A short video about how we did the music for Mission Arctic (Oppdrag Nansen), a NRK documentary series about a group of fantastic kids travelling in the footsteps of epic explorer Fridtjof Nansen. They aim to reach the North Pole, exploring the consequences of climate change in the fragile Arctic regions.
Music is often the last process to happen for a TV show, but for Mission Arctic I composed and produced the music before any editing, in spring 2015, while the kids was still in preparation rehearsals on Svalbard for the final pole expedition.
Together with the producers and editors we early on agreed on “sound”, concept and method. They sent me a lot of raw footage and early edits, so I got to know the kids, the crew and their “atmosphere”, but I never saw any finished episodes. Then I wrote a lot of music both inspired by preliminary footage, and also music intented for “imaginary” situations – like, “hey guys I think you will need some of this”, covering the span from epic helicopter-flyby to fragile I-lost-my-mitten moments. None of us knew how the expedition would turn out, and what cues would work with which situations, this would be up to the editors and music supervisors. The only synchronized cue is the title sequence theme.
I delivered a library of songs, cues, stings, sonic landscapes and drones, all in various moods and energy levels, for the editors to assemble their cuts to during editing. Also included was stem submixes of most cues, so the editors can pull down beats or use just the orchestra, stuff like that. I only came in a few days at the end, to supply material that we felt was missing. Watching some of the finished episodes now, it’s super great to see how the editors often pick completely different cues than I intented for different situations, and how well that works. (In other words, I have no idea what I’m doing, but it still works.)
The overall score is using regular symphonic orchestra sounds, electronic synthesizer patterns and digital beats, together with traditional Norwegian instruments like seljefløyte, langeleik and hardanger fiddle. I used these instruments both “normally” and also as sources of sound material; micro-samples and sonic textures, like fingers tapping the flute or frozen landscapes of langeleik, to have a sound and atmosphere with a “Norwegian” fundament.
The series started weekly episodes as of January 1st, available for streaming once they’ve broadcasted.