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Field recordings of an unusual natural phenomena :

The sounds of a frozen lake singing

Marc Namblard, sound artist and naturalist living in the northeast of France, has spent several years listening to and recording an acoustic phenomenon occuring in the winter time. The tiniest crackles inside the ice of frozen lakes produce mechanical vibrations. Under specific atmospheric conditions, these impulses propagate in the ice, whose tension makes it similar to the skin of a drum. The acoustic result is an unbelievable blend of drumming sounds and etheral resonances.



This CD retraces the whole phenomena : in 55 minutes, one can discover the different steps of what happened at Lac de Pierre Percée (a lake close to Marc's village) on the 16th of January 2006. It began with the frost falling on the vegetation accompanied by birds in the distance. The first brief percussive sounds announced the ice beginning its work under the first sunrays. A little bit later, the ice started to crackle : sounds became longer and more intense. At the end of the session, ice was breaking everywhere, the lake was singing. The phenomenon vanished with the appearance of a slight breeze.



This soundwork gathers some of the most beautiful moments of hours and hours of Marc's recordings into a whole piece, but there was no processing or overdub in the production of this publication : the aim is to propose to the listener an experience of what he would expect in the front of the lake (with the exception of the temperature). Marc's recording technique is based on ORTF stereo configuration using condenser microphones and high-end preamplifiers.

“Chants Of Frozen Lakes” can easily be classified in the domains of Naturalism, since it is based on straight observation of natural events, and in the field of Sound Art as it proposes a very intense listening experience. Therefore, this CD should delight listeners of nature sound recording, experimental music as well as electronica.




9 euros (including worldwide shipping)
Available on Kalerne -> Online shop


Audio CD published by and Atelier Hui-Kan 回看工作室 .

Released in Taiwan, in April 2008.

Ref : KAL01 


More about Marc Namblard's work :

- Listen to his last recording of ice (with French comments), Fractures de glace

- Promeneur écoutant, Marc's audioblog (in French)

- Ermine, a sound composition by Marc Namblard 


photos by Marc Namblard



portrait by Mylène Lançon




- 馬克.南伯拉爾 (Marc Namblard )作品

Kalerne Édition - 2008年4月


      馬克.南伯拉爾 (Marc Namblard ),  居住於法國東北部的聲音藝術家,也是自然田野工作者。他花費了數年時間去聆聽和觀察,錄下了發生在冬季裡的一種特殊聲音現象。那是在冰湖的冰層內部極為細 小的碎裂聲所產生的震動。在獨特的天候條件下,冰表面的張力形成了它類似鼓面的特質,這些冰碎裂時發出的衝擊力在冰湖內部傳播,迴響及漫延。其聲音結果呈 現出了一種不可思議的,打擊樂及空氣迴響的混合體。

      而這張專輯重新呈現了這個現象:55分鐘內,我們可以發現在2006年1月16日的皮耶爾.貝兒歇湖上( Pierre Percée,位於Marc所住的村子附近 )所發生的事。一開始,是落在植物上的霜,伴隨著遠處的鳥鳴。接著,第一道短暫的鼓聲出現,宣告了冰層在第一線晨光下啟動了它的工作。不久後,冰層開始龜 裂:聲音變得較為悠長與響亮。到了最後,冰層處處碎裂,而整個湖正在歌唱。所有的現象最終消逝於一陣輕風下。

       這張CD裡,Marc將他在長時間的錄音中所採收到的最美的段落,聚集成獨一無二且完整的作品。而Marc的錄音技術,是採用極高品質的收音器材,以及 ORTF stereo系統。在製作過程中,沒有經過任何其它音效合成或混音處理。其目的就在於希望提供給聽者一個難得的聆聽體驗,就像當他身處在這座冰湖前時,所 能夠聽見的事物一樣。

        由於是直接建立於對一自然事物的觀察之上,“冰湖之歌” 很容易就會被歸類在自然主義風格之列,以及在聲音藝術的領域裡,但這一切,乃是因為,它賜予了我們一個深刻的聽覺經驗。


  * 本CD audio 由 和 回看 工作室出版,2008年4月在台灣製作發行。

定價:400元   (此為台灣地區特價,欲購CD的朋友,目前請以e-mail 連繫,並很快就會有線上購買連結)

台灣哪裡買:有河書店 , 小小書房 , 關渡自然公園商品部

online shop (TAIWAN) : Yahoo / PCHome

更多關於 馬克.南伯拉爾(Marc Namblard)

- Promeneur Écoutant (漫遊聽者),馬克的聲音blog (法文)
- Ermine, 馬克.南伯拉爾的聲音編曲作品


Distribution :

Italy : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

US : And-OAR  Aquarius Records

FR : Metamkine  Nuit et Brouillard  Bimbo Tower

UK : Sound232  Smallfish

NL : Staalplaat


Reviews and public presentations :

A new label from Taiwan, of all places, release a CD by one Marc Namblard, 'sound artist and naturalist living in the northeast of France', and he has the same fascinating as I had, but I never made a recording of it. Across my parents house there was a small pond and in the winter it was sometimes frozen. If you would take a branch and hit the surface it made a very nice sound, one that is not easy to describe, but as soon as I started playing Namblard's 'Chants Of Frozen Lakes', it all came back, it's exactly that same sound. Recorded in on one day, but perhaps with some cross fading, some interesting things happen. We hear ducks, along with 'pulses' of crackles in the ice, but over the course of fifty-five minutes things grow immensely intense and expand. Indeed, towards the end like a chant of icy sounds. Winter may be no more, not at least in this part of Europe, so sounds like this will become rare to experience in nature. However, when I have an option, I stay inside, turn up the heater a bit, and enjoy Namblard's work as it's absolutely great. It sounds both 'natural' as well as electronical, oddly enough. A very fine work of true soundscaping.
  - Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly #624 - 
I recall these sounds; I have heard them on an isolated frozen lake in Northern Ontario. They are among the most remarkable to be heard when nature is at its quietest.
One "service" provided by field recordists is the revelation of unheard-of and unheard sounds. Some of their sources can astonish and educate as much as any deep-sea documentary. Here, the soft melody and unexpected percussiveness of something which appears to lie very, very still is showcased - the frozen surface of a lake.
With the occasional lone crow cawing in the background and gust of wind howling through the treetops, Marc Namblard spent a day in January recording the ice on Lac de Pierre Percée in northeastern France, eventually editing it down to a fifty-five minute symphony.
Various atmospheric changes throughout the day cause changes in the tension of the ice sheet, and as the occasional crack appears it gives off the most unexpected, sharp sound, like the cheap electronic zap of a video game eliminating alien spaceships. Occasionally these zaps turn into a swarm as one crack leads to a chain reaction across the ice. It is a fascinating experience and wonderful to have indoors to enjoy.
First release on a new label from Taiwan, of all places, co-run by Yannick Dauby, himself no stranger to ambient field recording.
 - Stephen Fruitman - Sonomu -
For those of you that subscribe to Sonatura, the name of Marc Namblard will not be new to you. Marc is a sound artist and naturalist living in the North East of France, and has spent several years listening and recording acoustic phenomenas occuring in the winter months.
This CD retraces the sounds of ice on Lac de Pierre Percée on the 16th January 2006. The sounds start with the frost falling on the vegetation, then the brief percussive twangs as the ice is beginning to move under the first rays of the sun. Then, as the sun gets higher in the sky, the ice moves more and the sounds seem to originate deeper in the ice, and the suddenness of these sounds as the tensions within it increase are frightening, taking me by surprise with their attack and depth of sound.
Towards the end the ice is creaking and twanging all around, the sounds begin to meld into each other giving the impression of singing. This continues for many minutes interspersed by the occasional deep growl, until it all ceases with the appearance of a sight breeze.
I feel the sounds are slightly unreal, more amplified than one would experience just standing there listening on the same day. As I have never been in such a situation I could be completly wrong.
Marc uses an ORTF stereo configuration, using condenser microphones (unspecified) and high-end pre amps (unspecified).
In conclusion, this is a CD of immense interest that captures a phenomenon that must occur on many days when the sun comes out on frozen lakes. The sounds vary from lovely tinkling trills to thunderous, frightening, abrupt cracks that shocked me when I first listened and made my wife run upstairs thinking that the central heating had burst !
  - Wildlife Sound Vol.11 n°14 Autumn 2008, the Journal of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society, reviewed by Roger Boughton -
We've long been proponents of the idea, that any sound man can make, using technology and engineering and electronics, nature can make too. And it will be just as mysterious and interesting. Made even more so, that those sounds occur, well, naturally. And in most cases, especially in electronic music, many of the sounds we discover and create using synthesizers, mimic sounds already produced in nature.
Countless field recordings have proven this, and this latest disc - a recording of the ice on a lake in France, slowly melting - does so once again!
By now, regular readers of the list, have been exposed to plenty of unique field recordings, drag races, life support machines, frogs, applause, monkeys, cowbells, barking dogs, rutting deer and of course the sound of water and ice. Ice and water seem to be particularly interesting sonically, as they always seem to be in motion, whether at the microscopic level melting and cracking, or on a more physical level, the sound of rushing rivers, pouring rain.
The sounds here, like many of the other field recordings we are so fond of, sound NOTHING like what you would imagine ice would sound like. Apparently, the layer of ice on the lake, acts like the head of a drum, transmitting the various cracks and crackles and vibrations across the expansive sheet of ice, producing strange tones, some very electronic sounding, all of them mysterious.
This record was woven together the sounds of the ice covered lake on a single day. Hours of recordings edited into one hour, but no other work has been done on these sounds, this is the actual sound of the ice. It begins with the sound of birds, the ice producing tiny little streaks of sound, that do sound like synthesizers, strange space-y FX, suspended in an expanse of murky murmur. The intensity and the frequency of those space-y streaks increases as the day warms up and the ice begins to fracture and melt, the barrage of bleeps and bloops begin to sound like a Star Wars laser battle, and sound like it couldn't possibly be the sound of ice. Eventually, the laser like streaks get deeper, and more resonant, as if someone was adding reverb or delay, until it's just a cloud of fuzzy bleeps and warbly tweets, underpinned by the actual staticky crackle of the ice cracking.
It's hard to explain much better than that, try listening to the sound samples, you will be amazed. It truly is a rare glimpse of some impossible and mysterious soundworld. A peek into how nature works, or at the very least, a chance to overhear the magic of nature, the sounds the exist in the wild, even if most of the time we're unable to hear them. Magical. 
 - Aquarius Records - 
Sound artist and naturalist Marc Namblard lives in northeast France. He's spent 5 years recording an interesting phenomenon which occurs during winter involving the tiniest of crackles in frozen lakes. The resulting acoustic resonances are absolutely fascinating and provide a compelling and amazingly hypnotic 55 minute work. Rhythmic textures and frequency changes are all captured from hours of recorded work and it has a charm all of its own. IF you enjoy field recordings / natural sound or experimental recordings this really is one to check out. A marvellous debut release for Kalerne. Recommended.
 - Smallfish records - 

Marc Namblard's interview by Jez Riley French on his blog "In Place" 

Radio diffusion on Resonance FM (London, Uk, 104.4 MHz) / Framework - 20.04.2008 (Thanks to Patrick Mc Ginley)

Played during Hering in Wuppertal (25.04.2008), Düsseldorf (03.05.2008) and Köln (16.05.2008), Germany (Thanks to Michael Rüsenberg).

Played during a listening session by Yannick Dauby, in Marseille, at Polygone étoilé (20.12.2008), organized by Céline Bellanger and David Bouvard.

Some comments on a few blogs :  

Andreas Bick  

Martine Schnoering

"Chants of Frozen Lakes" has been mentioned in the poster "Sound Space Timeline 1877-2014" included in Tacet #3 From Sound Space