Making music from the sounds of Iceland’s glaciers

“There’s a huge sense of urgency to make some kind of artistic tribute to these glaciers, now before they totally recede away,” Charles Van Kirk posits.

Last year, the composer and audio engineer traveled from his home in Brooklyn, New York to the distant shores of Iceland for one sole purpose: to capture the larger-than-life sounds of the Vatnajökull Glacier.

Covering approximately 8% of the entire country, the glacier is the largest in all of Europe—however, due to the impact of climate change, it’s expected to be completely melted within 100 – 150 years. “It was… a bit eerie to stand on them and think about that,” Van Kirk reflects. “It was humbling, it was surreal… I’ve never seen anything quite like these ice formations. This particular iceberg may never sound exactly like that again. It’s a beautiful snapshot of a moment in time—that’s what I’m trying to make music for.”

In the video above, Van Kirk takes us into the DAW to demonstrate how one can use the sounds from his journey as inspiration for making music. If you’re interested in trying this out yourself, in recognition of Earth Day we’re sharing the sounds he captured via this Splice Explores pack. We’re eager to hear how musicians celebrate the glacier through their creations.

Incorporate the Vatnajökull Glacier’s sounds into your own productions:

April 22, 2021