Gletschermusik crowns a 12 month traveling festival through the countries of Central Asia in 2013 featuring multimedia concerts, promoting dialogue between artists, scientists, nationalities, genres and traditions.
“Gletschermusik” (Glacier Music) uses the sounds and images of Central Asia’s melting glaciers as source material and inspiration. Berlin’s Robert Lippok & Kyrgyz musician Askat Jetigen were invited to create an audio- visual performance and a series of concerts. The project promotes the exchange between science and the arts, creating awareness of the human-induced deterioration of the pristine Central Asian environment and was instigated by the Goethe-Institutes in Tashkent and Almaty.
Retreating glaciers, rising sea levels, and shrinking lakes are some of the increasingly obvious consequences of rising temperatures and changing weather patterns. This is particularly important for the people of Central Asia, whose water supplies depend on the region’s glaciers. In June 2012, the Goethe-Institute launched the Gletschermusik Project, a series of events which aims to create a space for regional and international cooperation between artists, scientists and environmental activists. Regional and international artists have been invited to explore common ground between art and science. The overall goal of the project was to provide an opportunity to exchange perceptions and experiences while seeking solutions to urgent environmental problems. In addition, the project reached out to students through educational materials and exhibitions.
The project was inspired by an expedition to the Tujuksu glacier near the Kazakh city of Almaty. This expedition recorded the sounds of the melting glacier at an altitude of 3500m, placing highly sensitive microphones in the crevices of the glacier, capturing the melting process. Artists and journalists from Central Asia and Europe accompanied the expedition.
On ‘Gletschermusik’ the field recordings are second to none – very accurate recording of both the gales and the melting ice. The electronic composition on Gletschermusik almost acts like a background to the folk music; allowing Askat Jetigen to take the mantle of dominant musician.
Recorded as a noise piece ‘Gletschermusik’ stands well – as a world music album, ‘Gletschermusik,’ it stands as an excellent example – whilst the technical musicality of the world instruments is lost on me – the playing ability of Askat Jetigen is remarkable; you don’t need to be an aficionado of the Kyrgyzstan music scene to know that. Born in Kyrgyzstan in 1993, Askat studied musical composition and Komuz at ”Ustatshakirt” from 2005. He was taught by one of the greatest Komuz players Zainidin Imanaliev and, in addition, has studied all Kyrgyz traditional musical instruments. He is the acting Musical Director of folk-ethno theatre “Ordo Sakhna” who have been composing music since 2013.
However, the real star of the album is the Glacier itself – it runs as a timeless constant throughout the album with the music buffeting off it – echoing towards the final track, the conclusion.
With elements of spoken word, electronic composition and traditional instruments – this album is a very solid body of work; it is a complete document that will hopefully rally the people in to helping protect the Glaciers.