Frozen Strings and Microphone Create Haunting Film Score
Pictured at United Recording are composer Marco Beltrami, United Recording manager Rob Goodchild, and mastering engineer Erick Labson. Photo by David Goggin.
The haunting soundtrack of the recently released crime thriller The Snowman was mastered at United Recording by engineer Erick Labson and composer Marco Beltrami. Beltrami’s score producer, Buck Sanders, devised a novel way to create unique sound samples that combine evocative brass and strings.
“The film’s premise uses snowfall as the killer’s motive, and we were challenged to capture the sound of actual snow falling,” explained Beltrami. “Buck conceived the idea to use strings and a hydrophone suspended in ice, which took two days to freeze. As opposed to the normal resonance in the air, we recorded the new ‘frozen’ sound to create a very textural score.”
Labson said,“I listened to the entire score from beginning to end before I even touched a knob. I wanted it to sound natural, yet ominous, and true to the original mixes with details preserved, but elevated at times to enhance the listening experience.”
Pictured are strings and microphone frozen in ice.
Beltrami said, “The beauty of a soundtrack is that it focuses solely on the music. In the theater, the music is equalized to fit in with the whole sound environment, which includes dialogue and sound effects. It's a different experience than listening to a well-mastered stereo album score.”
In addition to the frozen strings, Beltrami also employed a distinctive Norwegian instrument for the film’s opening scenes. “It’s a hybrid of a viola and a hurdy-gurdy called a nyckelharpa,” he explained. “It has resonant strings underneath where it's played with keys as opposed to fretting the strings. There's no vibrato. It has a very interesting, almost medieval sound that just works well in the film.”
The Snowman follows an elite crime squad’s lead detective, who investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter and fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit, the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to this brutal new one, if he hopes to outwit unthinkable evil before the next snowfall. Based on Jo Nesbø’s global bestseller and directed by Tomas Alfredson, the film stars Michael Fassbender (X-Men), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Independence Day: Resurgence) and Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash).
Listen here: http://smarturl.it/TheSnowmanOST
About United Recording
United Recording is one of the world’s most recognized music studios, with more awards than any other recording enterprise. Music produced at the studio has generated more than 1 billion in record sales worldwide. More info: http://www.unitedrecordingstudios.com/