David Knight - 2nd June 2021

Ian Roderick Gray was nominated for a UKMVA for his last collaboration with Charlie Winston - a live video of the singer-songwriter performing Lost In The Memory at a villa in the South of France. Now they collaborate again in another memorable location - La Frette Studios in Paris - for Here I Am.

As the director explains below, the idea was to document the recording process of the song at La Frette and give it the dynamism of a music video. Subtitled, 'The Anatomy Of The Song', Gray has demonstrated how layers of sounds and intrumentation were added to the track via a simple method of a continual circular camera motion. 

Starting with Winston laying down the vocal track, he is then joined by each accompanying musician in turn to build the sound of Here I Am: tabla player Aref Durvesh, singers Maria Marolany and Marieline Marolany - and then finally legendary cora player Toumani Diabaté.

IAN RODERICK GRAY:

Sitting in La Frette Studios [with] these incredible artists making music was one of the great experiences of my life.

"When Charlie contacted me to see if I might be interested in documenting the recording process of his song Here I Am, I naturally jumped at the chance. The opportunity to work with Charlie again was exciting enough but to also share a room with the legendary Toumani Diabaté and in the iconic La Frette Studios in Paris no less, proved to be too tantalising to resist.

"Charlie and I discussed the project in detail and we both agreed that we wanted to treat this more like a music video than a factual piece, incorporating cinematic flair and avoiding the conventions and tropes of a more traditional documentary. And so the challenge was set to try and create something visceral and dynamic that would hopefully capture the atmosphere of being in a recording studio, in addition to showing the intimacy that often exists between collaborating musicians when they are experiencing perfect synergy.

"The core concept was to show the anatomy of a song - in this case beginning with an idea in the form of a melody that is simply hummed, and then showing the recording process and specifically how layers of sound and complexity are developed over that initial melody until by the end of the video the song is fully formed. And the key was to try and show all of this in the most stripped-back way possible and all within the duration of the track.

"Charlie had explained to me that the collaboration process between musicians is often an intense and beautifully intimate affair in which the only thing that exists in that moment is the music. I wanted to try and capture that feeling by creating a kind of orbit around Charlie and the other musicians.

We decided that the best way to do achieve that was to literally keep the camera rotating around them as they perform. It was a technical challenge for our Steadicam operator, especially as timings had to be very specific in order to make the transitions between musicians seamless and invisible, but he rose to the challenge.

"Sitting in the main room of La Frette Studios and being present for all of these incredible artists making music was truly one of the great experiences of my life and one of those moments in which you are reminded of how lucky you are to do this."

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorIan Roderick Gray
ProducerAdham Hunt
Production CompanyGrayscale Productions
Director of PhotographyAlfred Thirolle
Focus PullerRaphaël Dougé
GafferClement Duroux
Make-upJessica Kell
EditorIan Roderick Gray
ColouristJohnny Thorpe
Grading companyGlassworks VFX
Post ProducerAthene Xenia
Post ProducerChloe Ensor
LabelAfishant
Other creditsSound Recordist - Chris Davis Grade Assistant - Daniela Rotaru Engineers: Nicolas Quere And Anthony Belguise Assistant Engineer: Anthony Cazade Sound Mix: Anthony Belguise The Band - Kora: Toumani Diabaté Tabla: Aref Durvesh Singer: Maria Marolany Singer: Marieline Marolany

David Knight - 2nd June 2021

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