SYN Reimagines "House of the Rising Sun" for HLN "Frozen Moments" Campaign

SYN Reimagines "House of the Rising Sun" for HLN "Frozen Moments" Campaign

Jan. 13, 2021

HLN showcases six of its original crime and mystery series in its 2021 addition to its annual “Frozen Moments” campaign, including How It Really Happened: The Jenny Jones Murder; Vengeance: Killer Millionaires; Forensic Files II; Lies, Crimes and Video; Very Scary People and Sex and Murder. The spot—which HLN created in collaboration with Minted Content, Cut & Run, Jogger Studios and Syn Music—is accompanied by a haunting cover of “House of the Rising Sun.”

This is the fourth installment of HLN’s Frozen Moments series that music agency Syn has worked on in collaboration with CNN and Minted Content; the first three used an eerie reimagining of the English folk song “Scarborough Fair.” For the 2021 piece, Syn chose to reinterpret “House of the Rising Sun,” a public domain song from the early 1900s made famous by the Animals in 1964. Interpreting a public domain song provides an opportunity to layer new emotion onto something understood in another form - in this case, a melancholic tale made somber and spectral to echo the tenor of the HLN’s series.

One of the key ways that Syn reimagined “House of the Rising Sun” was to have a woman perform the song. Syn recorded vocalist Alexina long distance from Scotland, while the Syn team in LA embarked on sonic sculpting to compliment the goosebump-inspiring vocals. The approach to the arrangement, designed and recorded by the SYN LA team, was as an atmospheric bed, very subtle and minimalistic, with droning, bowed sounds - using bass, piano, treated harpsichord and 12 string guitar. Syn Tokyo recorded live strings in Japan to add textures and techniques that are both experimental and cinematic for a truly ghostly presence. 

The visual vignettes, a montage of beautiful, lush and cinematic moments from various HLN original series, were interwoven together and edited to the song for an overarching narrative that is captivating and chilling. 

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