Danish musicians Laila Skovmand, Robert Carlsson and the band Between Music have created AquaSonic, an amazing and uniquely ethereal concert that’s performed entirely underwater. Each musician performs in their own individual glass aquarium, playing specially handmade instruments that can withstand and be heard in such a specialized environment.
AquaSonic is the culmination of the artists’ nine-year research efforts and countless experiments in close collaboration with a team of deep-sea divers, instrument makers and brilliant scientists – people driven by the same urge to break new grounds and challenge existing paradigms. As a result, the team has developed a number of highly specialized subaqueous instruments including an underwater organ or hydraulophone, a crystallophone, a rotachorda (a brass chordophone inspired by the old folk instrument hurdy gurdy), a setiphone, consisting of amplified note bars and a special technique for singing underwater. The result is a concert experience out of the ordinary; a deep dive into a compelling visual universe and a new world of sound.
New Scientist had an opportunity to speak with the musicians and to take a closer look at how they went about creating their unique instruments for their performance at the Operadagen Rotterdam Festival.
Producing sound in water isn’t easy and perhaps unsurprisingly few musicians have taken on the challenge. Since the acoustics are completely different from those that pertain in air, most instruments don’t work underwater. But after 10 years of experimentation, singer and composer Laila Skovmand and her band, AquaSonic, are preparing for their first concert at a festival in Rotterdam on 27 May.