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Album Review

Smeaton, Bruce – “Iceman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – [Southern Cross]

whngr   6/18/2021   12-inch, Soundtrack

Pensive orchestral fare with a predominant theme of transverse (bamboo?) flute.


Tension, release, tension, release. Drama, whimsy, discovery, resolution. It’s all tension and release. Floating, feeling, finding, flaying. Anxious, furtive stabs of viola, whimsical and alternately horrifying expulsions of over-blown flute, harp, timpani, plucking, pinching and protracted swells of strings, French (and perhaps other varieties of) horn all reinforcing themes of confusion, despair, realization, and deliverance. Track A5 (Vivarium) employs some furtive, curious electronic dabbling like drops of understanding falling into a pool of consciousness.


Iceman is a major-studio box office release from 1984 that hinges on the discovery of a paleolithic hominid (Neanderthal) dubbed Charley by the scientists who were able to resuscitate him from his 40,000 year cryogenic slumber and the ethical consequences of said action. Is he a man or a beast? A sentient being with autonomy or a living relic to be caged and studied? A film that I watched repeatedly in my early youth when I briefly had access to cable and was incapable of escaping the perceived safety of the suburban home I inhabited. Not a terrific film but one which presented interesting ideas that I am still considering deeply, what does it mean to be a man, and what does it mean to be free? I imagine a world covered in ice, one bristling with constant danger, where survival depends on your training, biology, and understanding of an incessantly hostile terrain. An existence surrounded by spirits and gods that deeply inform ones awareness and fate. A far simpler time with fire and blood, tooth and horn, family and foe, the stars and… ice. One where our world was filled with profound mysteries and brutal repercussions to even the slightest of missteps. And I wonder, would I have fared better then? Surely not. But I imagine I would not feel as disconnected, miserable, and hapless in a world that seems to be lacking in spiritual resonance while charging blindly, without hesitation, towards the obliteration of our “advanced” species.

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