Ice breaker

Manuella Blackburn

Ice breaker has been performed in Bahía Blanca, Bristol, Brussels, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Poole, Santiago, Sheffield, Udine and Villeneuve d’Ascq…

When ice is placed into a glass of water it cracks and pops due to the phenomenon known as differential expansion. Because the water is warmer than the ice, the outer layer of the ice expands and fractures while the core stays cool. This micro-scale cracking was captured with tiny microphones inserted into tall drinks glasses and provided the concept for this composition. Additional sounds of effervescence, bubbling and pouring liquids were recorded to accompany the smaller ice sounds.

Ice breaker follows on from my earlier works Switched on (2011) and Time will tell (2013) that both explore the use of small sounds within an acousmatic context. New techniques for clustering small ice sounds were explored in this work along with Horacio Vaggione’s concept of micromontage.


Ice breaker was realized in the summer of 2015 at the composer’s studio in Manchester (England, UK) and premiered on October 23, 2015 during the L’Espace du son festival at Théâtre Marni in Brussels (Belgium). Ice breaker was awarded the 2nd prize at the SIME International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Lille, France, 2016).


  • October 23, 2015, L’Espace du son 2015: Manuella Blackburn, Théâtre Marni, Brussels (Belgium)



stereo fixed medium



Date Work Program
March 8, 2017 Manuella Blackburn, Ice breaker (2015) L’éveil du son / Radio Parfaite (France)
December 3, 2017 Manuella Blackburn, Ice breaker (2015) Atlantis / NRK P13 (Norway)
January 8, 2018 Manuella Blackburn, Ice breaker (2015) Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
March 20, 2018 Manuella Blackburn, Ice breaker (2015) Clear Spot — 20th March 2018 (Langham Research Centre) / Resonance 104.4 FM (UK)
January 3, 2019 Manuella Blackburn, Ice breaker (2015) Amplitudes: musique concrète, électroacoustique / Radio Campus Paris (France)

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