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File under: Field Recordings

Nicolas Perret, Silvia Ploner


Label: Unfathomless

Format: CD

Genre: Electronic

In stock


In 1963, off the coast of Iceland, an island emerged after an underwater volcanic eruption, a rare event that occurs on average twice a century. It was given the name Surtsey, after Surtr, the fire giant of Norse mythology. The surface of this new land grew after further eruptions until June 1967 when it had reached 2.65 square kilometers in size and poked 175 meters out of the sea. Surtsey has been an object of research as no other territory has been before, since it bares the unique possibility to study in-scale the creation of an ecosystem. Closed to the public since its birth, only a few scientists have access to the island once per year for four days. To this day more than half of the initial territory of Surtsey has disappeared. The violent waves of the winter degrade its coasts and the wind erodes its surface. Scientists estimate that in 2120, two-thirds of the surface will be gone and erosion will have laid bare its heart of palagonite, a rock that might withstand for a few thousand years.

Being the youngest member of the Westman archipelago, Surtsey serves science as a window to the past of the older islands. Reciprocally, those older islands are studied as windows to what Surtsey might become like in the future. Following this approach of the island as sort of “time capsule,” we investigated in Surtsey′s assumed past, present and possible future in exploring the sonic environment of Surtsey as well as the one of its neighboring islands. The resulting sound piece Nýey evolves around the motifs of creation, colonization and metamorphose of a territory.

Nýey is composed of:
Field recordings from Bjarnarey and Elliðaey, two older islands of the Westman archipelago.
Field recordings from the volcano Eldfell and the new territory its eruption created in 1973 on the island Heimaey.
Field recordings from Surtsey, recorded through a sound trap by Borgþór Magnússon (expedition leader on Surtsey).

The piece also contains words by three generations of scientists engaged with the island and samples from the original music of the movie “Surtur fer sunnan” (Ósvaldur Knudsen, Iceland 1964), composed by Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson.

(Nicolas Perret & Silvia Ploner, March 2015)

File under: Field Recordings
Cat. number: U28
Year: 2017
Composed by Nicolas Perret & Silvia Ploner Mixed by François Bonnet @ 116 Bunker Words by Sturla Friðriksson, Borgþór Magnússon, Erling Ólafsson and Bjarni D. Sigurðsson from the Surtsey Research Society. Additional sounds are taken from the original music of the movie "Surtur fer sunnan" (Ósvaldur Knudsen, Iceland 1964), composed by Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson. Location : All sounds are drifted from recordings made on and around the islands of Bjarnarey, Elliðaey and Heimaey by Nicolas Perret & Silvia Ploner and on the island of Surtsey by Borgþór Magnússon in February and July 2013. Limited edition of 200 hand-numbered copies. All include an additional art card on 300gr satin-paper. Packaged in clear vinyl sleeve with folded insert.