“Eyjafjallajökull” is a musical piece named after and about an Icelandic volcano. Its purpose is to convey the different emotional meanings which volcanoes exhibit. Volcanoes are beautiful and sublime yet incredibly destructive and merciless.

“Eyjafjallajökull” is a mix of two beats which I created in Logic. The song opens on a sample of magma which plays through the entire piece.

After a couple seconds of the magma sample alone, a faint pad quietly enters. Then a drum followed by another synth. The magma sample, drum, and synths make up the main beat. For a ‘chorus’ I wrote a guitar line which was meant to sound open and free. I added a lot of reverb to make it feel more open. I wanted it to represent the vast and tranquil wilderness which I associate with Iceland and Eyjafjallajökull. The beat is meant to be soothing and peaceful. After about two minutes it fades into an echo which eventually transitions into the solitary magma sample.

The second beat is meant to closely follow the events of Eyjafjallajökull’s 2010 eruption. I drew from Jón Leifs’s piece “Hekla.” I tried to represent both the cultural narrative of the eruption and the scientific description of it.

The second beat opens with a fuzzy synth which is meant to represent the ash. Eyjafjallajökull’s 2010 eruption had a huge cultural impact due to its immense ash output which shut down European airspace for over a week. It ended up costing the global aviation industry around $1.7 billion.

The beat features news clips which are sampled from global broadcast that convey the eruptions impact. The lightning samples are a reference to the eruption’s well documented volcanic lightning. In the second half of the beat (around 4:55) I intensified the 808 bass and recorded punk distorted guitar. The instruments are meant to represent the elements involved in the eruption. The magma, ice, lightning, and rock combined to make an awesome natural event which I find quite humbling.

The piece ends the same way it starts; with the sample of magma. The two beats are meant to represent Eyjafjallajökull’s indifference to human perception. Volcanoes are objects which are great for projecting feelings onto because they have such rich poetic meaning. I tried to paint Eyjafjallajökull as a complex entity which cannot be portrayed by any single narrative.

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