Henry Kaiser

Research diver, filmmaker and musician Henry Kaiser provided the inspiration for Warner Herzog’s Academy Award-nominated film, Encounters at the End of the World.

In 2001, Kaiser spent two-and-a-half months in Antarctica on a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program grant and subsequently returned to work there as a research diver, spending more than a year of his life living on the frozen sea ice in an Antarctic field camp. Herzog was drawn to Antarctica after viewing the impressive under-ice footage filmed by Kaiser. Within two years, Herzog had released The Wild Blue Yonder (2005), which made prominent use of Kaiser's footage. Encounters at the End of the World (2007) featured more of Kaiser’s underwater cinematography. Kaiser also produced the film for Discover Channel International and scored the music for it, along with composer David Lindley.

Kaiser taught scientific research deep-sea diving for 17 years at the University of California, Berkeley. He has also had a varied musical career, appearing on more than 240 albums.

Kaiser was a member of “French Frith Kaiser Thompson,” together with fellow experimental musicians John French, Fred Frith, and English folk-rocker Richard Thompson. They recorded two albums, Live, Love, Larf & Loaf (1987) and Invisible Means (1990). In 1991, Kaiser went to Madagascar with fellow guitarist Lindley, where they spent two weeks recording music with Malagasy musicians. Three volumes of this music were released by Shanachie under the title, A World Out of Time, and another nine albums of Malagasy music resulted from this project.

Kaiser is a constant seeker of collaboration. A few of his more famous cohorts include: Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, John Zorn, Herbie Hancock, Wadada Leo Smith, Jerry Garica, Cecil Taylor, Marilyn Crispell, Michael McClure, Sergei Kuriokhin, Sonny Sharrock, Freddie Roulette, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Steve Lacy, Michael Stipe and Bill Laswell.

Session(s) by Henry Kaiser: