 is described on the Web site as “polar ambient...a journey into Antarctica with sounds from ice and sea”. The seven-track, 46-minute Rest in Ice from 2007 is described as “polar, always polar.” In 2009 Kaneda told us: “The reason for the “Ernest Shackleton Big Band Orchestra” is really simple. In fact, since I was very young, I’ve always been fascinated by Antarctica and other very cold places. I started producing ambient music a few years ago and had no name for the project. I just used my surname, Kaneda. After a concert, I asked a friend about his feelings. He just said that it was “polar”. No other words...that was the only word he could say about my music. So I found that “polar” was accurate and I searched for a name. While I was looking at a video about Ernest Shackleton, I realized that the technology didn’t allow his team to record sounds but only pictures. I imagined that Ernest Shackleton is still alive and continues his journeys through polar lands and I’m his sound engineer.” www.knd.world.free.fr; www.myspace.com/kanedafeatmoineau; www.archive.org
ENDURANCE by Irezumi (2007)
Irezumi is a former techno artist, based in France, who has created an album of richly desolate ambient music based on Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition. Haunting voiceovers on several of the tracks add to the imagined reality of the drama on ice, water and land, as portrayed in the music. A six panel digipak of bleak black and white photos, of what looks like Frank Hurley’s photographs of South Georgian mountains and glaciers, adds to the listening experience. As to the reason for the CD, a representative of the record label told us that, “Irezumi read some stuff about Shackleton, I think he also saw some documentaries. And it was enough for him to make an album.” Snowblood Snow01; www.myspace.com/irezumimusic
TILL ANTARCTICA by Elisa Korenne (2007)
Till Antarctica may well be the catchiest, upbeat, can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head Antarctic tune we’ve come across. It’s the theme song for the play Antarctica, which was written by Carolyn Raship and premiŹred at the New York City Fringe Festival in 2007. The play is about two schoolgirls who meet at school and plan to go to Antarctica to find the magnetic South Pole. Elisa Korenne is a New York-based singer/composer with numerous songwriting awards to her credit. While the song has not yet been commercially issued on a CD, we are eager to see take its rightful place as one of the greats of recorded Antarctic tunes. A song sample may be heard on the myspace website listed below. Sample lyrics: “Blue ice may freeze our feet, Blubber’s all there is to eat, I’m with you…No matter where you want to go, I’ll stay by your side, you know, I’ll see it through, I’ll stay with you, Till Antarctica. If penguins steal our sleeping bags, You break your legs on the icy crags, I’m with you. The wind could wail loud and cold, Snow blindness could take hold, I’m with you, I’m with you.” Elisa told us that “I haven't been to Antarctica (the only continent I haven't been to!) and I hear it’s incredible. My images of Antarctica come from a variety of sources. Mainly, they come from the text of the play itself. The song was almost an accident. I was at a writing retreat trying to write a musical, and I was procrastinating. I read the play, and figured I ought to at least write a song based on it as a fun exercise if I wasn’t going to be writing my musical. The other places my images come from are photographs I’ve seen of my friend kayaking the Arctic and photographs of the Endurance journey in Antarctica.” www.elisakorenne.com; www.myspace.com/antarcticatheplay
ANTARCTICA - Nature Recordings by Global Journey (2007)
Global Journey is a music, audio and video programming and distribution firm, dedicated to many and various lifestyle and nature themes, with offices in the U.K. and U.S. Its CDs are composed and performed by professional musicians and artists and the firm specializes in non mainstream markets. The Antarctica CD is a 51-minute presentation of wind, pounding water, storms and various wildlife sounds. According to the liner notes Antarctica is “a place of such raw beauty and unspoilt landscapes, a stunning wilderness of great importance. The polar experience is one of awe inspiring imagery from the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) and whale-watching to the amazing penguin colonies and the glacial configurations.” Global Journey CD GJ3715; www.global-journey.com
ANTARCTICA - A Portrait in Wildlife and Natural Sound (2007)
Originally released on LP in 1971, this 48-minute British CD is a collection of 16 tracks of natural Antarctic sounds, including penguins, seals, birds, ice movement, blizzard, spring, rough seas and huskies. It was recorded over 1969-70 and produced by the then British Antarctic Survey meteorologist/filmmaker and later author, Edwin Mickleburgh. He has provided an extensive liner booklet with copious notes about the nature and wildlife of each recorded scene. Saydisc CD-SDL219; www.saydisc.com
THE ANTARCTIC BALLADS by Cliff Wedgbury (2006)
Cliff Wedgbury is a Cork, Ireland-based literary writer and performing artist and broadcaster who has produced his own folk song tribute to the heroes of the Golden Era of Antarctic exploration of the early 1900s. According to the liner notes, he was originally inspired as a youngster in 1956 when he visited the R.S.S. Discovery, the ship used on Robert Scott’s 1901-04 first Antarctic expedition, which was then docked in London, England. In 2009, Cliff told us that “My interest began one hot summer Sunday afternoon when my late father took myself and my older sister up to central London from our home in the suburbs, to visit Capt. Scott’s first Antarctic ship “Discovery”, which was berthed at that time on the Thames. After that visit and the stories he told us of Antarctic exploration, I saved up my pocket-money and purchased a second-hand copy of “South With Scott” by Lt. Teddy Evans. As a teenager I learnt folk guitar, and began writing songs, but it is only in the past nine years that I wrote the Antarctic ballads, spurred on by reading, “Unsung Hero” by Michael Smith, about Irishman Tom Crean. I sang at the unveiling ceremony of his statue by his two surviving daughters. I also sang my ballads below decks on “Discovery” with Scott’s grandson, Edward Wilson’s nephew David, and Lt. Teddy Evans’ son Broke. Last November (2008), I sang at the Shackleton Museum in Athy, Co. Kildare.” The CD has 12 tuneful songs, sung in an earnest, earthy baritone voice with guitar accompaniment. Titles include five ballads, The Ballads of Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton, Teddy Evans, Of The Invalid and Tom Crean. Other songs include Soldier, Soldier, Where The Icebergs Flow, Sailor Boy, Sweethearts and Wives, Daddy Will You Tell Us, Emily’s Song and Each Dawn Seems So New. The CD comes with a booklet with the Scott and Shackleton histories, all the song lyrics plus music notation for The Ballad of Ernest Shackleton and The Ballad of Tom Crean, who was a hero of both Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions. www.myspace.com/cliffwedgbury
ANTARCTICA SONGS by The Aquatic Ape Theory (2006) (Web site download only)
TAAT is the alter ego of San Diego-based Jim Behrens. This collection of folksy roots rock was recorded at the Australian Antarctic base, Davis Station and mixed onboard the supply ship RSV Aurora Australis. Tracks include White White (sample lyrics: “White white, everywhere you look is white, Sunlight comin’ up from below. My face is turning red, it’s time for me to go to bed and dream of dreams of home. I’ve been puttin’ in my time of workin’ on the line, and in this strange empty place filled with snow, day turns to night, someone forgot to turn off the lights.”), Sun Dogs, Amery, Vegemite and In a Tent (In a blizzard).
We asked Jim in 2008 about the background of his music and he provided the following remarkable biography: “I am a geophysicist, and was fortunate enough to spend two summer seasons working in Antarctica as a post-doc at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. I made a website during my second season (2006-07) where you can learn about the project and day-to-day life in the Antarctic: http://loose-tooth.ucsd.edu. At the top of the ‘science’ page there is a link to a YouTube video I put together that gives a good summary as well. On the ‘links’ page there is a link to photographs from the 2005-06 season, when the songs were written and recorded.
I brought my guitar and harmonicas, along with a bare-bones recording rig, during that first season, 2005-06. I spent two solid months living in tents on the Amery Ice Shelf as part of a 6-person field team, which is when I wrote the songs and lyrics. We were collecting seismic data by laying out geophone arrays and setting off small charges of dynamite, to measure the thickness of the ice and the depth of the seawater beneath us. One of the women in the team (Marianne Okal) was a classically-trained violinist, she brought a mandolin which she played wonderfully, and we wrote the music to Amery together, and she wrote her part for Sun Dogs. The album cover photo is a timed self-portrait of us posing in front of the midnight sun out on the ice shelf. We spent the final month of the season based back at Davis Station, where I stayed up late many nights to record the tracks in an empty room in the science building. The hard walls and high ceiling created a nice natural reverb. There is a band hut at Davis as well, and there were a surprising number of musicians down there that season. I set up and recorded the drum tracks in the hut one afternoon, after most everything else had been recorded to a click track. I played all the instruments except for some of the mandolin parts. I mixed the songs during the two-week icebreaker transit back to Hobart, Tasmania, and sent them off to get mastered once I returned to California.
The lyrics for White White, Sun Dogs, and Amery are my interpretations of and meditations on life on the ice shelf: being so far from home and spending the holidays with a small group of relative strangers; the overwhelming beauty, remoteness, and hostility of the environment; the interpersonal conflicts as well as the camaraderie; the mental and physical strain that accumulated over two months out there. I came up with the bridge for White White while on a long snowmobile transit one fine morning. The line ‘sun dogs, halos, iridescent rainbows’ refers to the unusual atmospheric optical effects that occur in the cold, clean air down there. One night when I got out of my tent around 2 am and a low fog had settled on the ice shelf, there were sun dogs projected into the fog that looked to be about 10 meters away from my face. Astonishing. Vegemite is about me learning to love the stuff. The expedition was run by the Australian Antarctic Division, and so there was an endless supply of Vegemite. I wrote that one in about 10 minutes, and recorded the guitar and vocals on the first take. In aTent (In a Blizzard) is actually two overlapping ambient sound recordings, made with the internal mic on my laptop, in two different tents on successive nights during a week-long blizzard. I had intended to record some spare, simple guitar to go with it, but ran out of time. I brought gear down again for the second season, but it was shorter, and when I was at Davis Station I had many more opportunities to get out on long multi-day hikes in the local area, which I couldn’t pass up. I made time for music as well, but was mostly jamming with the other musicians at the base, and never really got any substantial recording done.
Well that’s probably more that you wanted to know, but it’s not often that someone asks me about the music I make, which is my true passion in life. I always travel with at least a guitar, and am always writing songs as I go. I got about halfway through a proper album earlier this year, but had to put it on hold – I’ve been at sea in the Arctic now since May, but all the background noise on a ship makes it a bad place to record. Anyway, I’ll be back home soon, and back to my studio with new songs in my head.” www.jimbo.cc
HELLO ANTARCTICA by Max Marlow and Ma5kin3 (2006) (Web site download only)
Max Marlow is a German electronic musician whose 26-minute Hello Antarctica suite of five ambient tracks contains some appropriately sinister, icy themes that would be ideal background soundtracks for a creepy movie involving escapes through deep glaciers, crevasses and underground caverns. Metro024; www.retropublik.net; www.myspace.com/maxmarlow
THE COLDEST PLACE ON EARTH by Green Bean Music (2006)
Green Bean, based in Evanston, Illinois was formed in 2002 by teacher Bill Corrough and songwriter/producer Ryan Bassler to create enjoyable musical productions for students, teachers and parents. Their web sites says that, “Kids want to hear and sing songs that their big brothers and sisters listen to, not songs that sound like what adults think they like.” There are twelve musicals in their CD catalogue and this is a great one, about Antarctica, with the tracks The Coldest Place on Earth, Race to the Pole, Ice Formations, Antarctic Penguins, and Which Way is North. The up-beat songs are in three sets, with the first performed by Green Bean, the second has vocals by a group of children and the third has instrumentals only, for a sing along. The performance package also includes a data disc with the lyrics, music, spoken parts for the musical presentation and additional information about Antarctica with Web site references. Ryan told us that, “Our music company has been writing 2-3 musicals a year, and one of the recurring themes has been the Continents, so Antarctica was bound to happen sometime. Probably one of the only times you'll hear 200 kids singing about Ernest Shackleton.” Polyholiday Records phcdr206; www.greenbeanmusic.com
BLOODY SEA by Merzbow (2006)
Merzbow is a Japanese experimental electronic music project begun by Masami Akita in 1979. Alone or with numerous collaborators, he has released numerous CDs as well as books and articles about subcultures and recently, animal rights. Music may be a generous description of his abstract synthesizer mosaics, which might otherwise be described as noise. The present CD is a three-part Anti-Whaling Song, which may take more than three listenings to absorb. The sound is harsh and difficult to listen to, in keeping with the harsh, bloody and unpleasant topic.
The CD cover notes present a strident polemic against so-called Japanese scientific whaling in the Antarctic, which begins: “In November, 2006, the Japanese whaling fleet will set sail for the icy waters of Antarctica. Their target - 50 Humpback Whales, 50 Fin Whales and almost l000 Minke Whales. In the next l6 years, unless this obscene ‘scientific whaling’ program, known as JARPA 2, is stopped, the Japanese whaling fleet will slaughter l7,000 Minke Whales, 800 Humpbacks and 800 Fin Whales. The murder of these beautiful creatures spells the end of the global moratorium on the killing of whales as Japan’s so-called ‘scientific whaling’ is nothing more than a commercial killing operation. The Japanese Government subsidises its whaling industry with thousands of dollars each year. Japanese warehouses are piled high with mountains of unused whale meat. School children are given whale hamburgers and sausages in an attempt to turn them on to eating whale meat. The truth is that the market for whale meat in Japan is almost non-existent. Yet still the Japanese Government pursues its deadly agenda of turning the world’s oceans into a slaughterhouse for whales. Old whalers who worked in Antarctica in the fifties, when thousands and thousands of whales were killed, cannot wipe the memories of the hideous slaughter from their minds…..
Tell your family, friends, workmates that the whales will die unless we, the people act. There is legal action which can be taken to stop the slaughter. There is hope. Miracles can happen, but we must create the magic. The whales demand no less. The great mind in the waters is calling on caring humans to ensure their survival. This call is nothing less than the crossroads of our humanity, our survival. Do it!” VIVO2006022CD; www.merzbow.net
DARK ADVENTURE RADIO THEATRE PRESENTS H. P. LOVECRAFT’S “AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS” (2006)
The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society (of Glendale, California) has adapted one of Lovecraft’s best regarded stories in the form of a spooky 75 minute radio play in the way it might have been produced in the 1930s. If you ever thought that early life oozed out of a tropical Antarctica, then this is for you. The story, originally written in 1931, appeared as a serialized edition in Astounding Stories in 1936 and was published as a novella in 1939. Byrd-era Antarctic technology is combined with unbounded sci-fi imagination in a university Antarctic expedition gone wrong. Despite the exaggerated imagery, this classic story asks a good question – how far should science go for the sake of curiosity? It concludes that some things are better left unearthed. www.cthulhulives.org
HP Lovecraft was also the name of a 1960s eclectic Chicago and later Marin County, California folk rock/ psychedelic band, which issued two records in 1967 and 1968. Both were issued as a CD package in 2000 and the second, HP LOVECRAFT II (1968) contains the track At the Mountains of Madness. Apparently about a bad acid trip, no Antarctic content is discernible, despite the notable title. Collector’s Choice Music 314542821-2; www.collectorschoicemusic.com
HAPPY FEET - Music from the Motion Picture (2006)
The Warner Bros.’ film about Mumbles, the Antarctic penguin who can’t sing but can tap dance up a storm became an early box office success and won the Oscar for best animated feature film of 2006. The recycled dance music of the soundtrack is sung by many currently hip singers but unfortunately there was no apparent attempt here to create fresh music that would be Antarctic in lyrics or mood. Warner Sunset/Atlantic CD83998; www.happyfeetmovie.com
IMPROVISING ANTARCTICA by Cathy Stevens, Udo Dzierzanowski, Karen Wimhurst, Steve Harris (2005)
According to the CD’s liner notes, “This is a live recording of music, spontaneously composed at an hour-long event at the Study Gallery, Poole, UK on November 29th 2005, in which the above musicians, along with a group of artists, responded to images and photographs previously created by Frances Hatch, all inspired by her recent visit to Antarctica.” Frances Hatch is an established Dorset, U.K.-based visual artist who also collaborates on projects with musicians. In 2005 she visited the Antarctic Peninsula, which led to a book of her paintings and commentary, Drawn to Antarctica, as well as other exhibitions, including a 2011 DVD, Antarctica Encore, of visual media and additional improvised music based on the 2005 trip, by two of the musicians on this disc, known as Frozen Orchestras of Lost Sound. On the 2005 CD, starting slowly, the four musicians, on violectra, guitar, clarinet and drums/percussion, bang, crash and spiritedly float their way through 63 minutes of what must have been an interesting multi-media voyage. www.franceshatch.co.uk; www.frozenorchestras.com (See also ANTARCTICA ENCORE by Frozen Orchestras of Lost Sound (2011) in this section.)
ANTARCTIC JOURNAL – Original Soundtrack composed by Kenji Kawai (2005)
South Korean director Yim Pil-Sung has made an Antarctic mystery and psychological thriller about six expeditioners crossing the continent. After they find a journal from another expedition that disappeared 80 years ago, turmoil and terror abound. The soundtrack is pretty bleak and bare, likely matching the mood of the film, which has not yet caught any publicity in North America. Sony Music Direct (Japan) Inc. MHCP 840
ANTARCTICA - Musical Images from the Frozen Continent by Craig Vear (2005)
Vear, a British electroacoustic composer and musician, won an Arts Council England Fellowship, in conjunction with the British Antarctic Survey’s Artists and Writers Programme, to spend three months over 2003/04 on British bases in the Antarctic Peninsula area. The result was the multi-media Antarctica, which includes a small book of his diaries and other commentaries, a CD of recorded Antarctic wildlife sounds, ice breaking and glacial melting, and a DVD. The DVD includes an electro-acoustic composition comprised of original field recordings of wildlife, mechanical and human sounds, portraying the interactions of the people with their environments. Enlighten Entertainment Ltd.; www.ev2.co.uk; www.myspace.com/craigvear; (See also THREE LAST LETTERS (In Memoriam of Capt. Scott, Dr. Wilson and Lt. Bowers) by Craig Vear (2012) and ANTARCTICA by Craig Vear (2011) in this section and SUMMERHOUSES by Craig Vear (2009) in the “Individual Songs” section.)
LA MARCHE DE L’EMPEREUR by Emilie Simon (2005)
This is the soundtrack for the French film of the same name by Luc Jacquet (English title: March of the Penguins), a soaring flockumentary about the harsh frozen world of Emperor penguins. The original French version of the film has actors cutely voicing penguins while the English version has narration by Morgan Freeman and a different soundtrack. The original French film music, by Simon, a French singer and instrumentalist, is in an electropop New Age style with English vocals, reminiscent of Icelandic singer Björk. Some of the song titles include The Frozen World, Antarctic, Baby Penguins, Aurora Australis. All is White, Footprints in the Snow. Barclay 9827008. There is also a version of this disc with the English title MARCH OF THE EMPRESS (2005) Milan M2-36276; (See also MARCH OF THE PENGUINS Original Score by Alex Wurman (2005) in the preceding “Classical Antarctica” commentary.)
VOICES OF HISTORY 2 - Arts, Science & Exploration (2005)
In this second set of vocal recordings of famous people from the British Library Sound Archive, there is a 3.48 minute recitation by Ernest Shackleton titled A description of the dash for the South Pole, recorded on June 23, 1909. Shackleton very briefly outlines the British Antarctic (Nimrod) Expedition of 1907-09, which he led and which was the first to scale Mount Erebus and send men to the South Magnetic Pole. Shackleton and three others came within 112 miles of the South Pole itself, before conditions made them turn back. He ends with a quote from Robert Service, famous for his poetry of Canada’s northern Yukon area. British Library NSACD 19-20; www.bl.uk/soundarchive; (See also the compilation SINFONIA ANTARTICA/SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC (2009) in the “Classical Antarctica: Ralph Vaughan Williams” section and LET US NOT FORGET – A Tribute to the Phonograph - Historic Speech Recordings (1973) in this section.)
TERRA NULLIS – A Tribute to Antarctica by Lebensessenz (2004) (Cassette and CDr)
Lebensessenz (Newton Schner Jr.) is a Ponta Grossa, Brazil-based neoclassical pianist/composer who recorded these pieces over two nights with a video camera. This limited edition cassette of 500 is, according to his Web commentary, “an hypnotic journey through the imaginary cold lands of Antarctica, through primitive and melancholic neoclassical piano music with slow and repetitive melodies, like a transcendental minimalism. Reflections about this dying land, which is going to be a myth. Frost now becomes as water, and the humans will die, swimming in their own poor objectives, dying by the natural revenge of Mother Nature.” The four solo piano tracks of the Suite are called Glacial Horizon, The Ice Beyond the Ice…the Coldness Beyond the Cold, The Oblivion at the Antarctic Material and Spiritual Sizableness and Terra Nullis. Dunkelweg Productions DWP005
YETI SOCIETY by Harald Grosskopf (2004)
Harald Grosskopf is a veteran German drummer/percussionist and composer in the electronic music world for his own groups as well as a performer with other artists. His fifth solo album, with an iceberg on the back cover, has Shackleton’s 1914-16 Endurance Expedition to Antarctica as its overall theme. The interesting, tuneful beat-heavy tracks include Circumspection, Bravery, Elephant Island, Endurance, South Georgia, Broad Liquids and Endeavourance. Harald explained to us in 2009 the reason for his general Antarctic theme on the album: “I was very much inspired by reading the incredible logbook/diary of Sir Ernest Shackleton. His strength and intelligence made them successfully cross, in a tiny lifeboat, the damned cold southern ice sea for more than 600 miles, with most primitive navigation tools, in rough seas with bad sightings (upon sun and stars) and saved his comrades’ lives, after another year of several painful tries, with the loss of just one man out of thirty something…Most thrilling!” Groove GR 110; www.haraldgrosskopf.de
HIDDEN LANDSCAPE: LAKE VOSTOK by various artists (2004)
Eight Australian musicians have each contributed a track of ambient music in this disc dedicated to Antarctica’s largest subglacial lake. It is located under more than two miles of ice and believed to be up to 15 million years old. The water in the lake, from the melting of the underside of the ice sheet, may be up to one million years old. The dark toned music on the disc, while not a bubbly listening experience, captures well, the timeless and languid nature of water hidden over frozen eons of time. These would be great soundtracks for cinema. Track titles include some very descriptive themes: Silent Voices of the Extremophiles-Bright Steel Blind Waters, Under a Blue Sun, Atlantis Blueprints and Beneath the Lake-Subatomic Movements. The 72-minute CD was compiled by Australian ambient musician and promoter Zac Keiller and includes one of his own pieces, Beyond the Ice-Submergence-Exploration. He told us in 2008 that “I was watching a documentary on Lake Vostok one day and the idea of the lake inspired my imagination. I thought that the premise would lend itself to some fascinating sound pieces, and luckily it all worked out.” Dreamland Recordings (no record # given); www.dreamlandrecordings.com
LAKE VOSTOK by Sternenspringer (2004) (Web site download only)
Sternenspringer is the musical project of two Frankfurt, Germany-based ambient/techno electronic musicians, Jürgen Rieger and Gerd Neusser. This 23-minute, 4-track work, Lake Vostok, named for Antarctica’s mysterious subsurface lake, has the following description in the Web site: “icy textures and tricky rhythmic elements fill the range, that sternenspringer span in each track - a movie for the big screen in four aural scenes.” The duo told us in 2008 that “for the Sternenspringer music we are looking always for a kind of topic. In this case we read an article in a newspaper (journal) and were fascinated about this natural phenomenon and decided to create some techno/electro tracks. We hope the music mirrored this unique natural spectacle.” Tonatom.038; www.tonatom.net; www.sternenspringer.de
BIRD SONGS IN THE ANTARCTIC INCLUDING SOUTH GEORGIA & FALKLAND ISLANDS (2004)
Recorded from the Explorer II, this 31-minute British CD has tracks of 24 birds and penguins recorded from the Antarctic Peninsula area, South Georgia, Falkland Islands and Ushuaia. Mandarin Productions MP CD5; www.mandarinproductions.com
MUSIC FROM CHRISTOPHER KULIKOWSKI’s RETROGADE by Stephen Melillo (2004)
Quickly shot in a short time with a low budget, this sci-fi film stars Dolph Lundgren. It’s about a group of scientists, travelling back from the future to the present time, who land on the Antarctic pack ice, where the polar research vessel, Nathaniel Palmer, is chasing a comet and has itself become trapped in the same ice. Throw in some deadly extraterrestrial bacteria and mutinous space travellers, and things are not looking good on board the ship. Unfortunately, the film has had no exposure in North America and may have limited distribution/availability on DVD. Although the CD package is bare bones with only a track listing, Stephen Mellilo’s entire score, including the track Antarctica, is suitably spooky and may be better than the film. Mellilo, an American conductor, educator and composer, has scored over 950 works for films, ensembles and symphonies and his work has been nominated for Academy and Emmy awards. Stormworks; www.cdbaby.com
ANTARCTINA by YNEY (2004)
This CD of instrumental tracks related to Antarctica was recorded in Moscow by a trio of established avant-garde Russian musicians (Yuri Orlov, Andrei Kireev & Igor Shaposhnikov). The bouncy, though repetitive, percussive electronic music has titles such as Appearance from Above, Stroll, Flight over the Continent, Fly Out, Return to Bosom and Light of the Antarctina Star. While the CD booklet is in Russian, the track titles are also listed in English. Electroshock Records ELCD 041; www.electroshock.ru
T & T’s REAL TRAVELS IN ANTARCTICA - Original Soundtrack Music composed and recorded by Thomas Downie (2004)
A 23-minute disc containing 12 themes with titles from numerous places along the Antarctic Peninsula, such as King George Island, Deception Island and Lemaire Channel. The short melodic orchestral sounding pieces are from T & T’s Antarctica DVD of a 2004 Peninsula trip on board the M/V Orlova. TTRT004; www.ttrealtravels.com
ALIEN VS. PREDATOR - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, music by Harald Kloser (2004)
As much we always look forward to the very rare movie set in Antarctica, this one could have just as easily been based in a desert or in a jungle. The Antarctic became irrelevant to the theme of aliens fighting it out in a pyramid built deep in the ice by three ancient cultures. The eerie instrumental soundtrack music, similar to that of another spooky Antarctic movie, The Thing, contains a tune entitled Antarctica and likely the first and only musical track ever to be named BouvetŅya Island, the most isolated island on the planet, in the Southern Ocean. VarŹse Sarabande 302 066 605 2; www.avp-movie.com
SEA OF GLORY America’s Voyage of Discovery - The U.S. Exploring Expedition 1838-1842 by Nathaniel Philbrick, read by Dennis Boutsikaris (2003)
While CD audio books are otherwise not being listed in this music Discography, this 5-CD, 6-hour package is the exception, and is a superb invitation/teaser for reading the book by Philbrick. According to the cover notes, “The U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842 was one of the most ambitious undertakings of the nineteenth century. They discovered a new southern continent, which Wilkes would name Antarctica. They were the first Americans to reach the treacherous Columbia River; the first to chart dozens of newly discovered islands all across the Pacific. The story pivots around Charles Wilkes – a self-destructive dynamo who undermined his own prodigious feats by alienating his crew and officers, fighting battles with his sponsors, and jealously guarding what should have been a proud national legacy.”
Polar historian Laurence Kirwan described the U.S. Ex Ex as the worst prepared and most controversial expedition to sail the Antarctic seas (ref. Lonely Planet Antarctica). Although Antarctic exploration was only part of its mandate, it managed to follow 1250 miles of East Antarctic coastline, later known as Terre Adélie and Wilkes Land, making, arguably, the first east continental sighting just days before the French Expedition under Dumont d’Urville. CDs 2 & 3 cover the voyages to the South Shetland Islands and along the Adélie Coast, respectively. Penguin Audiobooks 80023-6; www.penguin.com; (See also FAIR WINDS AND A FOLLOWING SEA by The Boarding Party (2003) - The Old Peacock - in the following “Individual Antarctic songs” section.)
ANTARCTIC MOSAIC by Maurizio Bianchi (2003)
Italian composer of sonic dissonance, Bianchi has produced a 74-minute two-part collage and pastiche of electronic sounds and noises. According to the English translation of his Italian liner notes, “Being eager for immaculate spaces and for spheres of pure sentiment, I felt need to take inspiration from the so-called “frozen continent”, the unique place in which the human presence doesn’t completely contaminate the habitat yet. The hostile surroundings and the prohibitive temperatures rendered possible the perpetuation of the most uncontaminated and stimulating “frozen paradise”. Yes, this is the most appropriate term as probably, in the beginning, Antarctica was an immense park or paradise; but after the post-Flood upsetting events (from the autumn of 2370 BC onwards), when unexpectedly and suddenly the temperatures fell many centigrade degrees, all at once this continent became cold, turning into the present Antarctica. All of this is well emphasized in the first track called “Antarctic”, while in the second one, “Mosaic”, the listener’s mind is projected into the immediate future, when, after the decontamination process of human presence on the Earth, the temperatures will return milder. Maybe even the ex-“frozen continent” will be colonized in a peaceful and rational manner by the “New Earth’s” members, a new human society which will transform the whole planet into a wonderful Paradise, to eternal glory of He Who from the beginning proposed that this is how it must be. To all of you, current members of that future “New Earth”, a warm and enthusiastic “Have a good listening!” EEs’T Records 15MB015
VOSTOK by Craig Padilla (2002)
Padilla is a northern California-based electronic musician and performer with a preference for older analog synthesizers. Vostok is a relaxing, 51-minute single-track ambient instrumental. As with Antarctica, nothing much changes for long stretches of time, but also nothing stays the same. According to the liner notes, “Inspired by the mysterious depths of the hidden lake under Antarctica, VOSTOK is a haunting voyage into an unknown space filled with wonder and awe. Padilla masterfully crafts a subterranean soundworld, transforming electronic instruments into subtle abstract beauty that feels no less organic than inorganic, in this visionary longform ambient work.” Padilla’s own liner notes describe it as “music realized in contemplation of the inner stillness reflected by a distant, sub-glacial lake beneath Antarctica. Jewel-like and crystalline, yet dark, cool, and ancient the muse of Lake Vostok flowed through me like a resonant glacier. Now this unique, vibrant soundscape flows to you. I hope that you find the vision and sonic space as riveting and transforming as I have. Peace.”
Craig told us in 2007 that “I hope you are enjoying the musical atmosphere. I remember when I recorded that piece: I had just read a fascinating article in WIRED Magazine about how satellites had discovered an unknown lake underneath a lot of ice. According to the article, once it was discovered, scientists theorized that the hidden lake may contain many keys to the origins of life since the water was uncontaminated by our atmosphere for millions of years! So, they began to drill a hole down to the water when they suddenly realized that by doing so they’d expose the lake to our atmosphere, and so they stopped the drilling by a few meters of hitting the water!
It was a very interesting story, to say the least! (Also during that time, I had been listening to some long-form ambient music that was nice, but not too terribly interesting from a musical/long song stand-point.) So, a day or so later, I went into the recording studio to create a long-form ambient piece that could be heard during sleep, but it also had to hold the interest of the listener. In other words, I didn’t want to create “wallpaper ambient music”. I wanted to make music that wasn’t distracting so somebody could study or sleep with it on in the background, and at the same time it had to be interesting so that somebody could sit down and just listen to it from beginning to end and enjoy the experience (and I think I was quite successful!)
I recorded the track live in one take! The light wind sounds and heavy slow-moving “glacial bass lines” made me think of the article I had just read; and the rest is history! This track was unlike anything I was recording at the time, but I really enjoyed it and still do! (And thankfully, so does my wife!)” Spotted Peccary Music SPM-1401; www.craigpadilla.com
ANTARCTICA REVISITED by Mr. I, Gary Huntbatch and Anise Abdulla (2002)
British Columbia, Canada-based teacher and musician-entertainer Mr I (Yurgen Ilaender) has produced many CDs about geography and science for kids. He told us, “I have worked in Montessori pre-schools for nearly twenty years now. Antarctica is a popular Montessori theme. The children can study an environment not spoiled by man. Lots of wonderful things happen in the classroom. The songs came from several years of teaching the young children about Antarctica.” The CD includes 17 tracks with titles such as Land So Far Away, Antarctica Song, Seals, McMurdo Station, Food Chain, Crusty Krill and An Ice Rap. The CD was completely redone is 2007 and reissued in 2008 with new vocals and instrumental tracks under the title of ANTARCTICA. ANT-6 and ANT-7; www.childmusicmri.com (See also ALL COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD by Mr. I, Gary Q & the Rainbow Singers (2009) in the following “Individual Antarctic songs” section.)
ELEPHANT ISLAND by Adam Schabtach (2002)
There is an eye-catching cover photo of the bleak ice-coated island of Shackleton’s legendary 1914-16 Endurance Expedition, taken by a retired Rear Admiral of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The musical content comprises a single 66-minute synthesizer piece composed and recorded in a continuous improvisation. It’s pretty much just a long drawn out monotonic ambient dirge - not an awful lot going on there, which in its way may well be echoing the survival routine of much of the Expedition. ATOM CD 17; www.atomiccity.com
MARTY QUINN PRESENTS THE CLIMATE SYMPHONY by Marty Quinn (2001)
According to its Web site, “Design Rhythmics Sonification Research Lab works with scientists and museums to turn information and data into music. Why music? Not only do we love music, but it just so happens that music is composed of a very rich palette of qualities upon which data may be mapped and thereby perceived by the brain through the auditory channel. Music stimulates cognition and memory, and offers those who are blind or visually handicapped the opportunity to understand information and gain knowledge in new ways. By working with scientists who are shedding new light on our world, and the museums and centers who are helping to disseminate it, we seek to create innovative, pleasurable and accessible audio information presentation solutions for the public to “get it” by hearing…The DRSRL is a new direction in the synthesis between science, music, and the arts. We provide sonification services to enhance the scientific public outreach efforts for research groups throughout the world.” Its principal is New Hampshire-based computer scientist and composer/percussionist Marty Quinn.
The present CD is a four-part lecture presentation of “How 110,000 years of Earth’s ice core data was mapped into music”, including the 7½-minute Symphony itself, an arpeggiated synthesizer/percussion track that goes through its paces at increasing speed over time.
Ice core samples were taken from the Greenland Ice Sheet by a team led by Dr. Paul Mayewski, Director of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. Changing concentrations of eight major ions taken from the ice samples, over time periods, outlined the history of atmospheric circulation through changes in the continental ice sheets. Various ion concentration data values were then related to pitches and different instruments, as they varied time. Sun and ocean cycles, volcanic activity, the earth’s wobble, changing tilt and elliptical orbit were also introduced through other instruments with changing pitches and beat variations.
The Climate Symphony multi-media presentation was originally premiŹred in 2000 at The American Museum of Natural History in New York, where pre-show music derived from sonified radar scans from Antarctica’s Ross Sea Ice shelf were also presented. In 2000, it was also shown at the National Science Foundation in Washington by invitation of the Director’s Office of Public Affairs and the Office of Polar Programs and has had later presentations. The Climate Symphony is also included on Marty Quinn’s compilation CD of musical mappings of other natural data, MUSIC OF THE EARTH, SUN, PLANETS & SPACE – Volume I (2005); www.drsrl.com
TIME TRAVEL IS LONELY by John Vanderslice (2001)
Vanderslice is a San Francisco-based indie folk-rock artist/story teller and producer. His second CD is a concept album about his apparently fictional brother, who is a snow-trapped programmer at an Antarctic geology field camp. The nine diary entries in the liner notes reveal the mental decline of the brother, particularly after he loses his computer’s E-mail connection and hard drive to a virus. The songs, while not Antarctic in content, echo this state of regression, which ends with visions of Tiananmen Square and the sinking of the Kursk submarine. At first, the diarist is lucid: “I am not going to say it’s cold here, and I won’t tell you about the vast, infinite emptiness that draws every sad lonely feeling out of your breathless soul and drops it on the bluish snow, right at your polypropylene boots.” Later on, his mind wanders: “I am going crazy. I crawl out of my hut to scrape my windows, I can’t bear to be stuck in a white frosted box with nothing but the shortwave. The sun crests up around 9 pm and fades after an hour or so. Have I told you about whiteouts? USGS survival manual: a polar hazard where all horizon definition between land and sky, solid ground & coast, vanishes. We are in a whiteout. A little girl has been coming by at night, she lives at McMurdo Base, (which seems far) but she comes to talk she tells me my station is an ECHELON relay base. I need to look into this. She said I should smash it up! Ahh youth. I need to talk to you soon.” The CD cover has a striking but spooky drawing of a blue, black, white ocean frozen ocean scene with reddish sky with a silhouetted Endurance crushed in the ice. The CD itself is embossed with a crevassed modern van superimposed over the wreck of the Endurance. Barsuk Records bark17; www.johnvanderslice.com
WHALE CHASING MEN - Songs of Whaling in Ice and Sun by Harry Robertson (2001)
Harry Robertson (1923-1995) was a native Glaswegian who immigrated to Australia in 1952, worked during 1950-51 as an engineer with the Norwegian whaling fleet in the Antarctic and wintered over at South Georgia. He became a seminal influence in the Australian folk movement of the 1960s and made the above-titled LP in 1971. Through the efforts of his widow and friends, the LP was released on CD in 2001 by Australia’s National Screen & Sound Archive as its first folk reissue. Through spoken introductions and instrumental accompaniments, the songs and chanteys mince no words about the gruesome, hard scenes of the whaling experience and Antarctic references abound. The lyrics of the Antarctic track, The Antarctic Fleet, are:
“I went down south a-whaling, to the land of ice and snow, And eight-and-twenty pounds a month, was all I had to show, For being on a little ship like sardine in a can, And eating salty pork and beef, they stewed up in a pan.
Chorus: Heigh-ho! Whale-oh,
Wi’ the Antarctic fleet, I’ve got a drip upon me nose and I’m frozen in the
South Georgia is an island, it is a Whaling Base, And only men in search of whales, would go to such a place, No entertainment does exist unless you make home brew, Then we would have some singing and, we’d have some fighting too.
Our gunner came from Norway, like many of the crew, And others spoke wi’ Scottish tongues, as Whalers often do, But when the ship was closing in to make the bloody kill, The Scotsmen and Norwegians worked together with a will.
We sailed down to the Weddell Sea where the big Blues can be found, We chased between the icebergs and, we chased them round and round, And when they couldn’t run no more, and fought to draw their breath, Our gunners shot harpoons in them, till they floated still in death.
For months we sailed the ocean, and wearied with the toil, Of slaughter and of killing just to get that smelly oil, And when the savage storms blew and snow kept falling down, I often wished that I was back, in dear old Glasgow town.
It’s twenty years since I’ve been there, and I won’t go there again, I didn’t like the climate but, I liked the Whaling Men, And even in the sunshine now, when I walk along the street, I’ve got a drip upon me nose, and I’ve still got frozen feet.” ScreenSound Australia CD/SSA/WC0022; www.nfsa.afc.gov.au; (See also FOLKLORIC RECORDING: Folk Songs Sung by Harry Robertson and Don Henderson (1967) in the “Individual Songs” section.)
THE ICESTOCK 2001 PROJECT (2001)
The first music compilation disc from Antarctica includes live performances at the Coffee House and the Women’s Soirée at the U.S. McMurdo Station. Organized by G.W. Krauss, the project was a labour of love, undertaken and completed by volunteers. While the cold weather and dry air may cause numb fingers and warped musical instruments, Icestock has now become an annual musical festival on New Year’s Day. The inaugural CD manages to cover a lot of ground, or should we say, icy terrain, through various styles over the 24 tracks. Information available at: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEUSCHWABENLAND by Allerseelen (2000)
Allerseelen is the musical project of veteran Austria-based musician Gerhard Petak (a.k.a. Gerhard Hallstatt and Kadmon) and live performances include other musicians. The sound on this record is a dark electronic/industrial rock and the largely instrumental tracks are infused with a militaristic and heavily percussive beat. The CD has a cover of the outline of Antarctica and is named for the part of East Antarctica originally claimed by Norway and then claimed by Germany in 1939, named after their expedition ship, Schwabenland (Swabia). The Germans undertook a large-scale aerial photography program and became notorious for dropping darts inscribed with swastikas, over their flight paths. That era also has also been associated with a mythology of secret bases and Antarctic UFO developments. Aorta AORCD05; The music was remastered and released in 2008 as a limited-edition double vinyl record set, with four additional songs. Gerhard told us in 2011: “I was interested in this concept and started to record songs inspired by the topic.” Ahnstern 7; www.myspace.com/allerseelen
BLUE SUBMARINE NO. 6 - AONOROKUGO - Original Soundtrack by the Thrill (2000)
Originally the name of a Japanese manga print comic book series, Blue Submarine No. 6 became a four part video animation TV program in 1998 and was reported to be in planning for a live-action movie. Based in the near future when the oceans have flooded most of the earth’s coastlines, the series’ villain/ rogue scientist has a base of operations at the South Pole and is trying to induce a polar switch with the aid of the South Pole’s geothermal energy, in order to teach his brand of humanity to mankind. War later ensues on Antarctica, with the good guys on Blue Submarine No. 6, part of a peacekeeping force, leading the way to confront the enemy. Antarctica, meanwhile, has been transformed into the tropics. The series finally ends with the pole shift stopped and an uneasy truce for the sake of humanity. Japanese big band/rock group the Thrill, formed in 1990, provides some very energetic music for the series. Toshiba-EMI Futureland TYVY-10036; www.thethrill.info
PENGUINS ON THE MOON by Sack Trick (2000)
The British Sack Trick is a revolving group of comedic musicians, in the vein of the late 1960s Bonzo Dog Band. This CD is a heavy metal/music hall/rock musical about a group of penguins in Antarctica who take a spaceship to the moon. However, the moon is not the tropical paradise they imagined and tiring of moon dust cheese and anxious for a meal of fish, “our intrepid explorers returned to the only place they ever truly called home, having proved themselves to be real lunar chicks.” An entertaining and well played musical trip, with illustrated cartoon lyrics, from a group of crazies. The CD was reissued in 2009 on its 9½ year anniversary and Chris Dale, the album’s narrator, bassist/guitarist told us in 2009 about the reason for the original CD: “The motivation was at first something quite random. We wanted to do an abstract concept album, and thought up two themes, penguins and the moon, just because they didn’t normally match. But then we got quite involved in the whole plot and concept and did a lot of background reading into both penguins and the moon. What started off as a bit of a joke, went quite deep in the end.” ORG 212; Raw Power Records RP-017; www.sacktrick.com
VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY Dedicated To The Memory Of Robert Falcon Scott by D. E. Farmer/Soulspace Music (2000)
Arizona-based composer and musician Farmer has recently issued this CD of contemporary, romantic instrumental synthesizer music as his score to an imagined movie about Scott's 1911-12 tragic South Pole journey. “What a marvellous story, and what a testament to the indomitable human spirit! I hope that the music somehow can act as a memorial of sorts to Robert and Kathleen Scott.” The 11 tracks include titles such as Entering the Ice Pack, Winter at McMurdo Sound, Tea at Mabel Beardsley's, Beat the Norwegians: The Race is On!, Arrival at the South Pole: January 1912, Kathleen Scott's Theme. mp3.com 39391 and 167618; www.soundclic.com
WHITE OUT by Johannes Schmoelling (2000)
Schmoelling is a former member of Tangerine Dream, an internationally successful German recording and touring synthesizer/electronic music group formed in the late 1960s. The current CD is a remixed and expanded version of the 1990 original. The 10 melodic instrumental tracks include titles such as White Out, Navigator’s Chatter, Icewalk, A Great Continent, A long Way Home. In his web site, Schmoelling explains his idealistic intuition that electronic music can create a spacious open landscape via the detour of the Antarctic.
“The sounds that I have used and changed will in no way deny their origin. They are noises; the sound of a sonar, the crackling and squeaking of radio sets, machines, the far-away screeching of birds – and if we close our eyes, then with each noise we immediately connect to some image of a landscape or surroundings. For me, this was a reason to compose entire noise passages – a kind of foundation out of which the music actually is born.
In a scientific book on the Antarctic, I read of an optical phenomenon, which occurs under certain conditions of temperature and of the air: WHITE OUT. It is a loss of space sensation. The white erases space, sky and earth flow into each other, a space without depth and without horizon is created.
Maybe a concept album is nothing else but a voyage, a departure to another place, which slowly uncovers itself, a shore that comes closer and piles up as a mountain of ice. Arrival, first announced over the radio, the whirr of machine noises, entertainment music filling up the crewmen’s room.
Suddenly (where on the map appeared just an immense white spot), there is firm ground under your feet and you see: garbage, food throwouts, tin cans, as if to be preserved for eternity, discarded oil residue and a tire rut leading to the horizon, where an industrial complex arises, and then unconsciously, the feeling that here, at the very end of the world, a war announces itself, that the machines are already in position, that the fronts are lined up, and when you look around, there is the oldest landscape in the world (a war with the purpose of eradicating the history of nature: WHITE OUT.)
As I finalized the work on the album, Reinhold Messner and Arved Fuchs departed for the Antarctic. Not like before (as was still done in the last century) to remove the white spots from the map nor with the aim (as at the turn of the century) to hoist the flag of every which country, but solely because of the landscape itself, purely because of its being such and nothing else (at the present time).
And I thought that as a child, even in my wildest dreams, it never occurred to me that just taking a walk could one day become a political act.” Viktoriapark VP 00-1; www.johannesschmoelling.de
This CD is a solo project of Briton Kev Fox, who explains in his web site: “The three titles on ‘A Distant Memory of Home’ were composed specifically for an event that took place in June 2000. Adelie Penguin 1993:207 is now a permanent exhibit in Cheltenham Museum as an interesting piece of Antarctic history. It was brought to England as a stuffed specimen by Edward Wilson, returning from his first Antarctic Expedition in 1904, but for many years he stood on a window ledge in Shurdington Village School. He was donated by the Wilson family, as a memento of the local hero, when he failed to return from the fatal attempt on the South Pole with Captain Scott in 1912.
Between June 2nd and June 4th 2000 the Penguin revisited the Village for a weekend of celebrations and over the three days I performed the tracks on ‘A Distant Memory of Home’ under the watchful eye of the penguin himself, in the 14th century village church.
Intending to portray a longing for the far-off icy wilderness of Antarctica the title piece was recorded live on Saturday 3rd June. The two remaining tracks were written to represent the penguin in his element (On the Ice Floe) and in his display case (In the Museum Case) and were recorded live in Jaguar Sound Studios, using only sources and themes from the title track.
The three pieces move through the freezing winds and seas of the South Polar regions and as the memories fade into the dusty solitude of a glass case, the sounds of the white continent still echoing in the distance.”
THE BARRIER SILENCE by 90ľ South (1999)
The CD title was taken from Dr. Edward Wilson’s poem of the same name, written during Scott’s Terra Nova South Pole Antarctic Expedition of 1910-13. The CD was recorded in a studio at Cheltenham, U.K., home of Dr. Wilson and has as its cover a Wilson painting of Hut Point, headquarters of Scott’s first Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04. The back cover has a photo of one of the motor sledges used on the Terra Nova Expedition. A final Antarctic reference is included in the liner notes with a photo of Admiral Byrd’s airplane, Floyd Bennett, landing at his base, Little America at the Bay of Whales. The two instrumental Antarctic tracks on the CD include Hut Point and Cape Crozier, the latter a reference to the destination of the 1911 mid-winter polar journey described by Apsley Cherry-Garrard in his famous book, The Worst Journey in the World. The music, by Kev Fox, is a guitar/synthesizer/percussion-based ambient sound. Ochre Records OCH014LCD; www.ochre.co.uk/90south
SUBANTARCTICA – Atmospheric Works Volume One by Rudy Adrian (1999)
Rudy Adrian is a Dunedin, New Zealand-based ambient/electronic musician and sound engineer, who has made independent albums as well as soundtracks and designs for television productions. Subantarctica, originally produced in 1990 and re-released in the present extended form in 1999, was part of a national multi-media project, Art in the Sub-Antarctic, for the Southland Art Gallery & Museum at Invercargill, N.Z. This involved many artists going to two of the subantarctic islands claimed by New Zealand, Campbell Island and Auckland Islands. As official composer, Rudy spent a week on the uninhabited islands, which are World Heritage sites, have rich biodiversity and are said to be home to half the world’s seabirds. The track titles for the peaceful, ambient music include Winds from Antarctica, Adrift, Shining Sea, Afterwards, Clouds over the Horizon, Cloud Formations and Dreams of SubAntarctica. RAH001; www.rudyadrian.magix.net
THE CENTURY IN SOUND (1999)
In this set of recordings of actual speeches or people reminiscing about events from 1901-1999, taken from the British Library National Sound Archive, there is an excerpted 1.54 minute recitation by Ernest Shackleton titled 1909 Expedition to the South Pole. The original 3.48 minute recording was made on June 23, 1909, in which Shackleton very briefly outlines the British Antarctic (Nimrod) Expedition of 1907-09, which he led and which was the first to scale Mount Erebus and send men to the South Magnetic Pole. Shackleton and three others came within 112 miles of the South Pole itself, before conditions made them turn back. This excerpt ends with Shackleton saying the British flag has flown over both the North and South Magnetic Poles, followed by the main theme from Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1. NSA CD 8; (See also the compilation SINFONIA ANTARTICA/SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC (2009) in the “Classical Antarctica: Ralph Vaughan Williams” section.)
FROST 79ľ 40’ by Andreas Ammer, F. M. Einheit, Pan Sonic and Gry (1999)
This is a 1998 live recording at the German Stadttheater Oberhausen and is a musical and spoken (in German and English) presentation of Robert Scott’s diary from his polar expedition and the tragic return attempt after his team reached the South Pole in 1912. The recording takes its title from the latitude of their final resting place. Ammer is a German freelance writer, television journalist and radio and stage playwright. Einheit (Frank Martin Strauss) is a German electronic musician and percussionist who has issued solo CDs as well as collaborations with others. The 25 tracks, of varying length, are backed by various electronic and industrial soundscapes providing a suitably bleak and dark musical backing to the narration and singing. F. M. Einheit told us in 2009 about the reason for the production: “We were curious why people do such things in order to bring fame home to the fatherland. Funny idea. There will be a re-release in spring 2010.” FM 4.5.1 9185-2; Available from iTunes; www.fmeinheit.org; www.myspace.com/fmeinheitfmeinheit
ANTARTICA by Gale Revilla (1999)
Gale Revilla is a prolific Nevada-based composer and synthesizer artist with over 20 spiritual New Age CDs in her catalogue. This one includes titles such as Horizons, Crystal Storms, The Lost City, Ice Goddess, Antartica, Aurora Australis, Adelie Coast and Leviathan Temple. Her assistant informed us that “Gale had studied about Ancient Civilizations from many books for decades. One of her favorite topics was Atlantis and the Ancient land of Lemuria. Those were the foundations that motivated her to compose the ‘Antartica’, ‘Lost Continents’ and the ‘Mystic Lands’ albums. Another of her favorites in Ancient Civilizations and Empires was, Ancient Egypt. This brought on her motivation to compose her award winning album Series, ‘Pharaohs’. Another album that deals with the Dark Age Empires and Dragons is her album, ‘Draconis’. Her Native American albums deal with her ancestors and their dying ancient language. So three were composed in dedication to her ancestors of centuries past: ‘Day of the Wolf’, ‘Liquid Visions’ and ‘Whispering Winds on the Red Road.’” Morning Star Records; www.galerevilla.com
ANTARCTICA SUITE by Wendy Mae Chambers (1999)
Wendy Mae Chambers is a New Jersey-based musician who visited the Antarctic Peninsula in 1999 as a tourist and subsequently recorded a CD of piano solo compositions inspired by her trip. The 13 instrumental tracks, which Wendy Mae said were modelled after Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, include titles descriptive of the wildlife and sights she saw, such as Blue Ice, Penguin Rookery, Albatross, Waltz of the Krill, Chinstrap Penguins, Humpback Whales, Weddell Seals and Skua. The chiming chordal and percussive sounds of her piano are very evocative of the various images she sets out to portray. www.wendymae.com
ANTARCTIC ARRIVAL - a Tribute to a Frozen Land by Valmar Kurol and Marc-André Bourbonnais (1999)
This Montreal, Canada-produced CD contains ten thematic instrumental pieces in New Age/light rock/classical styles, based on Kurol’s three visits to Antarctica in the 1990s. Titles include Antarctic Arrival, Never Mind the Icebergs, Flight of the Albatross, Antarctica World Beat Theme, Underwater Waltz, Penguin Stroll, Seekers of the Pole, Aurora Australis, March of the Glaciers, White Winter Curtain. There are also bonus tracks with vocal renditions of two of the instrumentals. The CD is available from email@example.com, www.antarcticarrival.com, or by download on iTunes and Amazon.com.
THE JUPITER MENACE - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Synergy (1998)
The Jupiter Menace was a 1984 American film documentary of questionable science, narrated by George Kennedy, about the devastating effects of the planet Jupiter on Earth during planetary alignments. The soundtrack of synthesizer music is by Larry Fast, a U.S.-based synthesizer musician, composer and electronics designer who has recorded under his project name Synergy. He has also worked with many international acts such as Peter Gabriel, Yes and Hall & Oates. The CD has two short synthesizer instrumental Antarctica-related tracks, The Mystery of Piri Reis and Return to Admiral Byrd’s Camp. Piri Reis was an Ottoman-Turkish admiral whose 1513 world map has been alleged to show part of the Antarctic Peninsula coastline. The program hints that the only way the coast under the present ice cap could have been known was if the continent had been free of ice at the time the map was made. It also implied that the periodic build up of ice at Admiral Byrd’s Camp at his 1928 Little America Base, i. e. the South Pole region, would lead to a toppling and shift of the globe. Chronicles 314 558 047-2
ANTARCTICA by Douglas Quin (1998)
This is a CD of natural sounds from the field produced by Douglas Quin for the Wild Sanctuary series of wildlife recordings. Stereo/surround microphones were used to record Weddell and leopard seals, orcas, and emperor and Adélie penguins. Of special note are the creaks and groans heard from the Canada Glacier and Wind Harps from the Taylor Valley. The liner notes say that “To create this kind of magic with natural sound takes time, enormous patience, perseverance, and a keen compositional sense to make lyrical the material heard on this album. Sounds from the Antarctic present the ultimate test.” Miramar 09006-23113-2 (See also THE DREAMS OF GAIA by various artists (1999) and MUSICWORKS 69 (1997) in the “Individual Songs” section.)
ANTARCTIC by Mónica X (1998) (Vinyl LP only)
Mónica X is a veteran Spanish DJ and music promoter/performer who has garnered European and international success with her touring. This is one of her earliest singles records and has the three tracks, Antarctic, No Frost (Extreme Cold Version) and Antarctic Melody. Beginning with frosty winds and chants of “cold”, the electronic disco music is surprisingly subdued for the genre. The record cover has a catchy purple/blue hue with a photo of icebergs, overseen by a pair of staring, icy eyes. Monica X told us in 2008 that the reason for the Antarctic record was that “this place is so far from Spain and we thought about this concept one summer with hot weather, so we did it to refresh our lives.” Dixland Records MX DIX 012; www.djmonicax.com
TRAVELLERS TALES FROM ANTARCTICA by David & Phil Massey (1998/1996)
This British CD of instrumental synthesizer New Age music is part of a collection of Relaxation, Ambient and World Music. The liner notes explain: “Perhaps the most awe inspiring region on earth – Antarctica. Her beauty, mystery, and presence has called to adventurers for eons and yet she still remains the most unexplored continent on or planet. This spiritually expansive Travellers Tale will unfold visions of space, grandeur and virgin beauty through a magnificent season of superb musical observation.” Some of the track titles include, Ice Bergs, Vinson Massif, Alone at the Pole, Glacier, Penguin, The Coldest Place on Earth. Northstar Music NSMCD 146; www.northstarmusic.co.uk
THE PEBBLE AND THE PENGUIN – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1995)
This is the soundtrack for a feature-length cartoon tale, directed by Don Bluth, with voices by Martin Short, James Belushi, Tim Curry and Annie Golden. A shy Adélie penguin must present his potential mate with the perfect pebble but is thrown into the icy ocean by an evil rival. He is captured and caged on a freighter and with the help of a streetsmart fellow penguin, they escape and travel back to Antarctica before the mating ceremony starts. The songs are by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman. The first part of the disc has the songs with orchestrated vocal tracks and the second half is largely instrumental, with backing by the Irish Film Orchestra and The Irish Chamber Choir, prominent musical organizations, both locally and internationally. Although there were no standout hit songs from the movie, the CD is a very pleasant listening experience. Kid Rhino R2 71995
ANTARTIDA by John Cale (1995)
This is a musical soundtrack to a Spanish-American film by Manuel Huerga, not so much about Antarctica as a place but rather, as a state of mind. Cale is a former member of the rock group Velvet Underground. The music consists of short, sparse, haunting, melodic themes - Antarctica seems perfectly suited to be a source of inspiration for minimalist composition. Les Disques du Crépuscule TWI-1008
The theme song for this soundtrack has its origin in a Cale song, Antarctica Starts Here found on his solo recording PARIS 1919 (1973). Reprise/Warner Bros. Records Inc. 2131-2
A newer version of this song is also found on Cale’s PARIS S’EVEILLE (1992), a collection of his soundtracks and music for ballet. MASO CD 90042
A live solo vocal/piano performance by John Cale of this song, recorded at the Zeche Bochum club in Bochum, Germany in March 1984 was released on the double CD album JOHN CALE AND BAND LIVE (2010); MIG 90302 2CD/ LC 23370.
The same song, Antarctica Starts Here, was covered in a 1992 mini CD, CANDY ON THE CROSS, by David J. MCA Records MCADM-54424
Austin, Texas-based indie rockers Okkervil River also recorded Antarctica Starts Here on their album of cover tunes, GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES MIXTAPE (2007), which was only available as a free download on their band Website at release time. www.myspace.com/okkervilriver.com; www.okkervilriver.com
ANTARCTIC EP by Static Resonance (1995) (Vinyl LP only)
This solo record project of Netherlands-based Johanz Westerman has the coldly numbing electronic/techno tracks Cold Finger (Live at Antarctic), Message from Antarctic and Theme of Thee Iceberg. Prime Records Prime 040
ANTARCTICA by Ian Tamblyn (1994)
Tamblyn is an Ottawa-area Canadian pop-folk artist and currently an Arctic tour lecturer. This recording is associated with the CBC radio documentary, Notes from the Bottom of the World, based on his trip to McMurdo Sound. The instrumental music is a combination of New Age/folk-rock/jazz influences played with crystalline, vibrant instrumentation, at times including penguin brays and Weddell seal squeals. Titles include The Weddell Planet, Erebus Ice Caves, Out on the Ice Fields, Ed’s Still Diving. One especially memorable song is The Penguin came from Pittsburgh. Attractive emperor penguin cover picture. North Track Records NTCD3. In the U.S. this CD is available as NorthSound NSCD 29532; www.tamblyn.com
ANTARCTICA by Richie Beirach (recorded 1985, issued 1994)
Beirach is an American jazz artist who improvises on elements of eclectic modern music. This solo piano Antarctica Suite, according to the liner notes, “unlike the musical pablum that assaults us daily, isn’t programmed to make you consume or conform. Only feel.” Titles include The Ice Shelf, Deception Island, and Neptune's Bellows. ECD 22086-2
ANTARCTICA - The Last Wilderness by Medwyn Goodall (1993)
Goodall, who lives in Cornwall, England, has recorded many CDs for the Dutch New Age music label, Oreade Music. It’s a pleasure to hear one of the few all-Antarctic CDs we have come across. There are six extended synthesizer and other instrumental pieces with titles such as All White, Endless Emptiness and Snow Kingdom Forever. Dreamy, peaceful music and gentle to the ears but we’re not entirely convinced we've been transported to Antarctica through the music. Mar 3812
POLAR SHIFT - A Benefit for Antarctica by various artists (1991)
A compilation of New Age instrumental and vocal music dedicated to the conservation of Antarctica. Performers include a number of single-name artists such as Vangelis, Yanni, Enya and Kitaro, along with ET's John Tesh. A very enjoyable, soothing palette of sounds. Informative liner notes give references for further reading. Private Music BMG2083-2-P
DEVOTION - THE BEST OF YANNI by Yanni (1997)
The instrumental Song for Antarctica, specially recorded for the previously-mentioned Polar Shift CD, is also found on several of Yanni's discs, including this hits compilation. Private Music 01005-82153-2
NUNATAK GONGAMUR by Thomas Köner (1990)
Köner is an internationally active award-winning German audio-visual media artist/electronic composer. His first CD, out of print and unavailable commercially, was an ambient collection of 11 untitled pieces that were based on Robert Scott’s tragic South Pole Expedition of 1911-12. The CD cover has an old photo of a sledge team with their dogs and ponies and a copy of a few of Scott’s last written words. According to reviewer Ned Raggett in the Web-based All Music Guide, “Köner's composition falls somewhere between a requiem for the loss and waste of the expedition and a haunting, extremely inhuman evocation of the endless snow and ice fields of Antarctica that the core members of the expedition struggled through and died in. The swathes of deep echo and occasional crumbling rhythm create an aura of paranoid fascination, at once weirdly soothing and increasing the nervous tension every chance it gets. When Köner adds variety to the music, the effect can almost be shocking - consider the sudden distorted whines on the third and fifth tracks, which with its slight echo treatment and the rumbling background moans could almost be a disturbing cry for help. Other times, tones barely lurk in the mix, only on the edge of hearing, like being caught in an endless cavern where something curious hides in the dim distance. The killer touch is the use of space throughout the album - silences of various lengths maintaining the air of mysterious threat.” This is a powerful description of music that consists of electronically treated gongs and cymbals, but the CD is a captivating soundtrack for desolation. BAR 002; www.koener.de; www.thomaskoner.com
ANTARCTICA by Vangelis (1983)
Synthesizer music from Koreyoshi Kurahara’s film of the same name (the Japanese name is Nankyoku Monogatari). It told the story of the 1958 first Japanese Antarctic Expedition, which ended up stranding a pack of 15 sled dogs on the continent over a winter season, two of which had survived when the team returned a year later. Best song is the title track, Theme from Antarctica, which still remains the definitive Antarctic mood music. Nothing else from the eight tracks on the disc matches this magnificent throbbing and pulsating piece, which is the perfect accompaniment for sailing down the pristine Lemaire Channel or Gerlache Strait. Many amateur videos of the Antarctic have probably borrowed this theme for background music. Polygram/Polydor 815732-2. An original Japanese issue of the CD (Polydor 3112-22) has the classic photo of two dogs on the cover while newer issues have small silver or blue outlines of Antarctica. Rare and pricey limited-edition, bootleg or promo CDs of Antarctica may occasionally appear for sale on Web auction sites, which contain the full score of 24 tracks, which has not been commercially released. These discs include further variations of the main theme, as well as shorter soundscape interludes and a few
longer pieces. One of these also has two Suites of shortened track compilations and even a disco dance remix of the title track, with howling dogs in the background. Arkhan Records issued a limited edition of 50 CDs of the 24 tracks in 2001. In 2013, the original CD was issued in a special Japanese K2HD mastering edition. Polydor 8157322K
THE THING by Ennio Morricone (1982)
This is the soundtrack to the popular Antarctic science fiction movie of the same name by John Carpenter, in which a buried alien is thawed after being discovered in the Antarctic ice. It comes back to life at an Antarctic base and is able to take on the appearance of the resident dogs and people. Morricone has composed many highly regarded film themes but this orchestral and electronic noodling, appropriate in the film, is less interesting as stand-alone CD music. VarŹse Sarabande VSD-5278.
The soundtrack from the original 1951 movie, The Thing From Another World, on which the 1982 movie was based, was released for the first time on the CD THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2005), FSM Volume 8, No. 1. It was reconstructed from composer Dimitri Tiomkin’s own acetate copies of the soundtrack since the original master tapes were no longer in existence. The booklet notes state that “Tiomkin never again worked in the genre, and reportedly carried an antipathy towards this project – believing that he was at his best creating beautiful melodies rather than such bellicose sounds.” The 1951 movie setting was an Arctic, rather than Antarctic base and was adapted from a 1938 short story by John W. Campbell, Who Goes There?.
VIRUS – Original Soundtrack Recording (1980)
In the Japanese-produced movie Virus, a plane crash releases a deadly virus that destroys mankind, with the exception of a group of scientists in Antarctica. They must find a cure and save themselves from infection, as well as from a nuclear catastrophe. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, but featuring many American and international stars – Glenn Ford, George Kennedy, Edward James Olmos, Robert Vaughn, Chuck Connors, Bo Svenson and Olivia Hussey. The movie soundtrack includes songs largely written by Teo Macero, performed by the London Philharmonic orchestra and numerous prominent musicians such as Janis Ian, Chick Corea, Larry Coryell and David Sanborn. As stand-alone music, however, the pleasant musical styles, ranging from symphonic to pop and jazz fusion/funk, don’t convey anything coldly Antarctic or menacingly viral. FJCM-011
IO SONO MURPLE by Murple (Vinyl LP - 1974) (CD reissues - 1992 & 2002)
Italian prog-rock group Murple’s only recording (I am Murple) was a concept album of largely keyboard-led instrumentals, with a few vocal tracks, that tells the tale of an Antarctic penguin who leaves home looking for paradise and winds up, apparently happily, in a zoo. The colourful CD booklet features drawings of icebergs and a mass of penguins. Mellow Records MMP 121 (1992 reissue) and Akarma AK 1035 (2002 reissue); www.murple.it
LET US NOT FORGET – A Tribute to the Phonograph - Historic Speech Recordings (1973) (Vinyl LPs only)
This is a three-LP set of original Edison Cylinder Recordings of various famous figures such as Thomas Edison, American presidents Taft (speaking in 1908 about Enforced Insurance of Bank Deposits, Rights of Labor, a topic currently appropriate) and Teddy Roosevelt, singer Sophie Tucker, Babe Ruth and others, from recordings of the early 1900s. Included is the 4-minute track Lt. Ernest Shackleton: Journey to the South Pole in 1907. The record label indicates it was “recorded in the Antarctic”. We have not verified the recording and assume this is the same Shackleton Nimrod Expedition track mentioned previously above in this section in VOICES OF HISTORY 2 - Arts, Science & Exploration (2005). Yorkshire Records 27026
QUICK, BEFORE IT MELTS - Music From The MGM Motion Picture - Composed and Conducted by David Rose And Other Selections by David Rose and His Orchestra (1965) (Vinyl LP only)
This 1965 film, directed by Delbert Mann, featured George Maharis, Robert Morse, Norman Fell and Michael Constantine. It was a comedy based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Philip Benjamin, following his visit to Antarctica as a NY Times reporter during the International Geophysical Year. Lonely Antarctic researchers, women on The Ice, a reporter, a photographer and a defecting Russian scientist were the ingredients for romance and intrigue.
According to the album cover notes, “Quick, Before It Melts is an uproarious farce comedy. Its fast-paced action, romantic and scientific, takes place above and below the frigid wastes of the South Pole and makes for one of the most hilarious motion picture hits of the year…Adding to the general hilarity are Milton Fox, an irresistible, scene-stealing penguin and a seal who never forgives an attempt to take his temperature in the interest of scientific research. Quick, Before It Melts is everything the title suggests, a fresh, spontaneous comedy in the most unusual setting ever filmed.”
The recording has four short instrumental tracks from the film: Theme from ‘Quick Before It Melts’ (The Happy Penguin), Run, Fiddle, Run, Now That I Know and The Stripper, composed by David Rose, a prominent Emmy award-winning American composer and orchestra leader who wrote themes for many well-known TV series. He also worked with Red Skelton’s television comedy show for over 20 years. The instrumental track, The Stripper, one of Rose’s best known pieces, had been written in 1958 and became a #1 hit on Billboard’s Top 100 listing in 1962. According to the LP notes, “As it appears in the film, The Stripper melody sounds as though it were written specifically for this screen presentation, and the combination of film comedy and musical background make it one of the funniest sequences in the entire production.” SE-4285
THE SOUNDS OF ANTARCTICA by Hank Curth (1965)
New Zealand’s Kiwi Records was a related activity of A.H. & A.W. Reed, book publishers and began producing records to supplement its publications. According to the New Zealand Government’s online history site, “Under the Kiwi label more than just songs and music were recorded. In the 1960s people experimenting with new home hi-fi gear bought almost anything - recordings of bird songs, steam trains and even the sound of ice in Antarctica. Musicolour products such as The Sounds of Antarctica were early examples of multimedia publishing – a record package with colour books. - Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd.”. According to the foreword, this Musicolor book “brings together a collection of color pictures and sounds which contain the essence of Antarctica and which will bring back memories to those who have served there. It is also hoped that it will help to give their friends an appreciation of conditions on that vast continent where so many scientists, servicemen and technicians from many nations all over the world assemble each year to continue their explorations.” The book was based on an idea by Lt. John Arthur Jaminet and was written by and many of the photos taken by Hank Curth, a Roving Reporter for the American NBC broadcasting company, who had logistics help provided by the U.S. Naval Support Force. Curth briefly describes bases in the McMurdo Sound area, the work of icebreakers, local activities by “men in Antarctica today and yesterday” as well as their dogs and describes various landscapes and wildlife. The 17-minute mini LP record that is part of the package was recorded by Curth and includes sounds of penguins, seals and skuas, an icebreaker making its way through ice, creaking of shore ice, airplane take-offs and flights and an interview with a New Zealander about huskies. Kiwi KM-3; www.nzhistory.net.nz
’TIS A STORY THAT SHALL LIVE FOR EVER by Stanley Kirkby (1913) (78 rpm single only)
Stanley Kirkby (born James Baker) ( was a British baritone, who recorded under several pseudonyms and was reported to have issued the largest number of records in Britain over 1900-1930, including the WWI hit in the U.S., It’s a Long Way to Tipperary. In 1913 he recorded ’Tis a Story That Shall Live For Ever, a song with orchestra and recitation in memory of Robert Scott and his fallen comrades in their ill-fated 1910-12 South Pole journey. The words were written by Lawrence Wright and Paul Pelham. The flipside of the Zonophone disc, mentioned below, is another sung by Kikby and the same authors, the melodramatic Be British. The lyrics of ’Tis a Story are: “What a glorious tale again is told, Of heroism grand, Of British men with British hearts, Out in the Great White Land, A band of heroes, brave and rue, See standing, side by side, Amidst eternal ice and snow, All faithful till they died.
Chorus: ’Tis a story that shall live for ever, As long as the world shall be, Of the men who died side by side, Over the frozen sea; All honour to the Sons of England, Inscribed shall be each name, In letters bold of brightest gold, On the Nation’s Scroll of Fame. ’Tis a Fame. What a glorious lesson to be learn’d, The mem’ry shall remain, Their great and noble sacrifice, Can never be in vain, And tho’ no sculptured monument, Can mark their resting place, Their deeds have rais’d a monument that time cannot efface. Chorus: ’Tis a story that shall live forever, As long as the world shall be, Of the men who died side by side, Over the frozen sea; All honour to the Sons of England, Inscribed shall be each name, In letters bold of brightest gold, On the Nation’s Scroll of Fame. ’Tis a Fame.
Recitation after second verse: I can see a sturdy little ship, Breasting the ocean wave, I can see a little band of men, Eager, strong and brave, I can see the Ice-bound coast line, Of that grim and silent shore, And then the icy desert, Where the deadly blizzards roar, The last farewells are spoken, For some of them must go, Into the unknown perils, Of a wilderness of snow. And then a blank as months go by, And who can tell the tale. Of how that gallant band of men - Succeeded, but to fail, Of one who bore up ’till the last, Then left without “Goodbye!”. Just the words - “I’m going out”, Then staggered out – to die, No wailing at their cruel fate, No counting up the cost, But just the simple message left – “We took the risk – and lost!”
Chorus: ’Tis a story that shall live forever, As long as the world shall be, Of the men who died side by side, Over the frozen sea; All honour to the Sons of England, Inscribed shall be each name, In letters bold of brightest gold, On the Nation’s Scroll of Fame. ’Tis a Fame.” 23903 Edison Blue Amberol; also on Zonophone Record 1050, X-2-42486, manufactured by The Gramophone Co. Ltd., Sydney, NSW, Australia; www.cylinders.library.ucsb.edu; Ref: Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, p. 578. Another version of this song was recorded by Robert Carr, a British baritone who was a contemporary of Stanley Kirkby. Record not verified. KAL E 2071 5; Pioneer 124; (See also SINFONIA ANTARTICA/SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC (2009) in the “Classical Antarctica: Ralph Vaughan Williams” section for recordings of this song.)
THE BOUNDING BOUNDER aka ON THE BOUNDING SEA or THE SOUTH POLE by Harry Lauder (1909 and 1910) (78 rpm singles only)
Sir Harry Lauder (1870-1950) was a Scottish singer and humourous entertainer of the early 20th century music hall era and achieved fame internationally and toured the U. S. 22 times over 3 decades. His song, The Bounding Bounder, written by Lauder and Randolph King, is a sea ditty that sandwiches between two sung choruses, accompanied by an orchestra, the first-person narrated story of Seaman Lauder meeting Shackleton in a pub and going on an Antarctic expedition with him, which apparently at least reaches Antarctica in two of the recorded versions. Today, the word “bounder” no longer conveys the aura of snooty Victorian class reproach that it once did, in a family of similar pejoratives such as cad, rogue, knave and scoundrel. The 1910 Edison British version is a longer, more complete version of the story than the 1909 Victor/Everest versions, which were reported to have been recorded Dec. 12 at Camden, New Jersey, U. S. A. 1909 recording: Victor 70010; Victor 55121-B; Everest Scala 883; 1910 British recording: 12119 Edison Amberol; www.victor.library.ucsb.edu; www.archive.org; www.cylinders.library.ucsb.edu
A third version of this song with longer story similar to the 1910 Edison version, indicated as being recorded on Sept. 30, 1909 as Zono X42940, is available on a compilation CD of Harry Lauder songs issued by W. J. Clark, FOO’ TH’ NOO (2002). WINDYRIDGE Windy CDR11; www.musichallcds.com
The Victor version of the song is available on another compilation CD of Harry Lauder songs issued by Mark Best, OLD TIME VICTROLA MUSIC PRESENTS SIR HARRY LAUDER #1 (1996); www.earlyrecordings.com
Individual songs entitled Antarctica or about The Ice also appear on the following commercially or privately available discs. The styles range from New Age to thrash/heavy metal:
AXÉ ANTARCTICA by various artists (undated)
This is a Brazilian CD that seems to be a promo for Brazil’s Antarctica brand of beer (cerveza), with its iconic logo of two standing Adélie penguins facing each other on the front cover. Other penguins in the liner notes are jazzing it up with musical instruments in tropical scenes. The axé/soca-style music is irresistibly hot hot hot. Alive Records
DIMENSIONATA by Cymphonic (2013)
Cymphonic is the ambient music solo project of The Hague, Netherlands-based electronic musician Stanley Swinkels. His fourth album has the deep and mysterious-sounding 7-minute track Lake Vostok, named for Antarctica’s best known and largest subglacial lake, which itself was named for Russia’s nearby base, Vostok Station. Stanley explained the making of the track for us: “I usually start a track by experimenting with some basic layers and then tune in into the atmosphere of this initial experiment. In this track I wanted to use some female voices which represent for me dark, hidden sirens of the waters. By imagining and associating what this track evokes while creating it, the dark, cold and icy underwater vibe made me think of an area such as Lake Vostok. I searched for pictures and read about this Lake and then I chose a fitting title: this somewhat mysterious and (for some) eerie ambient is intriguing for me (to create).” Over the 2012-13 research season, after scientists drilled for many years through over 13,000 miles of ice, water samples were finally obtained from the lake. Gene tests of the organisms found in the water have shown a variety both known and unknown organisms and their significance is still under consideration and the subject of further research. www.cymphonic.nl
BOOMBOX by OkyDoky (2013) (Web site download only)
OkyDoky is Beirut, Lebanon-based electro instrumental hip hop artist. Active since 2008, he has done live shows in New York in recent years and has collaborated with European artists. His debut album has the unrelenting rhythms of the 2½-minute tracks Lake Vostok and a remixed version, Lake Vostok (Radio KVM Remix), named after Antarctica’s largest and best known subglacial lake. okydoky.bandcamp.com
ANTARTICA by Leo Quinteros (2013) (Web site download only)
Leo Quinteros is a Santiago, Chile-based songwriter and musician who has forged a solo recording and performing career since 2003, with support from accompanying musicians. His latest album, in Spanish, has the track Antartica, a thoughtful-sounding Latin-flavoured folk/pop song that starts quietly but later turns on the percussive heat. Leo explained the significance of the song to us: “Antártica is the name of my fifth album that contains a track of the same title as well. The right way to say it in Spanish is Antártida, but in Chile we got used to calling it Antártica as a result of the English language influence. So it is a Chilean expression. The reason or background for using Antártica as a concept has to do with different things, but in a nutshell is a metaphor for the end of a relationship. I was raised through the Pinochet era. For a military government, Antártica was a very important topic, so it would appear everyday on the weather report, they talked about “Chilean Antarctic Territory”, and it was always part of the touristic/video/photographic/national landscape, so it was very real and mysterious for me. Coming back to the song itself, I will try to translate the first verse where Antártica is mentioned: “There are no more words left, Language has worn me out, And the only heat in Antártica, Comes from the flames of a crashed plane.” At the time I wrote the song, I found myself in this complicated and sad situation (a divorce), so I started to see life as an overwhelming, immense place, where in spite of its beauty, surviving was almost impossible. Antártica is a desert, a huge, beautiful, white shiny, but indifferent place. How did we get there? Through an accident, a disaster, a plane crash that at the same time, it’s the only thing that keeps us warm in this beautiful and hostile place. I see Antártica as life itself. Immensely beautiful, but indifferent. And sometimes you have to walk through it.”
THE YEAR OF HOPE by Sunshine and the Makenzi Sound (2013) (Web site download only)
This is a Guayaquil, Ecuador-based six-member indie folk rock group, formed in 2011. Their album of melodic roots rock has a track with the interesting title, Wild Penguins go to Antarctica, about wanting “to get away, justifying a better way”.
THE CITIES WE PLANNED, THE CITIES WE MADE by Statue Park (2013) (Web site download only)
Statue Park is a Montreal, Canada-based rock group, with origins in 2003 and with plenty of international touring experiences among the members. One of the tracks on their current album is the melodic guitar-driven 4-minute Shackleton, also available as a 7” vinyl disc. Sample lyrics: “Let me take you far away, on an expedition to the furthest we can go, a place of ice and snow, and set adrift on an ice floe, we’ll lose our way, I’ll sing to you every day. We’d be okay if nothing ever got in the way, we’d be alright if you never left my sight. We can forget about the rest, the complications take time to build a nest, the perfect nation if something goes wrong, will you be strong, will you run away, or will you stay.”
Toby Cayouette, founder and vocalist/guitarist, told us about the track: “First of all, as the title suggests, the song was inspired by Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton and his incredible journey. Specifically, after I’d seen the newspaper ad that he had published in London to crew up his ship. It’s fascinating that men would have been up for the voyage despite Shackleton clearly stating that chances of return were slim. So the first, more literal meaning of the text is about that, “are you willing to go all the way, even knowing that our journey will be fraught with unspeakable dangers, and knowing that there is no turning back.” Then, given that I wrote this song (and most of the songs on the album) after a bad breakup, the same narrative can also be read to be about relationships, though in a more figurative sense, “are you in this for the long run, or will you bail at the first signs of trouble?”” www.statuepark.ca; www.statuepark.bandcamp.com
Note: According to his Web article at www.antarctic-circle.org, about Shackleton’s alleged ad, Antarctophile Robert Stephenson says, “The source of this often repeated advert and its variations (it even is featured on T shirts) has never been identified although many have sifted through scores of British newspapers in the attempt. It may very well be apocryphal. It is said to have been placed by Shackleton during the planning of his Nimrod expedition.”
RAPID REALITY by Radical Dads (2013)
Radical Dads is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based indie arty grunge rock trio, formed in 2008. Their second album of straight ahead guitar-driven melodies has the 7-minute song Shackleton. Lindsay Baker, vocalist/guitarist, told us about the track “I am a super fan of Shackleton! I had been at home sick and watched the documentary about the Endurance. I was really fascinated by Shackleton’s story for many reasons (that’s a much longer E-mail though). At the same time, I was working on some songs, and I started thinking about ES and the next thing you know...BOOM! I think the larger themes of failure, disappointment, and personal apocalypse were also at play when writing this song.” Uninhabitable Mansions UM029; www.radicaldads.com
CAMP GOULD SENTINEL MOUNTAINS by the Kitchen Collective (2013)
The Kitchen Collective is a German indie folk rock group from Würzburg, Germany, formed in 2010. Their limited edition first CD of melodic light rock has the 4½-minute track Antarctica. Sample lyrics: “This room made me feel so safe and sound, but I still have to leave you when they’re coming from outside. Sure I know it’s not your fault because you’re bound, but can’t we just find another place where we’re not hounded? I want to take you to the highest of the north, I want to start all over with you by the shores, I can take you to the furthest of the south, and with my two hands I will build you your own house, all I want to do is turn back time, so that everyone knows that you are mine.”
Miro Denck, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, explained the track for us: “To us it’s actually a metaphor for a place of complete silence, of seclusion and for a place to flee from all the problems in the world, private and of mankind. Furthermore it’s about a romance and about running away together to a place where nobody can do them harm. A place like Antarctica, the furthest place imaginable, where no one would go after them and destroy what they have.”
Camp Gould was an astronomic station in the Sentinel/Heritage Range area of the Ellsworth Mountains in West Antarctica. It was established during the 1962-63 field season, named after Laurence Gould, an American geologist and distinguished Antarctic scientific expeditioner and leader on Richard Byrd’s first Antarctic expedition in 1928-30. www.thekitchencollectiveofficial.bandcamp.com
DRAFTS – THE MUSIC AND LYRICS OF ALEXANDER SAGE OYEN (VOLUME TWO) by Alexander Sage Oyen (2013) (Web site download only)
Alexander Sage Oyen is an up-and-coming young composer/lyricist and performer of musical theater songs. Originally from Florida, he is studying at the University of Minnesota in the theatre department. DRAFTS is the second of a series of performances of his fine songs by a wide group of singers with professional theatre experiences, respected and chosen by Alexander. One of the tracks is the beautiful 45-second choral piece Der Oyen Cantata Opus 104, sung by Alexander, Charlie Rosen and the Men’s Choir of Antarctica. We asked Alexander about the unusual name of the Choir and he replied: “I put the “Men’s Choir of Antarctica” on the artist’s listing as a joke - obviously Antarctica is not densely populated and definitely does not have an organized men’s choir.” www.alexandersageoyen.com
A NEW WORLD by Eamonn Karran (2013) (Web site download only)
Derry City, Northern Ireland-based Eamonn Karran is a veteran pianist/composer, who now specializes in New Age and soothing and healing music, inspired by his beautiful surrounding countryside. One of the tracks on his current album is the gentle 5-minute Antarctica. Eamonn explained the origin of the track for us: “This track was inspired by a story that was circulated about an entrance to “Inner Earth”, which is supposed to exist in Antarctica. I am fascinated by this story and became interested in this region and how it is one of the most barren unexplored regions on Earth. I have tried to convey the sheer sense of wonder, awe and excitement that one must feel on arriving and exploring this beautiful alien landscape.” www.eamonnkarra.co.uk
SHATTERED SKY – ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK by Steve Steckler and Fritz Stolzenbach (2013) (Web site download only)
Shattered Sky is a 2012 documentary film from independent American filmmakers Steve Dorst and Dan Evans, about the ozone hole over Antarctica and later climate change politics. According to the film’s publicity, it “recounts the dramatic story of how America led the world to solve the biggest environmental crisis ever seen. Thirty years ago, scientists reported a hole in the ozone layer “the size of North America.” The culprit was CFCs, prevalent in billions of dollars worth of products like refrigeration and air conditioning that had revolutionized the American way of life. Doctors forecasted skyrocketing cancer: the stakes were “life as we know it.” But business remained bitterly opposed and politicians were initially slow to act. For the first time in film, Shattered Sky goes inside the ozone crisis to explore how America led the world to a solution. It inspires viewers toward the same can-do spirit on climate change today.”
Warnings of the dangers of CFCs to the atmospheric ozone layer date to the 1970s. The discovery of the thinning of the natural ozone level in the stratosphere over Antarctica is credited to British Antarctic Survey scientists in the mid 1980s. Chlorine found in CFCs was reacting with ozone at high altitudes over Antarctica, resulting in ozone depletion that was affecting the health of people and marine life even in neighbouring continents. Eventually, the 1987 Montreal Protocol was established to limit the production of CFCs. One of the tracks on this soundtrack of stately electronic music is the 2-minute, quietly jangly Antarctic Adventure, by American musicians/producers Steckler and Stolzenbach.
DANCE OF UNTRUTH by Captain Trips (2013)
Captain Trips was an early 1990s Melbourne, Australia-based thrash metal group whose 6-song 1992 debut cassette had the 5-minute environmentally conscious track, Antarctica. Their various recorded tracks from that era were released on CD in 2013 and Wayne Dwyer, the vocalist, told us about this track in 2013: “The lyrics and melody focus more on the conservational and exploitational aspects of Antarctica. The first two verses are a mix from the point of view of big businesses trying to exploit the continent’s resources at the expense of the pristine wilderness, and also from a conservational point of view. The last verse is more an observation (a summing up) about the tipping point at which the place can never return to its natural state. Overall, it’s about how we should leave the place alone. At the time (1991), Antarctica’s exploitation was in the news a lot. I’m glad that more than 20 years after writing it, someone is finally interested!” Stormspell Records SSR-RWH-109; www.myspace.com/captaintripsmetal
ANTARCTICA by White Slice (2013)
White Slice is a Dutch garage punk rock group from Amsterdam, formed in 2012. After only eight rehearsals, they began performing shows and recorded their 19-minute debut album in two days. Although there are no Antarctic songs on the record, the cover has a photo of a thin-looking slice of iceberg. Guitarist Jeroen told us about the band’s name and the CD: “Unfortunately we didn’t go to Antarctica before we went to the studio. The album title Antarctica is basically based on our band name. Antarctica is literally the biggest White Slice we could think of.” Suburban Records BURBCD 119
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AIR by Jayme Stone (2013)
Jayme Stone is an award-winning Canadian banjo player, composer and producer. Included in his laurels are Junos for two of his albums, the highest awards from the Canadian music industry. His music is an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, chamber and world music, sourced from global inspirations. This CD includes two tracks, the 1-minute Alexander Island and 6-minute Debussy Heights, named after places in Antarctica. Alexander Island is the largest island of Antarctica, a largely ice-covered island southwest of the Antarctic Peninsula, discovered in the early 1820s. Debussy Heights is a small mountain range in the northeast part of the island, named after composer Claude Debussy. It is one of many inlets, ice shelves, mountains and other features on Alexander Island named after famous classical composers by British polar and Government authorities following the activities of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey of the 1950.
According to Jayme’s album publicity, “Banjoist, composer and musical globetrotter Jayme Stone was browsing a favorite bookstore, when he caught a little glimpse, as if through a spyglass, of an unknown, rippling shore. Stone had pulled out a curious volume: an atlas of remote islands, described in loving detail by a writer who had never set foot on them. “I saw this book, and my imagination caught on fire,” Stone recalls. “I could already hear music and thought I might write a whole body of work about these islands.” Instead, Stone found a wider range of landmarks and guides to inspire him. He brings all his creative influences and forces to bear - a chamber symphony and rich brass, rippling melodies and evocative textures, past journeys and close friends - as he traces the lines of a distant icy mountain range, imagines the first step onto the coastline of an uninhabited island, and brings to life what Stravinsky might hum if he rambled the Appalachian Trail…Stone didn’t limit himself to the original structure of islands, though his experience with the atlas helped him find the perfect thread that united pieces he had been working on for the previous two years…This expanded, exploratory sound serves one goal: to move people, to cross the gap between listener and performer. “As musicians, we practice and write to take what’s inside out to our listeners. There’s always music waiting, right there on the other side of the air,” reflects Stone. “It’s so close, yet it’s a lifelong practice to give shape to what we hear and then to send it off. I love negotiating that strange distance; absorbing different influences then sending them back out again.” Stone didn’t limit himself to the original structure of islands, though his experience with the atlas helped him find the perfect thread that united pieces he had been working on for the previous two years. Some of them - Alexander Island, a tribute to the planet’s second largest uninhabited island off the coast of Antarctica, and Debussy Heights, a fugue-touched tour of that island’s mountains - stemmed from the atlas.”
Jayme further explained the tracks for us: “I read a book called the “Atlas of Remote Islands” and got interested by the idea of writing music inspired by remote islands. Some late night online research led me to reading about the geologic features on Alexander Island being named after famous composers and boom, I saw the Debussy Heights and thought there needed to be a song about it.” JS 400; www.jaymestone.com
QUIET MOMENTS by Lycia (2013)
Lycia is the Mesa, Arizona-based darkwave/gothic indie duo of Mike VanPortfleet and Tara Vanflower. Originally formed in 1988 as a larger group, the duo has released many albums over the years. This is their first under Lycia in 13 years and has the 8-minute electronic soundscape Antarctica. The wistful, spoken lyrics capture the idea of a bleak Antarctica as metaphor for loneliness and isolation in the inhabited world: “I see old pictures of a boy (me) standing, so alone and far away, buried for miles and miles and miles, no one knows (remember?) I lived here, every direction looks the same, the same, the snow and the wind and the ice, frozen for miles and miles and miles, no one knows (remember?) I lived here.”
Mike explained the background of the track to us: “The symbology of time/place has always been important to me. It is a driving force in my music. I have often used extreme places as a symbol for (likewise) extreme emotions. There is a stark emptiness associated with the underlying theme of the Quiet Moments album. Very early on I came up with this idea of the connection/opposites of Antarctica and Greenland (another track on the CD). Greenland’s name indicates something good, so the perception was positive, but in reality the place was barren and isolated. Antarctica is perceived as being the most stark and isolated place on earth. But (if you follow the lead and ideas of some speculative archaeologists), underneath the ice lies the remains of something that was once very good. Abstract, but in essence opposite, but also the same, which can also be applied to personal perceptions both inward and outward. I also work as a cartographer and studied geography. I have had a lifelong interest in places and Antarctica is a place that has intrigued me since childhood.” Handmade Birds Records HBDIS-066; www.lyciummusic.com
SOUL QUEST by Keiko Matsui (2013)
Now based in Los Angeles, California, Keiko Matsui is a Japanese jazz pianist who began her prolific recording career in the mid 1980s. Her numerous albums have charted on Billboard and her crossover jazz styles have ranged from smooth to New Age and world music. She has also supported many world charitable organizations and causes through the sale of her CDs. One of the tracks on this CD is the 6-minute Antarctica – A Call to Action. The liner notes say “A Call to Action is dedicated to saving Antarctica and the environment of our planet.” Shanachie 5408; www.keikomatsui.com
UNDISCOVERED SHORES by Kuutana (2013) (Web site download only)
Kuutana is a Gatineau, Quebec-based composer and musician who creates peaceful music for relaxation and healing, which has been presented on many North American syndicated radio programs. According to Kuutana’s Web site, this sixth album is a visit to “the undiscovered shores of New Earth - A musical journey into a world of hope and discovery.” One of the tracks on this album of ambient instrumental music is the 6-minute A Summer in Antarctica. Kuutana explained the origin of the track: “I am often influenced by mental imagery and concepts when composing. At the time I was composing A Summer in Antarctica, I had recently re-visioned a movie called Encounters at the End of the World (directed by Werner Herzog). On a parallel thread, I also pictured the qualities of the Vangelis album called Antarctica. With these two mental images in mind (and with the fact that this was composed during the spring season and that snow was melting outside my studio!), I set out to compose a track that could draw a musical tapestry of all those elements. So, the lighter elements of the piece are evocative of the image of a reprieve that may be offered by summer, but with the looming and ever-present knowledge that the bitter cold and wintry solitude of the colder months are never too far away.” www.kuutana.com
PALMS by Palms (2013)
Palms is a Los Angeles, California-based group whose album of brooding long tracks includes the 10-minute Antarctic Handshake, a slow-building hurtin’ song about a relationship, with Antarctica symbolizing the emotional final frontier. Sample lyrics: “Inside, inside of the whale. I come to you and now it’s your turn, your turn to evaluate all those times you let go. Outside, I’ve let you in through the years, it’s time to let go. The two of us at the end. Off the grid. Arms first. Arms first. Now you know, it’s time to let go. Let go. It’s time to let go. Ipecac Recordings IPC139; www.palmsband.com
THE ANTARCTIC WARS by Lee Abramson (2013)
Lee Abramson is a Michigan, U.S.A.-based composer and musician. In 2005 he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and has since lost his mobility. He has continued to make music with other musicians and with his one-finger keystrokes and a touchpad, through use of adaptive technology, including a computerized speech program and music software. According to his bio, “It is hard not to be inspired by the creative efforts of this uniquely talented musician who has managed, despite great adversity, to produce a recording such at this. In spite of the fact that 90% of patients with ALS do not live more than five years after being diagnosed, Lee explains his longevity by saying, “God was just giving me time to focus on my music.””
His current CD has the jazzy track A Penguin with a Sword, about penguins joining up to fight global warming. Sample spoken lyrics: “A dreadful menace faces you on these Antarctic shores, a flightless bird, some red, some blue, have come to settle scores, you’ll know my name’s the Lord, a braver man will dare to fence a penguin with a sword. They say that global climate change could bring the birds’ demise, the breeding grounds have rearranged to bring their battle cries, the prophecy turned out to be a fate to be ignored, but who would ever live to see a penguin with a sword? At last the birds have realized that red and blue could mate, everyone was sanctified, escaped that awful fate, now the chick has purple fleece, unto their own accord, intermarriage brokered peace, a penguin with a sword.” The CD cover has a striking scene of blue and red-headed penguins lined up in battle and the back cover has a blue and red-headed emperor penguin pair with their purple-fringed chick. www.leeabramson.com
ANTARCTICA by Einzelgänger and KaoticConcrete (2013) (Web site download only)
Two American and Swiss rap artists, based in Basel, Switzerland have included the 4-minute Antarctica (The Saga Begins) on their first CD together, rapping alternately in English and German.
ALCHEMY OF ICE by Netherworld (2013)
Netherworld is the solo project of Rome-based Alessandro Tedeschi, an electronic musician and field sound recordist who creates and performs ambient music. According to his Website, “I’m interested in catch up sounds generated from the nature’s flow. Through my music, I would like to play the quietness of the silence, desolate darkness and glacial landscapes.” Alchemy of Ice is “a view from the metaphysical point in both spiritual development and liberation - and the ice, the natural element essential for the achievement of eternity.” One of the tracks is the 8½-minute 85°50’S-65°47’E. These are the co-ordinates of the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility, as designated by Britain’s Scott Polar Research Institute, which is the area in the interior of East Antarctica that is the most distant from any coastline of the Southern Ocean. There has been debate as to the exact location of the Pole of Inaccessibility, depending on what criteria are used to establish the coastlines, but the location is commonly recognized to be the area first reached and established on ground in 1957/58 by a Soviet Antarctic expedition (82°6’S-54°58’E). Glacial Movements Records GM018; www.glacialmovements.com; www.myspace.com/glacialmovements
BLYDE LASSES by Frances Wilkins and Claire White (2013)
Blyde Lasses are the Scottish duo of vocalist/fiddler Claire White, a BBC television development producer in Glasgow and concertina player Frances Wilkins, a researcher and lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. They have been playing together since 2006, after forming in the Shetland Islands and since that time they have toured the U.K. as well as internationally. One of the tracks on their first CD of traditional and new tunes is the quiet 2-minute instrumental Antarctic Life. Frances Wilkins explained the origin of the track: “Antarctic Life came from an archive recording collected by Peter Cooke in the 1970s - presumably linked to the South Georgia whaling industry in which many Shetlanders were involved from the early 20th century until the 1960s. We particularly like the tune, as it has strong resonances with older Scottish tunes. It is also of particularly interest to me in my work as an ethnomusicologist researching arctic/nautical musical traditions, including James Bay fiddle music in Quebec and Ontario.” Briggiestane Music BRiGGiCD101; www.blydelasses.com; blydelasses.wordpress.com; www.myspace.com/blydelasses; www.franceswilkins.com; (See also other versions of this tune in this section, called Antarctic Ice on THE CEILIDH ALBUM by Dave Swarbrick & Friends (2002) and Antarctic Ice (MacPherson’s Rant) on DA MIRRIE BOYS – SHETLAND FIDDLE MUSIC by various artists (1952), played by Peter Scollay.)
TYRANNOSOUNDS by Ron Schmidtling (2013) (Web site download only)
Ron Schmidtling is a Los Angeles, California area-based rock musician, painter and lab scientist/ geologist/paleontologist who has created four albums of dinosaur songs to promote his work, music and passion for creatures from the distant past. One of the songs on his latest CD is Amphibian / Antarctic Dinosaur Predator, a rare tune about continental drift and lost dinosaur love. Sample lyrics: “When I awoke from my sleep last night, I saw Antarctica was far away from me, and so I sat on that cliff and cried because I had no way to sail across the sea. If only I’d crossed when I had the chance, I would be with my love instead of wasting this dance.” Ron told us about the song: “During the Cretaceous, large amphibians were predators of dinosaurs, e.g. Koolasuchus. I imagined a time when Australia and Antarctica were separating, and if an amphibian were to try to cross the salt water it would die. A perfect set-up for a sad romance. From the amphibian’s point of view, of course. An artist friend of mine, Bill Stout has illustrated many of the dinosaurs from Antarctica, and has even gone to excavate them.” One of William Stout’s illustrated books about dinosaurs was Antarctic and Australian Dinosaurs (1993).
VITAL MENTAL MEDICINE by Sligo Creek Stompers (2013)
Washington, D.C.-area based quartet Sligo Creek Stompers play a kitchen sink-full of traditional American roots music. What a surprise, then, to read in their CD liner notes: “Antarctica, November 1915. While on expedition, Ernest Shackleton risked his life to save a banjo from his sinking ship, calling it ‘vital mental medicine’. For three weeks, the survivors had little more than an upturned boat and that banjo keeping their bodies warm and spirits fed. May these tunes from another era keep your hearts lighted through the long, dark winter.” The group’s Web site further says: “The Sligo Creek Stompers turn to this story of inspiration for their second album, ‘Vital Mental Medicine’. The Washington-area band keeps the spirit of string band music alive with their unique interpretation of American roots music. The album’s thirteen songs explore traditional New Orleans jazz, scrappy old time and Irish fiddle tunes, and country rags. Hailing from another era, the recordings offer a cure to the trappings of the urban jungle.”
Chris Ousley, the group’s banjo, guitar, upright bassist, bodhrán player and vocalist told us about the Shackleton tribute written for the CD: “So, I was incredibly moved by the story. Risking your life for a banjo, and then using it to keep folks alive in the bleakest of conditions? It simply speaks for itself on the surface. More deeply, the original members, Adrian (Erlinger) and I, began playing in DC when there was little to no bluegrass music during that time. We had both recently moved there from much more rural and musical areas (southwestern PA and St. Louis, MO). We both felt a dark brooding energy in DC...it’s an emotionally cold town at times (right next to an imperialist and powerful government seat, huge transient culture among workers, etc.). But right when we were starting to pick together and playing for parties in people’s homes, we met SO many folks who had the same idea at the same time. Young (20ish) musicians moving to town, feeling the coldness, and searching for each other through music. In the last three years there has been a snowballing movement towards roots music in DC and a growing community of folks supporting it. So there is a symbolic connection to the story, with DC as well.” Amphibitone Records; www.sligocreekstompers.com
BEAUTOPIA: A FACE ODYSSEY by the Mask and Wig Club of the University of Pennsylvania (2013)
The Mask and Wig Club of the University of Pennsylvania is an all-male theatrical troupe that presents theatrical farces. This recording is the soundtrack to their 125th annual production and includes the track Antarctica. The show’s publicity describes it as follows: “Desperate to be remembered for solving the world’s problems, a delivery boy en route to Antarctica is frozen in a block of ice. He wakes up to find that in the future all of the world’s problems have been solved, and that he isn’t remembered for anything at all. But, there is more to this pretty new future than meets the eye. An evil dictator has established a hierarchy based on appearance, where the attractive citizens exploit the ugly. Reinvigorated by the promise of becoming remembered, our hero sets about showing the future that if you never dig beneath the surface, all you are is shallow. There was never an age before beauty and there will be no wrinkles in time, so come see this beautylicious show chock-full of facial tension.” www.maskandwig.org
ANTARCTICA by Nonexistence (2013)
Nonexistence is the cosmic doom/black metal solo project of Austrian musician Philip Santoll who began the musical concept in 2002. His Web site describes the genesis as follows: “A band created as a piece of art, in the virtual spheres of the deserted cold heart of Antarctica. A place so solitary, so cold and dark, you could as well be lost somewhere in space and time or not exist anymore at all. Yet this band claims to stem from these empty landscapes of desolation. And its music seems to stem from there as well: Antarctica.” Philip summed up the record for us as follows: “Antarctica is the place where Nonexistence comes from. Antarctica perfectly reflects the mood of the album and its lyrics. Antarctica actually sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?”
One of the tracks on his second CD, made with the help of Finnish producer and musician Tuomas Saukkonen, is Here is Nowhere, with sample lyrics that drip with despair and isolation: “Vacant darkness shrouding everything, endless silence absorbing serenity, frozen vastness turns to emptiness, searing coldness transcending me. Lifeless on the shore of a solitude better unknown, deserted wasteland of hopelessness, Antarctic landscapes of my heart. There is a war raging in me, no one never arriving nowhere, can you really imagine nothingness, secluded in this eternal isolation, dissolving into the black voids beyond, distant absence remains imperfect, inert as all is falling apart.” Candlelight Records CANDLE402CD; www.nonexistence666.com; www.myspace.com/nonexistence666
ILLUMINATE IN THE DARK by Vigilante Santos (2013) (Web site download only)
Vigilante Santos is a Seattle, Washington-based indie rock group, whose third album/EP has the musically shimmering track of poetic impressionism, Antarctica. Lyrics: “I was the first in line - me and so many little feet in the door with mine. We drifted easily - on surfaces shiny, scratches few, cracks so empty. And we knew there were whispers of layers too deep to see under this sleek, slick veneer - honed so carefully. Little lives, gray and white, moving freely throughout a slap-stick film, screaming silently. I was the first to leave to some moving iceberg, where strange sounds surrounded me. I put my ear to the floor. The voices of many little seals swimming under me. And I knew they’d be there in the evening light with crystalized skies and icicle chandeliers. Wake me up, wake me up in the middle of the night. The sun is so bright and I have to stay here. And I’m gonna take time to peel all the layers off, every single one until I am gone. And you’re gonna see it, and you’re gonna take time. The movie’s all over now, over over now, the lights are all on.”
Colleen Thomas, vocalist and guitarist told us about the track: “I wrote that song because I saw a documentary by Werner Herzog called Encounters at the End of the World. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but Herzog travels to a camp there to do interviews with everyone from the scientists to the cooks and janitors on why they are there and what they find inspiring about that part of the world. I found it mesmerizing and wanted to write about it. The song was particularly inspired by all of the diver footage in Herzog’s film as well as the scene where the scientists are laying on the ground listening to the seals singing underneath the ice. I’ve never been to Antarctica, but have always been fascinated by it.” colleenthomas.bandcamp.com
LIGHT PULSES by MrWinter (2013) (Web site download only)
MrWinter is a veteran Wellington, New Zealand-based composer, trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist. He is also an audio producer/IT specialist who has worked in cinema production, including Avatar, Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey and three Lord of the Rings films. This is his third album as an independent composer and it is a kaleidoscopic masterpiece of instrumental tracks assembled over the years. The single 45-minute track is a seamless flow of ambient, electronic and sound textures that hold interest for the full length. The final nine minutes of musical soundscapes are underlain by excerpts from one of Ernest Shackleton’s two known recordings made in 1909 and 1910, describing his British Antarctic (Nimrod) Expedition of 1907-09.
Chris Winter told us about the Antarctic influence in 2013: “The piano on the last part of Light Pulses was recorded in my home one winter’s evening in September 2012 - our open fire was crackling and my children were getting ready for bed (you can hear all that in the background of the track). I often play soothing music for the kids to help the transition from the day’s activities into sleep time. I occasionally put the improvised ramblings up for free on my website at www.mrwinter.com/Bedtime_Stories.html, if you’re interested.
“When I listened back to the track a few months later (looking for material for Light Pulses), I was reminded of the stories my grandfather used to tell me about when he was growing up. His family would sit around the meagre fire in the depths of winter while his mother played piano and they listened to whatever was on the only radio station available. My great-grandmother was apparently a fine pianist who played for silent films in England before she immigrated to New Zealand in the early 20th century. Unfortunately, she died of cancer at age 40 and my mother never got to meet her.
“I tried to invoke that same cozy feeling of being inside with a fire with a bleak, bitter-cold world outside and my thoughts were immediately drawn to the tales a friend of mine had told me of his time working in Antarctica a couple of years ago. Luke was working for a drilling company, which was involved in getting core samples, etc. and made a few trips down for a few months at a time. He described to me the ferocity of the storms and the conditions they had to put up with on the ice.
“I wanted to combine a mental image of Antarctica with the image of the old family setting that I can picture in my mind from my grandfather’s stories (strangely, the pictures I have in my mind are sepia-toned or black and white like the photos he’d show me) in the music, somehow, and decided to use an old piece of audio and manipulate it a little to make it sound like it was coming out of a radio, which had seen better days.
“I was reminded of Shackleton’s story when I played a gig with my friends Delaney Davidson and Dos Hermanos and at a small church in Paekakariki - the band supporting us were called Bond Street Bridge who performed an hour-long piece telling the story of Shackleton’s journey (bondstreetbridge.blogspot.co.nz/p/explorers-club-antarctica.html). I’ve always been interested in the exploration of the South Pole and used to spend quite a bit of time as a child pondering the exploration of it. I’d actually be really keen to head down to Antarctica to compose some music at some stage but I doubt I’ll be able to afford to do that in the near future.
“Anyway, when I was working on the piece in the studio, it made sense to try to find a way to use some audio (preferably of Shackleton, as he was fresh in my mind, but Scott or Amundsen would have sufficed) of some tales of the bleak adventures on the ice as the radio broadcast. I found the audio of Shackleton’s speech on a public domain audio website and I think the tone fit what I was trying to achieve very well. I did create a few gaps in the speech to make it fit what was happening in the music a little better, but didn’t manipulate it much other than that.
“I added a few other bits and pieces to keep it interesting and as a final touch I decided to record a wee dram of whiskey being poured in honour of the discovery of the three bottles of Shackleton’s supplies, which were found (recently).” www.mrwinter.com
(Web site download only)
ANTARTICA by JoGoldie & Pawcut (2013)
JoGoldie (aka Kymm Roberson) is a Philadelphia, U.S.A-based experimental, soul and R&B singer/songwriter. Pawcut is a German music producer. This EP has two versions sung by JoGoldie plus an instrumental version of the hypnotic trip hop/soul track Antartica, with opening lyrics: “It’s a cold world…what can I do to be a voyager?” We asked JoGoldie about the title of the song and she replied: “The opening male vocal sets the stage - questioning how to deal with negative vibes and the female vocal gives inspiration to move on...keep it moving.” The EP cover has a great picture of an iceberg against an evening sky, in a black sea. www.myspace.com/jogoldie; soundcloud.com/jogoldie; soundcloud.com/pawcut
SIDE BY EACH by Ian Tamblyn (2013)
Ian Tamblyn is a veteran award-winning Ottawa, Canada-area musician, playwright and educator/guide on nature cruise ships, who has made numerous trips to both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. This CD is his 35th album and according to his Web site, is about “travel, oceans and the interior journey”. The album cover has a photo of a guitar-playing papier maché penguin and four of the songs are Antarctic-related. His Web site explains their origins: “Sailor - written on the Scotia Sea between South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. Big ocean, albatross carving the sky. A big place to get lost. Three Whales - Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, a perfect day , everything in motion, a visit and a gift by three wanderers. Stromness - Shackleton’s epic journey across the mountains of South Georgia into the small whaling town of Stromness as seen through the eyes of a boy who first spotted them. Farewell to Fiunary - remembered this tune from a Tannahill Weavers record. Recorded this piece in a huge whale rendering tank on Deception Island, wind blew through rusted holes at the top of the tank, the whole thing burnt after a volcano swept the area in 1967. Couldn’t help but think of the thousands of whales boiled in this tank.” North Track Records NT-35; www.tamblyn.com; (See also GYRE (2009), ANGEL’S SHARE (2004) and THE BODY NEEDS TO TRAVEL (1997) by Ian Tamblyn in this section and ANTARCTIC SONGBOOK (2008) and ANTARCTICA by Ian Tamblyn (1994) in the Non-Classical, all Antarctic or with significant Antarctic content section.)
IN THE RED by Eric Tricklebank (2011) (Web site download only)
Eric Tricklebank is a Marlborough, New Zealand-based veteran singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist. His first of several albums has the 4½-minute infectiously rocking track Antarctica. Sample verse: “I went down to the bottom of the world, it was so damn cold and I miss my girl, I’ve never been there before and I’m never going back…makes you look inside yourself when you’ve been away too long, you might go down weak but you’ll come home back strong, it’s freezin’, man I’m lonely…” Eric told us about the song in 2013: “I was working as chief cook on board a fishing boat and we went to Antarctica, (the water only), for three months in search of the Antarctic toothfish. They do that every year here in NZ when the ice melts enough to get into places like the Ross Sea. It was my first sea voyage and pretty much was a life-changing trip. My trip was in November 2003 to February 2004.” www.amplifier.co.nz; www.reverbnation.com/erictricklebank
GHOST FOREST by Trance to the Sun (2012)
This is the reissue on CD of an album of darkwave music originally released on cassette in 1993. Based in Santa Barbara, C.A., the group issued seven albums and toured over 1990-2001. It was led by composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Ashkelon Sain who is now based in Portland, Oregon. The ethereal/gothic/ambient and largely instrumental music includes the brooding 6½-minute track Antarctic Twilight. Ashkelon explained the track to us in 2013: “When I compose music, generally I imagine a subject or a concept that I find fascinating. In order to arrive at a song title, I simply try to distill the idea into as few words as possible. With Antarctic Twilight, I imagined in particular how long and drawn out the twilight might be for an observer on the Antarctic Continent, as the sun slowly vanished from the sky during March or April (whenever that happens exactly). I thought about how ominous that might seem, I thought about the freezing winds, and I thought about how the final sunset/twilight might last for days on end. The complete disappearance of the sun and the associated weather changes were the inspiration for the music.” Below Sea Level Recordings 931 CD
NAUTILUS by Mare Mystica (2012)
Rainer Winschermann is Germany-based saxophonist, composer and music producer whose solo project Mare Mystica, as described in his Web site, is an “instrumental-synthpop-deephouse-chillout-jazz-music-project with dark, sometimes melancholy but always melodic elements, enriched with a powerful rhythm and sax sounds”. With many CDs issued, this is one of his latest and has the 3½-minute instrumental track Antarctic Circuit. We asked him about the title in 2013 and he replied: “I’m a composer and musician and I produce my own music in my recording-studio at a very little island in the North Sea of Germany (Baltrum). I was fascinated by the motion picture and novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne in my youth and I started to compose music with this background. Therefore all tracks of the album Nautilus were inspired by this novel / movie and by the travel of the Nautilus through the oceans.” In the 1870 novel, the Nautilus was a super submarine captained by the self-exiled Captain Nemo, which travelled under the Antarctic ice shelves in its various travels around the earth’s oceans. Mollycat MCD 12050; www.baltrum-musik.de
DUCK IN THE BOX by Flower Flesh (2012)
Flower Fresh is a neo-progressive rock band from Bardino Nuovo, Italy, formed in 2005. Their first album is smartly restrained in its keyboard, synthesizer and guitar showmanship and is sung in English. One of the tracks is a more conventional sounding rocker, the 6-minute Antarctica, “the coldest, most isolated land mass of the planet.” Black Widow Records
The group’s Trevor Glenn told us about the track in 2013: “In 1981 and 1982, I was working onboard HMS ENDURANCE in the Royal Navy. Our primary role was map making in the Antarctic, hydrography, or Droggies, as the ship’s crew were known. Shackleton was on the first Endurance in the Antarctic. The ship was lost and somehow he kept every man jack alive and they made it to Elephant Island where Shackleton knew supplies lay in wait. He then took a selected few from the crew and set sail in a small whaleboat to South Georgia. Landed on the other side of South Georgia and climbed over mountainous terrain to Grytviken. A rescue mission was put together and after three attempts, his crew was rescued. A true heroic man - worthy of a mention in any song. Shackleton was written by me, Trevor Glenn, in 1981 during our Antarctic Deployment. It was documented at the time and then sent via recorded delivery from Endurance through Port Stanley to U.K. I still have the recorded package and song script in my possession. In 2011, I recorded the song with the Ruffs and it now takes pride of place on the Ruffs’ second album, Don't Wear Yellow in August. Glynn Pout and Mick Brommell accompany me with backing vocals, 12-string guitar and also six-string.” www.abitoruff.com
THE WAY OF THE DREAMER by Frankie Mulcahy (2012)
Frankie Mulcahy is an accordionist and composer from West Kerry, Ireland. His folk and many other styles of music have been used in documentaries and he has toured and recorded with many artists, including the world-class dance-show group, Riverdance. This is his first recording in 20 years and includes the 4-minute instrumental jig Antarctica/Drastic Plastic. According to the liner notes, the Antarctica part of the song was dedicated to Kerry’s unsung hero Tom Crean, who was a hero of both Robert Scott’s and Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expeditions. www.frankiemulcahy.com
RENAISSANCE by David Peers (2012) (Web site download only)
David Peers is a London, U.K.-based composer and musician with a Masters degree in Music and Drama. This album presents a wide variety of musical styles from early classical to World and funk with sampled and live instruments. One of the tracks is the 6½-minute Antartic Summer, an attractive piano and synthesized string and horn piece described as: “Three sketches for orchestra - Endless days/Dance of the Penguins and The Great Shelf.” www.davidpeers.net
PRINCES by Owls in Antarctica (2012) (EP)
This is the first EP by the alternative hardcore rockers from Glasgow, Scotland. Although there are no directly related Antarctic songs among the four tracks, the group told us about their eye-catching name in 2013: “We just wanted to use ‘owls’ in the name and one of the things we came across when we looked up owls was that Antarctica is the only continent with no owls.” owlsinantarctica.bandcamp.com
OLIVENZA by Olivenza (2012) (Web sit download only)
Olivenza is the Portuguese/Spanish duo of vocalist/guitarist Cira Fernández and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Raúl Marques, formed in 2010. They play a blend of folk/rock/Latin/jazz music and their first album has the 4½-minute track Antarctica. Cira explained the background of the song to us: “Well, to tell you the truth, I wrote the lyrics after seeing a documentary where the so-called “suicide route” was mentioned. This term refers to the increasing tendency on the part of Antarctic penguins to separate from a bigger group and initiate a route on their own in search of new areas where they can settle down. Obviously, many of them die in the attempt. I have recently found an interesting entry in a blog where they tell us about the increasing number of penguin suicides, apparently linked to the penguins’ awareness of the ice melt in the area. I felt so impressed by the documentary (the documentary belongs to the BBC1 series “Planet Earth”) that the music composed by my partner Raúl inspired the story I wrote for this song. Besides, I think we should feel responsible for the damage caused to this amazing species and to their land and do something to stop global warming. So we, as musicians, have contributed to the cause by making a beautiful song such as Antarctica. Frontera; de.myspace.com/raulmarquespt
SUMMER AT THE SOUTH POLE by Roodimentary Sciences (2012) (Web site download only)
John Rood is a Chicago, U.S.A.-based electronic/dance music composer who has recorded a catchy 3-minute electronic track, Summer at the South Pole. John told us about the title: “Honestly, I was just trying to think of something epic and out of the ordinary.” www.myspace.com/roodimentarysciences
DROPS OF WATER MAKE A MIGHTY OCEAN by Sheep’s Power (2012)
Sheep’s Power is the guitar and synthesizer-based instrumental music project of Switzerland’s Bruno Sylvestre. Two tracks included are Antarctica and Scientific Whaling?, the latter a reference to the infamous annual Japanese whale kill in the Southern Ocean in the name of scientific purposes. Bruno told us about the record: “Now, this new release is a kind of thought about the things we can do to change the future on this Planet, for our kids. Everyday some little decisions can be taken to ameliorate the world, like little drops of water make the ocean.” His CD publicity states further: “This album is a kind of reflection on the power we have as individuals. We follow the movement of the world like sheep. Those who govern us politically and economically are the shepherds. We can change this slowly. As a drop of water makes a mighty ocean we can do on the same scale to change the world.” www.deebeeprod.com
MEXICO EP by Eddie Carrigan (2012)
Eddie Carrigan is a Southern Ontario, Canada-based Scottish Canadian singer/songwriter and producer who has released four CDs and two EPs. His current record has the 5½-minute rock epic track Endurance, which tells the story of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 Endurance Antarctic Expedition. According to Carrigan’s Web site’s July 21, 2012 blog, “One thing that has always fascinated me over the years is the story of The Endurance and its leader, Sir Ernest Shackleton. When I first read the book, I was taken aback by all of the challenges they had to overcome in order to survive their fate, and yet, somehow all 28 men of that lost expedition were able to eventually return home, be it not until 1916 and to a world at war…The fact that they had been marooned in Antarctica for 18 months and were able to survive, was an amazing achievement by itself, but when you factor in all of the misfortunes these men were faced with, words like “incredible” hardly begin to suffice… It’s truly an inspiration to everyone that thinks they have had challenges to overcome, and is a clear reminder of what can be accomplished when you put your mind and will to the task.” A video of this song, played over film and photos of the Endurance’s sinking by Expedition photographer Frank Hurley, is also available on YouTube under “Eddie Carrigan “Endurance 1914 failed Expedition””. www.eddiecarrigan.com;
SCHWERE SEE (HEAVY SEAS) by Peter Prautzsch (2012) (available by download and in a limited CD edition of 75 copies)
Peter Prautzsch is a Berlin, Germany-based musician, media designer and photographer. His current record has the track James Caird, named after the boat used by Ernest Shackleton and his crew of five in their famous 800 nautical mile journey of hardship from Elephant Island to South Georgia in 1916 to seek rescue for their remaining crew, stranded on Elephant Island. The track does an admirable job of depicting the ups and downs of the sea through its various drones, dynamics and textures. According to his Web site publicity, “The second album release by Peter Prautzsch pays a mournful and triumphant tribute to the nineteenth and early twentieth century quests of oceanic and polar explorers. Its widescreen aural panorama slowly shifts from modern electronic drone to blurred melodies - a densely textured voyage built from field-recording compositions and acoustic studio recordings, equally drawing from neo-classical ambient music and microsounds. ‘Schwere See’ is a collection of subtle movements in sound, long-stretched hymns and fragile intervals - a melancholic and cinematic scope to the monumental struggles of these early expeditions into the Arctic Ocean and the continent of Antarctica.”
Peter further explained the track to us: “Well, the overall concept of SCHWERE SEE was to create an album that would illustrate the struggles of the early expeditions, sort of a soundtrack to the historic images. It’s not about retelling the historically accurate story but to create an abstract version of it - so there is a rather emotional and fictional approach to it. The story of the “James Caird” is a perfect example of it. It first paints a grim and dark picture of the voyage, yet it’s heroic - so there’s a cinematic quality to it. The composition revolves around the idea of an endless journey, an ongoing loop of layers that slightly change throughout the track. It sort of grabs you and won’t let you go - just like the sea. You can hear unsettling female voices like the sirens from Greek mythology that are calling you in. Some crackled field recordings also appear once in while and add some “found footage” angle to it as well. There are many ways to interpret this track and that’s just the way I like it.” www.palac.de; peterprautzsch.bandcamp.com
SOMEWHERE OVER ANTARCTICA by the Dead Milkmen (2012) (7” vinyl record and download only)
The Dead Milkmen, a Philadelphia-based satirical punk group formed in 1983, received international recording and touring success in the 1980s until they disbanded in 1995. Reunited in 2008, they released a new CD in 2011 and have planned to release a series of new singles. Somewhere over Antarctica is the B-side of their current limited-edition single (the A-side is Big Words Make the Baby Jesus Cry). Dean Sabatino, the group’s drummer, explained the song for us: “The track was inspired by a reading of H.P. Lovecraft’s (1931 Antarctic) novella called At the Mountains of Madness.” Sample lyrics: “Somewhere over Antarctica, There’s a bright shining sun, Casting shadows over the already dark, Waiting for man’s time to be done. I can’t tell the others, My secrets and my plans, What we saw was like no other, The outside world won’t understand. The cook has gone stir crazy, The dogs are howling at the moon, I’ve got enough supplies, I’ll be leaving base camp soon…Into the cold dark night, You can’t convince me to stay, I can hear the screams of terror, No one will get away. Into the howling wind and snow, Young Gedney, a dog and his sled, Sure to meet a certain death, We heard the radio go dead. Off in the snowy distance, The mountains are growing higher, Into the caverns and cities, The walls are full of history, Lost in the maze of antiquity, Older than man’s gods, Deeper into the hell, Of our mind’s understanding.” QUID ERGO #S002; www.deadmilkmen.com
FADE TO BLACK by GTGordon (2012) (Web site download only)
GTGordon is a Tennessee, U.S.A.-based progressive electronic musician who has been composing and producing trance & dance, techno and jazz music since 2003. His current record has the dynamic, thumping track SS Terra Nova, named for the ship used by Robert Scott for his Second Antarctic Expedition of 1910-13. gtgordon.mymusicstream.com
ANTARCTICA by Invisible Animals (2012) (Web site download only)
Invisible Animals is a Los Angeles, California-based post rock experimental music group, formed in 2004. They have issued four singles, one of which is the dreamy track Antarctica, with ethereal vocals from the female singer. The group told us that “Our singer had a dream of Antarctica, wrote the song and later that same week she met the artist Lita Albuquerque and learned of her work in Antarctica.” In 2006, Lita Albuquerque installed the largest-ever ephemeral art work in Antarctica, Stellar Axis: Antarctica, by installing an array of 99 blue globes on the ice on the Ross Ice Shelf near McMurdo Sound, to mirror the brightest stars above. www.reverbnation.com/invisibleanimals; (See also CINEMATIC MUSE by Brandon Visel (2009) in the “Non-Classical, all Antarctic or with significant Antarctic content” section for a description of the Stellar Axis: Antarctica project.)
MATH RASHES AND OTHER CLASSROOM ITCHES by Douglas Evans (2012) (Web site download only)
Douglas Evans is a Berkeley, California-based former teacher with international experiences and current author of children’s books, plays and music. His second CD about classroom experiences has the track Anta Claus from Antarctica, about a black-bearded anti-Santa Claus who lives at the South Pole and drives eight yaks in a black sleigh, stealing Christmas trees and toys. One Christmas Eve, a big wind blows him North and sees all the happiness there and realizes he’s been doing something wrong. There is also a companion children’s book with the same title as the song. www.wtmelon.com
VILLAINS by Thrash Unreal (2012) (Web site download only)
Thrash Unreal is a Los Vegas, U.S.A.-based pop punk group. One of the songs on their record is Antarctica, a 3-minute thrashing ode to angst, with a reference to Antarctica as a rough place. Sample lyrics: “I’m not gonna play this game anymore, I’m tired of feeling so out of touch, so out of sync with the world, But I’m not gonna beat myself up for doing my own thing, all I’m saying is, it must be nice to finally win one, to finally get it right. If I made living off of being an asshole, I’d be retired by now, retired by now. If I told the world what I thought, they’d probably send me straight to hell, or at least Antarctica.” www.myspace.com/thrashunreal
THUPPAKKI SOUNDTRACK by various artists (2012)
Thuppakki (The Gun) is a well-received Indian Tamil action movie, directed by A.R. Murugadoss, about a Mumbai-based Tamil Indian Army captain who falls in love with his bride of his arranged marriage. At the same time, he gets involved in pursing the leader of a terrorist cell responsible for bombings. The seven-song film soundtrack CD, composed by Harris Jayaraj with lyrics by others, includes the surprisingly named Antarctica. With lyrics by Madhan Karky and sung in Tamil, it’s a bouncy dance tune about the love of his wife from the officer’s point of view, with references to cold Antarctica and penguins. There is an energetic video track of the song in YouTube, played out on sports fields and gyms with groups of schoolgirl athletes in different sports. Gemini Audio
SOMETHING YOU CULTIVATE by Luke d’ Eća (2012) (Web site download only)
This is the solo album of Lisbon, Portugal-based rock singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Luke d’Eća, who was a member of a punk-pop group on a popular teen soap opera. The group had a top national hit and turned into a real touring band. One of the songs on his CD has the evocative title, Tea in the Antarctic, a reflection on the near-impossible dream. Luke told us about the song: “Well, it’s not really about the Antarctic. It’s about wishing certain things were to change in the world.” Sample lyrics: “Just as probable as it is for wars to stop across the world, as often as honesty is rewarded in this world, in the second that you see, I’m the one for you, this is when I’ll be having tea, tea in the Antarctic, having tea in the Antarctic…I’ll be swimming by the ice floes, my kettle will boil in the glaciers, I’ll be flying outside Saturn…singing love is the way…I’ll be having tea, singing that is the way…having tea, tea in the Antarctic.”
SUCH IS LIFE by To Die Once More (2012) (Web site download only)
This is a 5-song EP by a Florida, U.S.A.-based heavy metal/metalcore band, which formed in 2008. One of the tracks is Antarctica. Sample lyrics: “How far away do I have to get from you before I can breathe? Two years I’ve been waiting for this and it only took one week for my dreams to come true. The next day, my aspirations came crashing down. After all the hours I’ve spent on you, my time’s wasted. Why did you have to be the one who lit the match that set my world on fire? Burned to the ground and filled with smoke is my new home. I can’t put enough miles between us...between you and me.” The band’s manager explained that “The title represents coldness (emotion) and solitude.” www.todieoncemore.com
WATERCOLOURS – EP by Sunnyfield Lane (2012) (Web site download only)
This is a 3-song EP by an Atlanta, Georgia-based alternative folk-rock duo. One of the songs is Antarctica,
Sample lyrics: “We can hide out from the cold, don’t stop, show me how to go. We’ve been living in Antarctica and it’s too cold to live, without ya, without ya, without ya. Teach me how to survive, my skin is too thin for this ice...I’ll run, I’ll run to you.” Jordan Shaw and Tyler Greene, the group’s members, told us about the song: “We wrote Antarctica about feeling isolated but yet in love. We wanted to write about not being able to live an emotionally cold life and created a story about Antarctica, meaning much more than a destination.” www.sunnyfieldlane.com
DOCTOR VERITAS by Svyatogor (2012)
Svyatogor is a black metal band from Ukraine and their third CD has songs in Ukrainian, Russian, French and English. This interesting record incorporates folk sounds plus violins and saxophone alongside the heavy metal. One of the English-lyric songs is Awoke/ Incoming (Antarctic Solitude) – a terrifying tale of aliens awaking in the Antarctic and taking over mankind. Sample lyrics: “The king of all matters, Must kill these human creatures. Divine full of hatred, Arrive from far galaxy…But fury awoke in Antarctic ices, Will occupy our place. It comes from ice, Curse time is out, Truth comes alive. Antarctic solitude, Awoke eternal fury, Will open cosmic gates, The master whelmed the slaves.” Svarga Music SVG02
EASE THE MEDIC by Ease the Medic (2012) (Vinyl LP and Web site download only)
Ease the Medic is a Columbus, Ohio-based rock group whose second full-length record has the track Antarctic Stare. The song’s yearnful lyrics are: “When winter’s ice fills your lungs, don’t choke on broken chards of lost hope and fanned fumes, this Antarctic stare lulls us both to sleep softly, there’s still fire within your heart, an isolated warming, a crack in this thin veneer, there’s still fire, it bellows through and evaporates around you, watch the warmth disappear, a touch from blackened fingertips still calms, murmurs from chapped lips “thank you” drifts into thin air, lulls us both to sleep softly, there’s still fire within your voice, isolation warning, a helpful hand can steer you clear, there’s still fire, it bellows through and evaporates around you, watch the words disappear, but they’ll always stay right here with me.” The LP cover is an image of the iconic photo of explorers fighting the winds, A Blizzard at Winter Quarters, Cape Denison, Antarctica, ca. 1913, by Antarctic photographer Frank Hurley. It was taken at Mawson Base, called the windiest spot on earth, during the 1911-14 (Mawson) Australasian Antarctic Expedition. The lyrics sheet is also printed on a photo of Exercising the Dogs, Antarctica, ca. 1915, a photo of Frank Hurley out with a dog team during Shackleton’s Endurance Antarctic Expedition of 1914-16. WeWantAction WWA023; www.myspace.com/easethemedic
ANTARCTICA by Fyrce Muons (2012)
Fyrce Muons is an eclectic Utah, U.S.A-based experimental rock group, which has issued a remarkable 40 albums since forming in 1979. Michael McGee, the group’s guru, manager and recording engineer, told us: “Antarctica is an album about heroin addiction and is a metaphor for the isolation and desolation of the addict.” The tracks, with their short titles include Below, Clear Enough, Crevices, Far, Peak, Plummet, Red for Ice, Rise Deep, Slipping, Shear and The Crust blog.cynykylart.com; www.cynykylart.com
WITH YOUR LOVE by the Daydreamers (2012)
The Daydreamers are a melodic indie pop/rock quartet from Woodstock, N.Y., which has been playing together for five years and released a self-produced EP in 2008. Their current 7-song EP has the great-sounding opening, radio-friendly track, Antarctica. Sample lyrics: “Oh Antarctica, you were never so cold, I’ll have you know, that if I cross my fingers, I hope your warmth might linger for a little while. Oh Antarctica, will it ever get old, I hope it won’t, but if I cross my fingers, I hope you’ll let me linger for a little while.” Wyatt Mones, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and songwriter told us about the song: “Antarctica is sort of filled with metaphors and double-entendres. But essentially the song is about love and motivation, whether for a person or something you want to do. I like to write songs that are more subjective, but for me the song was both about my love for a girl, and my passion for music, but also whether the one girl I loved would join me on that path. To me, Antarctica is very mysterious and beautiful, as is love. Antarctica feels intangible because it’s so vast and far away, and so does love because it’s so strong, yet so fleeting at times that it can be hard to tell if it was ever even real. The line “You were never so cold, I’ll have you know” has numerous meanings: 1. In the more literal sense, Antarctica is cold but to me its beauty and brightness gives it an immense sense of warmth; 2. “warm” and “cold” are also terms used referring to distance, and I was trying to say how when you love someone, or have a dream/goal and are so motivated to reach it, that it never really seems so far away, and it gives you warmth in just knowing it’s there; 3. I also was using the word “cold” as in “harsh”. When things seem so bad, or people seem “cold”, so to speak, they’re never really as bad as you think. There are many more lyrics, obviously, but one other line is “or will your sweet fingers carve the trails, to my demise”. Sometimes you worry if the path you’re taking in life is the right one, or whether a relationship is so deep that it will be the death of you if it ever ends. For such a beautiful place, Antarctica is the also harshest environment in the world. Hopefully this gives some meaning/background as to why I wrote Antarctica.” www.thedaydreamersmusic.com
ANTARCTICA AWAKES! by Grant (2012) (Web site download only)
Grant (Balfour) is a Florida, U.S.A.-based writer/editor, non-fiction story teller, filmmaker and musician whose Web site, the Guild of Scientific Troubadours is dedicated to songs of knowledge and discovery and science. The membership pledge is to write, record and submit one song per month based on a story in one of a number of scientific publications. One of Grant’s songs is Antarctica Awakes!, based on an article in the Jan. 31, 2012 Washington Post, about Antarctica’s under-ice Lake Vostok. His Web site explains the track: “This is the anthem for the scientists seeking knowledge two miles below the Antarctic ice, in the subglacial, volcanic Lake Vostok. With some extra awareness that they are acting out a part from a Lovecraftian horror story. This is an anthem, written for Song Fu 2102. The prompt was simply too good to pass up – Neil Gaiman challenged participants to… “Write the national anthem for a new country. A country made up of, well, people like us.” Already considering the nationless space of Antarctica for something involving whatever is sleeping below Lake Vostok, it was a short leap to an anthem for people like us. Drawn to the frozen wastes by an urge they can barely name. I grew up listening to national anthem albums, so I could already feel how this one should go. With a little more time and a full orchestra, I would have interpolated something like the frenzied strings from Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slav somewhere…but really, a Cossack choir, pipe organ and bagpipes were enough. Now, everyone stand and salute the white flag of our science utopia….”
Lyrics: “Lenses gleam through jets of steam, Above volcanic lakes, We guide devices through miles of ice, Till Antarctica awakes! Hear our voices on the wind, & rumbling from below, Nameless things await within, From 20 million years ago, Our home fires burn as our engines turn, The ground begins to quake, With winch and steel, by gear and wheel, Till Antarctica awakes! See the shadows on the storm, Faces in the snow, Nameless things shall be reborn, From 20 million years ago, Drill and dredge to define our legend - as every limit breaks, So knowledge shines in the darkest mines, Till Antarctica awakes! Feel the shift behind your eyes, Hold fast to what you know, What nameless sleeps but never dies, From 20 million years ago, Through reason, hope and microscope, What we build, no one unmakes, Through logic, wish and radar dish, Till Antarctica awakes!” www.grantimatter.com; www.myspace.com/grantmusic; www.guildofscientifictroubadours.com; www.grantb.bandcamp.com/track/antarctica-awakes
ORION: THE AGE OF WONDER - VOLUME III by Bob Nordquist & The Intangibles (2012)
Bob Nordquist is a Saint Paul, Minnesota-area vocalist and guitarist whose rock group plays music in a variety of North American and World styles. Their seventh and latest CD has the track Antarctica, which Bob explained: “The song Antarctica comes at the conclusion of a 3-disk CD set called “The Age of Wonder”. This CD set follows the lives of the Baby Boom generation using audio from the NASA space program to show the ups and downs of the different stages in our lives. Antarctica comes in the sequence of songs at a time of disillusionment with how this person’s hopes and dreams of the future have resulted in a world where he/she feels he doesn’t fit in and doesn’t understand. He dreams of finding a place of solitude where he can escape the problems of the modern world. But when he goes to the extreme of picturing himself in Antarctica, he comes to realize that he has a place and a responsibility to finish the job he started and to pass on a healthy planet and society to his grandchildren. Antarctica was important in this to me as the writer, because it is a focus of so many of the environmental issues we face with global warming, melting ice caps and depletion of the ozone. It also has an interesting political dynamic, which fitting into the theme of the space program of this CD set, could be used as a model once humankind starts to move off the planet.” www.bobnordquist.com; www.intangiblesband.com
CAMOUFLAGE NIGHTS by Camouflage Nights (2012)
Camouflage Nights is the Toronto, Canada-based electro-rock duo of Ian McGettigan and Rob Benvie, who are originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The two musicians/producers have a multi-styled mixture of party songs, including the 5-minute Antarctica, a part sung and part rap piece. Rap lyrics: “I’m at the bottom of the world, nothing but whiteness, well out of reach and no one to fight with, no library, no vegetable garden, wishing for company and begging for pardon, static on the radio, no sound track, no graphic, no distractions, no riff-raff and no traffic, it’s cold and it’s clean, there’s no tomorrow morning, it’s utterly beautiful and terribly boring, snow up to here, up hill both ways, all I can do is keep the fire going most days, shoveling my way out, humming a tune, can’t tell the difference between the sun and the moon. I’m untouched exterior and no stuffing, ground made of icicles, king of absolutely nothing, perfectly still, feeling hardened and car-sick, twenty-four hours darkness in the Antarctic.” Sonic Unyon Records SunCD1342; www.camouflagenights.ca; www.myspace.com/camouflagenights
DAYBREAK by Mark Brandt (2012)
Mark Brandt is a Dallas, Texas-based guitarist whose instrumental CD has six solo acoustic guitar pieces, including the 4-minute Winds of Antarctica. Mark explained the background of the track, a dynamically strummed piece, which gusts along in the manner of the winds it portrays: “Normally when I write music, I’ll come up with different song parts and get them arranged and completed before I try to figure out what the song is about and give it a title. Winds of Antarctica was a little different, but only because I came up with the title half way through the music writing process. So I did actually have an image in my head when I wrote the second half of the song. But I haven’t been to Antarctica, so really the song is based on fantasy rather than reality. To me, the song sounds cold, with various levels of intensity...like the wind. That’s pretty much where the title comes from.” Available from CDBaby.com
KITU SUA PPROJECT by Eric Endrade and Zeltia Montes (2012) (Web site download only)
This is an ambitious musical production by Eric Endrade, a young Saint Paul, Minnesota musician and film composer, which also includes a track, Traffic in India, composed by Zeltia Montes, a young Spanish/American composer of classical and modern music who has won many international awards for her film compositions. According to the album publicity, “The Kitu Sua Project is a reminder to the world that people can still do decent things for someone they don’t know. This music should also remind us that at any moment, a single person can do anything they want regardless of how big the task is. This album is dedicated to those who have suffered, not because of a broken bone, heart attack or disease, but because they had no choice but to suffer. Music for peace is what this album is all about; music is a healing process. The Kitu Sua Project is a world music album that is going to benefit those in need who are starving around the world. All of the profit made from this album are going to be donated to Action Against Hunger, a non-profit based out of New York City.”
The various tracks are named for each of the continents as well as aspects of the earth’s landscape, such as the ocean and the Himalayas. While the compositions are generally instrumentals, played in a melodic orchestral world music style, with plenty of rhythms and percussion, a few of the songs use solo vocal and choir accompaniments. The 4-minute track Antarctica stands out by being sung by an unaccompanied, plaintive ecclesiastical-sounding choir. Eric explained the track to us: “Using a choir for the track Antarctica was a creative choice for me. Since most of the album is very bombastic and on a large scale, I wanted to have a track that was calm and peaceful. Since the Antarctic landscape is cold and harsh, I went with an all-female choir to represent that in the music. Using a choir in the high range, I believe, represented Antarctica in my eyes. In the track and in the album title, Kitu Sua means “something beautiful” and it’s in Swahili. The text is in a multiple number of languages including Latin, Swahili, and even some made up words. I had to have multiple languages because I wrote the music first and finding words with the right number of syllables was tough.” www.facebook.com/KituSuaProject; www.zeltiamontes.com
JUST THIS SHY OF HAPPY by Flipping the Pig (2012)
Flipping the Pig is the solo recording project of Detroit, Michigan-based Jeff Mansk, whose seventh full CD of eclectic alternative pop-rock songs covers many topics under the sun with wit. Included is the 7-minute track Antarctica. Sample lyrics: “We will wait until the cold covers completely. We will let it do as it shall. Thoughts will disappear and dreams will fill us all. Let those near take us in. Valentine drawn in snow. We are ready to go. Take me, Antarctica I give in. Take me, Antarctica. You win.”
Jeff told us about the cryptic lyrics: “I have to admit, I’m both fairly ignorant of and fascinated by the Antarctic region. The song began when I asked a friend of mine, Randy Wyatt, a playwright with whom I’ve collaborated, if he’d give me 10-20 song titles, simply to spark some inspiration. A lot of them were longer and humorous, but in the midst of it all was Antarctica. It leaped out and I went with it. I knew it was going to be a “big” song, which appealed to me as I’ve generally stayed within the 2-3 minute range. I had just recently watched the movie The Grey (technically Alaska, but still...), as well as a documentary on Jim Jones and the Peoples’ Temple, so lyrically, it initially was a marriage of the two: a cult of some sort doing themselves in, in Arctic surroundings. I frightened myself singing it with that intent, though. So...What it became, and what I prefer, is more universal, though still bothersome I suppose: in essence, the giving of oneself over to something we can’t fully understand and/or comprehend but that has the power to overwhelm and be unstoppable in its immensity. It’s pretty subjective, though, as that’s just the feeling I get when I think of that region. And, odd as it might sound, a lot of what goes into the “creepier” tunes has to do with the fact that I’ve had nightmares regularly since I was a kid, and they often involved similar situations. Of course, just typing all that, I think, “Damn, do I sound pretentious?” That’s a peek into what it is (to me).” www.flippingthepig.com; www.myspace.com/flippingthepig
WITHOUT SIGHT by Vanessa Torres (2012)
Vanessa Torres is a Portland, Maine-based award-winning, socially-conscious songwriter and folksinger who has toured nationally. Her third CD of polished, well-played and performed songs includes the plaintive 5½-minute track Antarctica. Sample lyrics: “ I know I have angels, gathered all around, they won’t stop me from falling apart on this ground…I’m a rudderless boat, the lee is a lighthouse, in the Antarctic and I’m looking for guidance, about to go far…Can you harbour a storm, lend me a home even when I don’t ask?” Vanessa explained about the track: “The song was titled Antarctica more from a place of symbolism than a tangible relationship to Antarctica as a physical place. The song speaks to that feeling of isolation one feels when she is searching for connection and place. It is a song that is calling out to the divine, to the heavens to shed some light on where she is and where to go next. Antarctica to me symbolizes the edge of a frontier, an expanse of ice and snow where the individual is dwarfed and vulnerable. It felt like fitting imagery for the themes that the song discusses.” www.vanessatorresmusic.com; www.myspace.com/touchingground
AURORAE by Since Antarctica (2012)
Since Antarctica is a Washington, D.C.-based alt rock band with a multi-sided, melodic heavy rock sound and energetic live shows. Although their first 5-song EP doesn’t have any direct Antarctic songs on it, at least the band name and CD cover with colourful reflections warrant attention. Shannon Woods, the lead vocalist told us abut the group: “We tend to gravitate towards musical themes that to us reflect the feel of cold, stark, and uninhabited places - both Antarctica and space are places we draw inspiration from - and the intersection of those two are why we often gravitate towards aurora imagery. (Among other things, our drummer’s kick drum graphic is a stylized aurora.) In that vein, the title of our EP, AURORAE, is intended both to be a reference to the Aurora Australis, and to the simple Latin meaning, “dawn”, as it’s our first studio recording.” AR001; www.sinceantarctica.com
BEYOND THE SEA by Rebecca Penkett (2012) (Web site download only)
Rebecca Penkett is a West Yorkshire, U.K.-based musician and holistic therapist and teacher. This EP of three quiet and soothing instrumentals was inspired by images of Antarctica. She explained: “A friend of mine was working in Antarctica for 18 months with the British Antarctic Survey and before he left, I asked if he’d email some photos. I printed off various photos and put two on a music stand and then this music started coming through as I was looking at them whilst playing my harp. I also used to work in the Chemistry Department at Cambridge University which is right next to the Scott Polar Research Institute, which also inspired a connection to Antarctica for me.” Another full-length CD, HARP CONNECTIONS (2012) has a related track, Penguins. www.harpconnections.net
BUNNY by Aloonaluna (2012) (Web site download and cassette)
Aloonaluna is the solo recording project of Lynn Nguyen Fister, a former Floridian, now based in San Francisco, U.S.A. She is a multi-media artist who began collaborating with other musicians on musical projects in 2008 with field recordings and a variety of non-conventional instruments. This recording of light, airy pop with dreamy vocal accompaniments includes the track Antarctica. Lyrics: “Count the stars for me, count the stars, ribbons of stars, hee ha, hee haw, hee ya. And when you find, the summer glacier, take a picture, for me. And the boat hums, on the ice, and it’ll be clear, I want to be in Antarctica.” She explained the track to us: “I have a friend who is an oceanographer. Last summer he went on a vessel to Antarctica for research. He made field recordings of the sounds and sent them to me, thinking I could use them in my music. His striking photographs of glaciers also made quite an impression on me, and I would often check out the webcam of their exhibition. I’ve always wanted to see glaciers! Anyway, although I didn’t use the field recordings that my friend made in the song, these were the inspiration for the song. For this track, I instead opted to mimic the humming soundscapes of the boat in its icy environment with my synth. When I sent it to him, he said the song not only captured the tangible sounds he was hearing in Antarctica, but somehow it also reminded him of the more intangible, emotional sentiments of this trip to this most mystical, southern continent. It is a dream of mine that one day I’ll see Antarctica myself! Until then, I can just imagine through song.” www.aloonaluna.com; www.myspace.com/aloonaluna; www.aloonaluna.bandcamp.com
GROUND DWELLER by Hands Like Houses (2012)
Hands Like Houses is a young Canberra, Australia-based rock group with a big melodic sound and a developing national and international touring schedule. Their first CD has the track Antarctica, a metaphorical song about a father’s wise words urging his children to keep their feet on the ground and to be cautious of the outside world when “crossing the borders between the never and the night.” Rise Records RISE 154; www.myspace.com/handslikehouses
ANGELS AND ENEMIES by Sound of Guns (2012)
Sound of Guns is a Liverpool, U.K.-based rock group, formed in 2008. They have an anthemic arena-rock sound and their first full CD includes the track Antarctica, about cold loneliness. Sample lyrics: “You can hear the screams but you can’t make the words, the silence hits you harder than a train. You feel a shiver run up and down your stairs, you cross your heart and hope to tranquilize. Here it comes, here it comes now, it’s so cold now you’re frozen out. No blue light calm will ever come, never come.” Distiller Records DTLBM008; www.soundofguns.com; www.myspace.com/soundofguns
YG: DRASIL by Boreal Taiga (2012)
Boreal Taiga is the solo project of ambient musician JimDe, originally a West Coast American, who is now based in Norway, above the Arctic Circle. He has 20 years of electronic music experience and has produced many recordings of his Arctic influenced music. While his current record is an interpretation of northern sounds, it also has the track Antarctic Magellanic Clouds. We asked about the inclusion of this title with northern and Arctic tracks and he replied: “My music reflects the Earth’s polar regions. More so in the northern hemispheres. My good friend, Richard Sidey (an award-winning New Zealand nature photographer and filmmaker) created a short, non verbal film, titled Landscapes at the World’s Ends. He travels often to Antarctica, in fact, he just returned from a 2-month trip there, his third. I also am fascinated by astronomy, and with my music I was lacking an Antarctic, southern polar region theme. I had read some books on the Magellanic Clouds and that area of the sky can be viewed from Antarctica, apparently. Thus the title. The entire movie from Richard has my music throughout. It was filmed at the north polar regions as well as Antarctica.” www.borealtaiga.com; www.richardsidey.com
THE CONTINENTS – Concerto for Jazz Quintet & Chamber Orchestra by Chick Corea (2012)
This is a double CD by Chick Corea, a pianist and composer who is one of the masters of the modern jazz world, with 16 Grammy awards over the years. He began his career in the 1960s, appearing on many records by trumpeter Miles Davis and touring with him. He has continued to play with many jazz greats over the years and may be most popularly known for forming Return to Forever in 1971, an evolving jazz fusion group with many iconic members and versions over the 1970s. In later years, in addition to many recordings and musical collaborations, Corea furthered his interest in classical music composition and performances. The first CD in this set contains the concerto, The Continents, with individual suites named after the continents, including the 13-minute Antarctica. With many tempo changes and imitations of bleak winds, Antarctica can be imagined as a portrayal of the many varied sounds and moods of the icy continent. Commissioned for the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birthday by Mozart Year Vienna in 2006, The Continents was also known as Piano Concerto No. 2 and had its premiŹre at the Vienna State Opera House in July 2006. Subsequently, Corea also presented the concerto in various European cities. According to the CD liner notes, “Making music for a combination of orchestral musicians and jazz musicians has endless possibilities. Appreciation for the abilities each has for the other makes for an atmosphere charged with high interest, creative communication and new ideas. This was the setting for the composing and recording of The Continents – for me, a dream come true…The music may have its technical flaws, as perfection was never the goal – but I’m pleased that the music was made in the Spirit of Play, which was the initial intent of the composition after being invited to write a “piano concerto in the spirit of Mozart” by the Wiener Mozartjahr.”” The quintet includes Tim Garland, Hans Glawischnig, Marcus Gilmore and Steve Davis. The hand-picked orchestra, conducted by Steven Mercurio, includes members of The Harlem Quartet and Imant Winds. Deutsche Grammophon B0016441-02; www.chickcorea.com
UNBEUGSAM – UNBERECHENBAR – UNSTERBLICH (DEFIANCE – UNPREDICTABLE – IMMORTAL) LIVE IN BOCHUM by Samsas Traum (2012)
ANLEITUNG ZUM TOTSEIN (GUIDE TO BEING DEAD) by Samsas Traum (2011)
Samsas Traum is a German rock/metal group formed in 1996, led by vocalist Alexander Kaschte. They have made over a dozen records, which include an eclectic mix of symphonic arrangements and comedy routines. The group’s 2012 live album was supposed to mark the end of its touring days. The 2011 CD has the original studio track and the 2012 CD has a live concert track of A - wie “Antarktika” (A – Like “Antarctica”), a poetic work about a captain on his ship, plowing through the ice on the way to Antarctica. Alexander explained the deeper meaning of the song to us in 2013: “The song is about my wife Anastasia - it describes an expedition to Antarctica with all the occurring problems, the coldness, the ice, the silence, the vastness. Everything is meant in a metaphorical way...I describe how I managed to make Asja marry me, how I fought with her, how problematic our first year was after the marriage (we lived in Moscow for a while). Anastasia stands for Antarctica, something you have to win, to conquer, to solve.” Trisol Music Group TRI 454 CD; TRI 427 CD; www.soundcloud.com/samsastraum
CAVE PAINTINGS by James Higgins (2011)
James Higgins is a Pacific Northwest, U.S.A.-based Scottish musician who has lived and travelled over continental Europe as a folksinger. His tenth CD has the track James Caird, about the boat used by Ernest Shackleton and his small crew in their perilous journey to South Georgia in 1916 to seek rescue for their stranded crew on Elephant Island. Sample lyrics: “Eight hundred miles from the pack ice, South Georgia Island looks like Eden…Bigger ships than this were swallowed whole, and all for a crack at Pole…I’ll say this much right now for Shackleton, either he was mad or he had guts, and no one thought he’d be back for us, but he gave us hope, at least it’s all he had.” The plucked double bass by Aaron Harmonson, underpinning the song, adds a sense of edginess to the tale and with the added bowed bass, it’s easy to imagine the wooden frame of the James Caird creaking in the swells of the ocean.
James explained the reason for his song: “I imagine you are already familiar with the story of Shackleton’s rescue of his stranded crew from Elephant Island and how he sailed to South Georgia Island in the James Caird. So I won’t repeat it. Personally I was just captivated by the sheer desperation and daring of his plan and how he achieved it in the end. I have always been fascinated by stories of exploration, especially back when there was still plenty to explore. I will read anything on explorers. I think I wish that that era still existed. I like to enjoy their eyewitness accounts of days of old. Captain Cook, Lewis and Clark, Darwin’s trip on the Beagle. All those guys. Marco Polo, Bering, Dampier, the Vikings. I guess it was inevitable it would creep into my song writing. The Antarctic back in Shackleton’s time must have been like going to another planet. In fact, it probably still is.” James’ album THE SIGNALMAN’S LEAP (2012) has an alternate recording of the same track, called James Caird # 1. www.jameshigginsmusician.com
YOU KNOW BETTER by Ruthless Antarctic Empire (2011) (Web site download only)
Ruthless Antarctic Empire is the solo electro/acoustic rock music project of Kansas City, Missouri-based Brett McAtee. This 3-track EP has the 4½-minute song Mt. Erebus, which Brett explained to us in 2013: “The name of the project, and the song Mt. Erebus, came from a concept album I was working on about a fictional Antarctic Empire that never fully materialized. I’ve always been fascinated by the Antarctic and would love to see it someday!” www.brettmcatee.com; www.ruthlessantarctic.bandcamp.com
DOCUMENTATION OF MY JOURNEY TO ANTARCTICA by the COOL Cartel, featuring ColdHearted Kirk (2011) (Web site download only)
Long Beach, Southern California-based the COOL Cartel is a collection of four west coast hip hop emcees. According to their biography, they “came together to make music through a mutual drive and passion. Collectively this group has been through everything, from life’s up and downs, from life and death situations to everyday obstacles, to coming from poverty, to overcoming negative stereotypes of young black...males in their environment…This group aims to redirect hip hop’s attention towards lyricism and positivity as well as feel-good relatable music that is fun as well as inspirational. Kirk (Franco, aka Victor E. Francl), brings his experience as the eldest member and his production skills, Man Man brings inspiration, soul and his incredible drive, Wane Dog provides raw lyricism and supreme wit, and Meezy is front and ladies man, he brings his charisma, that unique quality that few have to their music. The COOL Cartel’s a breath of fresh air in this polluted music industry.”
Although an intriguing record title, only the 2-minute first track, Documentation of My Journey to Antarctica - Omw, (presumably On My Way), has direct references to Antarctica: “I’m heading to the frostiest metropolis, this ice cold novelis…” and goes on to rhyme “Antarctica” with “Betty and Veronica”, “erotica” and other tongue-in-cheek references. Victor explained to us in 2013: “I call my record label Rhymes from Antarctica...the sound I try to capture is a man recording his music from an isolated bunker in Antarctica...with dated equipment and broadcasting from there live so that the sound is rather distorted or jumbled.” www.hotnewhiphop.com/documentation-of-my-journey-to-antarctica-mixtape.15810.html; www.mixtapepass.com/music/19665
HACIA LO SALVAJE (INTO THE WILD)