Wende Bartley

IceBreak has been performed in Banff, London and Toronto…

Ice breaking, melting, dissolving into water. An infinite sound language full of shape, movement, and texture. Where are the stories buried in the rivers, creeks, glaciers, and canyons? Stories that formed this land we now call home? Stories ravaged by conquerors, explorers, and soulwinners?

As I sit by icy rivers surrounded by snowcapped mountains I am struck by what we have lost, the lies I was told. The waters surrounding me are full of the ways of walking within the interconnected web of life. And as I listen, I hear the cries of those destroyed because they lived in the knowledge of the circling eddies in the tiny creek, the ever-changing lattice-work on the half frozen waterfalls, the endless motion of rivers carving their cavernous pathways through the ageless rock. Sounding through changes of texture and shape, IceBreak moves through states of rupture, isolation, introspection, passion, and infusion. Through these pathways, my hope is we hear the voices that speak of ways to follow.

IceBreak uses source materials from short improvisations on instruments from the Kyai Madu Sari, the Javanese court-style gamelan at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver (BC). These initial recordings were made at the Western Front in Vancouver, with the assistance of Mark Parlett, Robert Kyr, Sam Salmon, and Jocelyn Robert. The textures were later created in the Luscar Recording Studio of The Banff Centre for the Arts with engineer Frank Lockwood using SoundTools, MAX, and SampleCell systems, and a 24-track digital tape recorder. The final mix was completed using the ProTools system at the studio of composer Randall Smith in Toronto. IceBreak premiered on July 8, 1992 at The Banff Centre for the Arts.


  • July 8, 1992, Concert, The Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff (Alberta, Canada)


IceBreak (1992), 14:22
stereo fixed medium



Date Work Program
September 12, 2011 Wende Bartley, IceBreak (1992), 14:22 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
July 7, 2014 Wende Bartley, IceBreak (1992), 14:22 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
July 26, 2021 Wende Bartley, IceBreak (1992), 14:22 Acoustic Frontiers — Final program / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)