Tim Hecker brings icy dread to ‘The North Water’ score (stream a track)
The North Water is a new limited series from writer-director Andrew Haigh (45 Years, Looking) and based on Ian McGuire's novel of the same name about a 1859 whaling expedition near the arctic circle that goes horribly, horribly wrong. Jack O'Connell stars as a disgraced army surgeon who takes a job as ship's doctor on the whaling vessel, with Colin Farrell as the expedition's loose cannon harpoonist. They shot much of the series in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, and even farther north, so those ice flows and foggy breaths are real. If you even wondered what Deadwood would've been like on a whaling boat instead of the Wild West, The North Water is pretty close to that.
Adding a real sense of dread to the series is the eerie score by Tim Hecker, whose analog synths and distorted beats are as chilling as the icy waters seen on screen. "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," says Hecker. "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."
The North Water Original Score will be released digitally this Friday, September 10 via Invada Records and Lakeshore Records, with vinyl copies out in early 2022. "This version of the score is an enhanced mix of some of the material that made its way into the project,” says Hecker. You can listen to "Seasick," the queasy, beautiful opening track on the album, below.
You can watch The North Water on the AMC+ subscription streaming service now, and you can watch the trailer below.
‘The North Water’ Original Series Score tracklist:
First On Deck
Left On The Ice
Our First Whale
It’s A Mistake To Think Too Much
The Warmth Of Drax
Twinkle In The Wasteland
Staring Over Again