By the year 1000 AD, it became evident that Iceland risked invasion from Norway if it clung to its pagan beliefs. The pivotal question was deliberated at Þingvellir, the annual meeting place of the Icelandic parliament. The legislator at the time, Ásatrú, a priest of the Old Norse religion, found himself facing a momentous decision.
He spent a day and a night in silent contemplation beneath a fur blanket, beseeching his ancient gods for guidance. Ultimately, he emerged from his vigil and declared that, in the interest of the people, Christianity would become the official religion, but that those who adhered to the old ways could practice their faith in private.
Ásatrú then returned to his home in northern Iceland and cast idols of the Old Gods into the waters of Goðafoss.
The field recording inspired me to create a two-octave digital instrument, sampling different fragments, isolating them to find stable frequencies, and then pitching them to reach the corresponding notes. The idea was to make the waterfall "sing". Then I added a pulse coming from the same soundscape, with a similar method, and some synthesizers to help me create the dreamy feeling. Finally, the virtual string instruments of the BBC orchestra completed the work."
Godafoss reimagined by Cristian Estrella.
IMAGE: Martin Falbisoner, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Part of the Music for Sleep project - for more information and to hear more sounds from the collection, visit https://citiesandmemory.com/music-for-sleep/