Monday, March 23, 2020

Archive: Blue Water (Silent North demo)

This clip came to me courtesy of a friend, Sean McFarland. Way back in the Autumn of 1985, my second year of University, The Silent North had written a handful of songs that we were considering releasing for an EP. This song wasn't included on the EP but was finished just about that same time. Sean suggested we try filming something and came by our rehearsal space with his 8mm camera. We shot this footage and it was lost to us for decades. After a move recovered the canister Sean gave me the film canister again about 10 years ago. A few years went by until by chance Stefan Sigerson mentioned he had a projector at his place and could digitize the film for us. I had this footage for several years and it wasn't until this Covid-19 breakout that I had time or inclination to try setting it to music.

With no sound on 8mm film there was only the image to go from. I attempted lip reading to determine which song might be being performed but I couldn't really tell.  A conversation with Daniel Clement suggested that we were playing our song Blue Water. The tempos are about the same but the singing parts didn't completely line up (though I suspect we were just playing it live and not attempting to lip sync - we honestly didn't know any better). Therefore I took a bit of liberty and cut the footage to follow the song a bit better.

Musically this was another cassette 4 track demo. We did a lot of writing and recording those days, all of it on Dan's Tascam 244. To my ear it sounds as though we were using a Roland TR-707 drum machine on this song. The mixdown went to another cassette tape and we made copies from that. The music on this video is a digital transfer I made back in the early 90's from cassette to a Panasonic SV-3700 DAT machine. I guess I was always concerned about backing things up and I recorded a lot of that old material to DAT tape. Yesterday I did a bit of processing on the music and lined it up in Davinci Resolve to the video. And now, after 35 years we finally have a little music video for our song Blue Water!

Title: Blue Water
Artist: The Silent North
Lyrics: Callan Wilson
Music: The Silent North (Clement, Henning Wilson)
Vocals: Callan Wilson
Bass, guitar: Daniel Clement
Keyboards, drum machine: Mark Henning

Camera Operator: Sean McFarland
Editor, post audio: Mark Henning
Film to digital transfer: Stefan Sigerson

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