Music Q&A: Sounds of The City
What could possibly make the infamous Northeast power outage of 2003 even more powerful? A touch of audio wizardry from London-based studio Wave. Armed with the hauntingly beautiful melody of Joanna Newsom's "This Side of Blue," Wave sound engineer Parv Thind was asked to create the perfect soundtrack for Orange's nostalgic spot. Here's how he did it.
How do you go about making an pre-existing track fit within the confines of a spot?
The original edit of the film was 76 seconds, so they had to cut it down. The song is a great bit of music, and it sounded great with the longer edit. Once they got the film down to 60 seconds, my task was to make sure the music fit the best it possibly could-to get 60 seconds worth of that track and still keep the same quality that we were hearing in the longer version. So we tried squeezing the music or time-stretching it at certain points. In the long version, the song always came to a conclusion with the words "...this side of blue," which is the title of the track. So I felt we needed to make sure that we had those as the last words.
Is there ever any thought about approaching the artist to re-record a version of the track so that it fits perfectly?
That situation often does come about, but one of the biggest problems is that it'll never sound like the original. You just don't get the same effect. That's where I would hope our art comes into it, when we can take the elements that we've got and cheat in some way to make it fit.
What makes this song so perfect for this spot?
When we originally started this job, there were a couple of songs going about. But when I heard this song, I just thought it was absolutely amazing. When something's that good, it's difficult to explain. From the first moment that I heard it, it was just right. It's a beautiful spot-the idea is absolutely brilliant and it looks great. But the music just pushes it to the level of what it should be. It's just very heartfelt and personal, and the feeling that you get listening to it is the feeling you want the viewer to feel.
Were you familiar with Joanna Newsom before this?
Not at all, but this definitely made me go out and buy her CD. The film is absolutely magical, and whatever track had gone on there would have made a great spot anyway. But with this track, it's like the icing on the cake. It gives it that extra little bit of emotion that just tips it over the edge.