SYN Reimagines “House of the Rising Sun” For HLN “Frozen Moments” Campaign

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.” View it here.
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. 


Client: CNN
Chief Marketing Officer: Allison Gollust
Senior Vice President: Rick Lewchuk
Vice President & Group Creative Director: Whit Friese
Creative Director: Ned Reid, Marnye Hall
Senior Director of Production: Matt Barnett
Senior Production Manager: Nichole Goralnik
Production Resource Manager: Denise Patierno
Post Production Manager: Greg Enfield
Associate Producer: Kristin Hollis


Agency: Minted Content
Director: Daniel Gifford
Executive Producer: Lance O’Connor, Edina Sallay
Producer: Sean Barney


Music: Syn Music
“House of The Rising Sun” re-arranged and produced by: Syn
Music Director: Nick Wood
Lead Vocals: Alexina
Recording & Mix Engineer: Takashi Akaku
Vocal Coordinator: Benji Compston
Production Manager: Kaz Haga
Production Assistant: Mathieu Kranich


Editorial Company: Cut & Run
Editor: Steve Gandolfi
Managing Director: Michelle Eskin
Executive Producer: Amburr Farls
Senior Producer: Jared Thomas


VFX + Finish: Jogger Studios
Creative Director: Andy Brown
Head of Production: Diana Cheng
Lead Flame Artist: Andy Brown
Flame Artist: Jan Cilliers, Michael Vaglienty
Flame Assist: Jorge Tanaka
Designer: Daniel Chang

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