Vanilla Ice, Why Didn't You Think of This? Swedish Rockers Issue Record Album Made Out Of Ice

Shout out louds/Video screen capture

You can make a record out of just about anything; sound is simply vibrating air, and anything can record the vibrations. Edison's first recordings were on tinfoil; others used paper, even soot. Old 78's were made of shellac, alcoholics could melt them down and get a good drink out of them. Edison gets the credit for inventing the phonograph, but Emile Berliner figured out the record as we know it; a flat disk where he created a master out of zinc that could stamp out records by the thousands, in a process not much different than putting batter in a waffle iron. Vinyl worked really well, but really, anything that you can pour into a mould will work; if the material will hold the pattern the sound will come out.

That's why making a record album out of ice is so absurd. Technologically it is trivial, and logically it makes no sense at all. To do it, the artists, Sweden's Shout Out Louds, send out a lovely box that contains a silicone mould and a bottle of distilled water. (Tap water leaves bubbles in the record). It is a whole lot of stuff to play a song that is ultimately nothing more than a record of a series of vibrations. Their video shows how you pour in the water, freeze the album, peel off the silicone and play the record. It doesn't tell you how to clean up the mess as the record melts all over your turntable.

I am downplaying the difficulty of what they went through; according to Jordan at Co.Design, it was hard.

We talked to professors at different universities telling us it would never work out, so we had to develop the technique ourselves,” he [Alex Fredlund] says. After receiving a negative imprint of the song’s master cut, they started experimenting; the office became a kind of amateur chemistry lab, and the team spent hours testing different types of liquid, various drying techniques, and multiple kinds of molds.

But seriously, it is great publicity but a lousy record. Download the bits and bytes version here if prefer that to the vibrating needle version.

Tags: Un-TreeHugger