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Tim Hecker unveils first TV soundtrack venture with ‘The North Water’ score

Revered producer’s first foray into soundtracks

Revered, Vancouver-born ambient artist Tim Hecker has announced the upcoming release of his very own ‘The North Water’ score, written for the acclaimed arctic drama TV series of the same name.

Despite his standing as a solo electronic musician and sound artist with over 10 albums to his name for 4AD and Kranky, ‘The North Water’ is Hecker’s first score of any kind. It is set for release via Lakeshore Records in America, and the neighbouring Invada Records in the rest of the world.

The TV series, starring Jack O’Connell and Colin Farrell, is based on Ian McGuire’s 2016 best-selling novel of the same name, and is adapted by writer-director Andrew Haigh (45 Years, Looking). Set in Hull, England, and on the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s, the series follows the story of Patrick Sumner (O’Connell), a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as the ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic, only to be met with violent crewmates and ferocious, remote climates. 

In keeping with the arctic, solitary themes that frequent Hecker’s music, The North Water’s location work took place primarily in the Arctic, shooting on the frozen seas north of the Svalbard Archipelago. The cast and production team sailed as far as 81 degrees north to film sequences in the pack ice, the furthest point north it is believed a drama series has ever filmed before.

The original score for the series will be released on digital platforms on September 10, in conjunction with the UK series 2 premiere on BBC Two, this Friday at 9.30pm. Following its first season premiere in the US earlier this summer, the series will now run every Friday night for 5 weeks, after which it will be available in full on iPlayer.

Of the album, Hecker said: “The score for The North Water was written just before and during the pandemic in 2020, mostly over arguably one of the darkest winters of some memory in Montreal. The music was an attempt to add depth and texture to a five-hour doomed arctic journey that charts a trajectory from hardened optimism into abject futility. We worked with a primary palette of synthesizers, electronics, and treated cello, in rich live spaces as well as suffocating dead ones. This version of the score is an enhanced mix of some of the material that made its way into the project.”

‘The North Water’ is set for a digital release on September 10, followed by a vinyl release in January 2022.