My Antarctica playlist

Over the last week, I asked people for recommendations on what I should listen to when I’m in Antarctica. Among the suggestions were “anything by Seal or Penguin Café Orchestra” (thanks Kim!) and “The Happy Feet soundtrack” (um, thanks Andrew!). OK …  I also got other general suggestions like “anything by Snow Patrol, Cold Chisel, or Vanilla Ice”. But if anyone recommended a particular tune, or album, I put it on the list, which I’ve copied below. It is a weird mix. I don’t think I’ll really like all this music – some of it’s a bit strange, some is a bit challenging (I find the idea of listening to Vangelis very “challenging” and worst of all, iTunes is now recommending music to me based on this purchase) – some is perhaps a bit dull. But perhaps that’s what it will be like in Antarctica? Strange, certainly. One thing that struck me is the general expectation that moody melancholic tracks are best for my trip (thankfully I’ve already got an iPhone full of those). Perhaps that would be true for an Antarctic winter, or a lonely field camp in the middle of the ice shelf, but – weather permitting – I’m expecting my eight-day trip to be anything other than melancholic so I’m also putting in some Bjork. I think her transitions from melancholic to frenetic (often in the same song) will suit things well. I’ve talked to friends who’ve been on media trips to The Ice (am I’m allowed to start calling it that now that I’m going?) and they tell me that with the midnight sun, the helicopter rides, the strangeness and newness of everything, that I should expect a week with not much sleep. Perhaps I should have included some lullabies?

Anyway, here’s the list. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

  1. Antarctica Starts Here by John Cale
  2. Across the Tundra by Funkinsense.
  3. Crystal by New Order
  4. Music for Airports (album) by Brian Eno
  5. The Frozen Man by James Taylor
  6. Takk (album) by Sigur Ros
  7. Electric blue by Icehouse
  8. Antarctica (album) by Vangelis
  9. Tiny blue biosphere by Rhian Sheehan
  10. Aquarium by Saint-Saeans
  11. Terra Nova by iLiKETRAiNS
  12. Holocene by Bon Iver
  13. The Great Beyond by REM
  14. Wanderlust by Bjork
  15. Blue Thunder by Galaxie 500
  16. Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow by Nick Cave
  17. Antarctica by Midnight Oil
  18. Ice, Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice
  19. Miss You by Bjork
  20. Avalanche by Leonard Cohen

And some late additions:

– Sinfonia Antarctica (album) Vaughan Williams
– Icehouse by Icehouse
– Nature’s disappearing by John Mayall


About Rebecca Priestley

I have a PhD in the history & philosophy of science and I write about science and science history. I live in New Zealand.
This entry was posted in Antarctic, Personal, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Antarctica playlist

  1. Stephen Stratford says:

    Peter Maxwell Davies’ Antarctic Symphony, his No. 8. It’s pretty much tune-free but I like it: details at I bet it would sound great in context. Bill M has a copy he might let you, er, copy.

  2. A tuneless Antarctica symphony sounds great, but I can’t find it online unfortunately. I’m leaving today so no time to talk to Bill. Maybe when I get back I’ll try to have a listen. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to make do with Icehouse and Vanilla Ice (thanks everyone!).

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