WTF?! Wednesdays: Terje Isungset, “Iceman Is” (2002)

As I write this, yet another snow storm is heading toward the northeastern United States. This is really no big deal except for some of are kind of done with it for the year. I include myself in that camp, though I’m not willing to do something as stupid as say, move to Texas. But the monotony of long evenings, windows frozen shut, and the treachery of ice on every walking path must be dealt with. What better way to accomplish this than to listen to some music played on instruments made of ice?

Yes, you read that right. Norwegian percussionist Terje Isungset has made a career out of creating music with ice instruments. Not only was his 2002 album Iceman Is made using such frozen instruments (percussion, trumpet, harp), but the album was recorded in a specially-constructed igloo at the Ice Hotel in Sweden.

The resonance from the ice being struck by mallets is quite unique, but it’s the trumpet (plus the ghosty voice of Lena Willemark) that gives this track an especially desolate and eerie sound. I’ll be inside listening to this tomorrow. It beats the heck out of running a snow blower…or moving to Texas.

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to, and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at