So far I had mostly one memory with Akranes. Near this small town in the west of the island, I spent my first night camping in Iceland. I had never been so cold before, I was convinced that this is how mountaineers feel in the camps near Everest and that I would not survive it. I also knew they had a lighthouse. And that’s about it.
The owner and maintainer of this lighthouse, Hilmar, contacted me on Facebook after the Noise project was featured in Morgunblaðið. He invited for a visit, recordings and promised a unique listening experience. It didn’t take long to persuade me, because I have had a crush in lighthouses for years.
It turned out that the new lighthouse building – the one built later, in 1943 as a replacement for the smaller lighthouse still standing nearby – is characterized by exceptional acoustics. It is like an amphitheater where you can even hear a whisper at the two ends of a lighthouse. “You can’t have secrets in this lighthouse”, joked Hilmar. “Every word here can be heard”. The acoustics of this place is so great that at times we had difficulty understanding ourselves – too many words at once made all the sounds mixed in the air, creating an unusual cacophony. It’s the perfect place to play music. Anyway, on Akranesviti Facebook you can see recordings of concerts that have already taken place there.
From the top of the lighthouse, there is a breathtaking view of Reykjavik, Esja, Faxa Bay and the Snaæfelsness peninsula with the Snæfellsjökull glacier at the fore. If we can talk about any hidden treasures around Reykjavik – Akranesviti certainly is the one.
So this time I have two recordings. The first is the sound of the ocean heard from the top of the lighthouse. The second is a suite presenting the acoustic possibilities of the lantern, ending with a short story about elves, told in Icelandic – at the special request of the photographer Magdalena Łukasiak, who has been tracing Norse mythology and Icelandic folklore for years and whose photo from this trip you can see here.
One of the most beautiful features of the “Noise from Iceland” project is the opportunity to meet not only interesting places but also people. You can see that Hilmar loves this place and if you are a little nautical and lighthouse freak like me, you have to visit all three of them (small lighthouse, large lighthouse and Hilmar).