Approved biography



Kingtroduction

Ice King, preferably spelled "iCE KiNG", is the international pioneering solo project of Bas Laurens Gillis Verdin (°1980, Leuven, Belgium) in the field of music, and anything but muzac. The project started in 2003, on the occasion of the Interfacultary Songfestival at the Catholic University of Leuven. It is solo in its literal sense, as there is quite nobody else involved in any aspect of it. But then a true king is one. iCE KiNG's focus still is, cyber-century or not, on the content of composing and performing, behind or in front of the scenes as well as on records. This rather steadily, regardless the implosion of the music industry or any other hindrances, and we daresay obstinately, refraining from being carried/melted away by the mainstream, hype or conventional formalities of the day. iCE KiNG's repertoire is both extensive and active, as in: of all the hours and hours, there is not one minute that is not being played anymore, be it sometimes somewhat differently. Instead of a common genre description, we find an intriguing list of titles attributed to iCE KiNG:

Bardrock 1.0
Epic Avant-Barde
King of Rock 'n' Cold
Belgium's Bravest Bard
Celtic Singer-Songfighter
Cool Music for Fresh Minds
Romantic Poetry on the Rocks
Heathen Hymns and Hidden Gems
Auti-Powered Anthems from Avalon
Ballads, Battles, Candles and Castles
The Viking, the Victorian and the Viceroy



Genre

The most likely reason for the latter being that the question as to the classification of iCE KiNG's music, is subject to debate. Interviews with iCE KiNG show that he is aware of this issue, and that he still would not even know how to label the genre himself, no matter how consistent that new genre is in fact. Nonetheless, there is mention on the official website, called "Castlepage", of "Epic Avant-Barde" indeed. The wordplay, obviously recurring in much of his work, endeavours to synthesize "avant-garde" and "barde", which is French for "bard". However, iCE KiNG's genre is not so much experimental or eager to be new, than it is strongly adhering to non-musical history, melomania even and advanced musical mannerisms, thereby moving in between genres as many as folk, classical, pop, metal and others. As he puts in the thanks to section in one of his albums: "autistic spectrum order", we might find an explanation here for his unorthodox yet systematic and elaborate methods. While his approach is too modern and daring to be a bard of old, and even of today, he usually plays the guitar strings and sings certain Celtic poems, originally not particularly meant to be sung, as if he were in a good old castle hall. It is beyond dispute though that there is a highly epic thing about it, whatever that thing may be, perhaps as best comparable to the 19th century, where the tension between the new world and the Romantic became quite pronounced. And yet, close listening reveals above all just catchy and hearty tunes which a universal character. Complexity and simplicity actually go hand in hand here, on the Castlepage again: "pure, generous and varying melodies, tonalities, rhythms and tempi". All this, while a little bird told us that he had been expelled from music school at the age of 8, and that he has knowledge of many a theory by now, especially philosophical ones, yet none strictly speaking within music.



Instrumentation

Vocals

iCE KiNG normally sings quite low, quite high and anything in between, all within one song, or should we say epic, considering length and edge. Therefore, Bas L.G. Verdin calls his voice type the "Verdin baritone", with a wink to the "Verdi baritone". Where iCE KiNG's music and vocal melodies are all entirely new compositions, his lyrics often consist of his own transcriptions from Scottish and English poems from the 18-19th century. Just a few selected poets: Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns, Walter Scott, Thomas Warton, Matthew Arnold. Sometimes even medieval manuscripts, like The Song of Roland or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, are being "icekingized" in this way. Occasionally, iCE KiNG sings poems in other Germanic languages, next to lyrics which he wrote from scratch. Some of his songs are instrumentals, on guitar or keyboard. In all songs though, the parts for instrument are clearly not seen as accompaniment, but as a challenging end in itself.


Instruments

Electric guitar, alternatively tuned B-E-A-D-G-B (seen with more than one ESP LTD F-400FM), mostly without any overdrive effect
Acoustic baritone guitar, alternatively tuned B-E-A-D-G-B (seen with Ibanez AELBT1-NT1202)
Occasionally keyboard (seen with Roland E-300)



Discography

Full-length albums

Kingdom of Fife (2006)
Second Sailing (2008)
EpiC CentrE (2012)
Victory iV (2014)
Quinta Icentia (2016)
VIrtue & VIrtuosity (2017)
Label: Vzw 3-4
Other compositions have been performed on tour


Tracks on compilations

"Wowayn" on Celtic Dreams Vol. 1 (2010), bootleg by so-called Quickstar Productions
"Sole Survivors" on Solidarios Con El Ecuador (2016), label: Editions du Renard Bleu



Archives

iceking.be

The king of systematizing?