a playable record made of ice


News of this enticing object came my way in the form of a FB post from a friend. Clicking through link after link and blog after blog that tracks this innovation, I’ve discovered music-lovers and designers are offering equal amounts of enthused interweb attention to this playable record made of ice. (The image above, for example, comes from designboom.com.)

Looks like the Shout Out Louds, an indie band from Sweden, wanted to stir up some media attention before their next album Solaris is released in late February 2013. They went to Stockholm design firm TBWA and before long the concept was firmed up – the song “Blue Ice” would be made into a seven-inch single formed of ice instead of vinyl.

So was it easy? Did they just take an imprint of the song, make a mold, pour water into it and jam it into a freezer? Or did they hire a software wizard to write code for laser etching? Or a steady-handed artist with a set of fine dental tools to inscribe the frozen surface?

Apparently it took some experimenting. Marketing mag Fast Company spoke with TBWA art director Alex Fredlund, giving us a quick look into the process:

“We talked to professors at different universities telling us it would never work out, so we had to develop the technique ourselves,” he 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.

That would be my ideal kind of office, if I ever go back to desk-work. It’s a short article, but worth a read. The mold they finally settled on is made of silicon (easy to remove); I was curious to see that when they found out distilled water works best for smoothest sound, they created a distribution package that includes a bottle of distilled water.


Using freshly boiled water also produces clearer ice, but asking someone to put the kettle on would be way more homey, thus less sleek and magical. Dig the lighting there, reminiscent of a vodka ad (image from dogonews.com).

Only ten people get to have one of these. Ao far I can’t find who or where those ten people are, I’d love to know about their experiences, so let me know if you find out! In the meantime, there’s this YouTubeitude of what seems a pretty pop single:

I’m impressed. The sound’s scratchy, surprisingly like vinyl (at least through the layers of digitization). And the repeating bits at the end – well have a listen yourself, it’s a pleasure.

1 thought on “a playable record made of ice”

  1. In my opinion, this project is pure genius. Perfectly balanced with the meaning of the song, and the efemerral nature of everything. My heart is beating a little faster having experienced this. Thank you so much! Shel


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