The River Torridge Ice Instrument

We worked alongside Sound UK on Ice Music, the final event of the season in November 2012, with incredible Norwegian musician Terje Isungset. We also asked Chris Leonard at Appledore Fish Docks, north Devon, to freeze some water from the River Torridge, in order to create Ice Chimes.

The reason behind the experiment all became clear at the event, Ice Music in Appledore Baptist Church, when members of the public were able to play the instrument themselves, and Terje included it in his mesmerising performance.

Norwegian Terje Isungset performs by taking raw materials from frozen lakes and glaciers from the heart of Norway and carefully carving this centuries-old ice into percussion and blown instruments that create beautiful, poetic sounds.

Chris made 7 chimes, they were about 8-10 cm in diameter and the longest one was about 150 cm long. The others were a series of sequentially shorter chimes. Chris sourced a range of special xylophone hammers via Totnes from China and the wooden frame to hold the chimes is made from wood grown and harvested locally in north Devon. 

The chimes were hung using thin leather straps. The leather comes from south Devon and has been tanned using a 200 year old tanning process using natural oak tannins and is powered by a water wheel. 

You can also read the feature about Terje Isungset's rural tour, produced by SoundUK in The Independent here and in The Wire here or read the feature in the Western Morning News