DJ Spooky Sets Sail for the Arctic Ocean

paul d. miller dj spooky photo

DJ Spooky ready to depart for the Arctic. Image courtesy of Cape Farewell.
This guest post was written by Paul D. Miller, also known as DJ Spooky, as part of the Cape Farewell project.

The explorer Roald Amundsen once said "adventure is just bad planning"—I'm trying to figure out the reverse.

Good planning leads to a lot of information, but perhaps not much adventure. I'm with a group of scientists for the next four weeks figuring out some connections between environmental issues, new forms of composition, and an experiment in how sound can be generated with water (using a hydrophone, for example). I'm settled in on the ship Noorderlicht, and we've set up our supply route for the next couple of weeks for the Arctic composition project. I'm working with several issues driving the composition strategy: oceanic acidification, ocean currents, and landscape portraits in sound. I just got here in Longyearbyen and the basic vibe has been pretty intriguing. I've set up a mini studio to record compositions while I'm on the ship. And I plan on creating a series of landscape compositions to mark each set of travels through the Arctic. The compositions will eventually be presented with Scandinavia House as a series of of "acoustic portraits" and the overall project is called Ice Music.

It's a series of music compositions inspired by composers like Terge Isungset, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and John Luther Adams, amongst others.

To get things started, I checked in with the Norwegian Polar Institute and then checked out the ship that will be carrying us. The Noorderlicht is a two-masted schooner celebrating her 100th birthday this year.

cape farewell noorderlicht sail boat photo

The Noorderlicht. Image courtesy of Cape Farewell.

In accordance with the strict safety rules from the Shipping Inspection, Noorderlicht has the license to sail all around the world with passengers. The ship has been modernized and equipped for cruises around Svalbard, which it has done for the last 15 summers. At the moment, we're moored in the natural harbor of Longyearbyen, but we leave tomorrow. I will try to post some updates when opportunity allows.

I hope this reaches you in good spirits. To see more updates about our Arctic Expedition, you can check the video blog and occasional updates on

Follow the Cape Farewell voyage on the 2010 expedition blog.
Read more about the Arctic:
Global Warming's Impact on Arctic Ice Explained (Video)
Arctic Climate Tipping Point Happening Now! Sea Ice in Its "Death Spiral" Scientist Claims
Arctic Melting Triple Threat: Less Winter Ice Means More Summer Melt

DJ Spooky Sets Sail for the Arctic Ocean
The explorer Roald Amundsen once said "adventure is just bad

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