The film A Walk Into The Sea won the coveted Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Festival, The NY Documentary Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Special Jury Prize at the Chicago Film Festival. It's now out on DVD. After a 2008 theatrical release it is available on NetFlicks and iTunes.
The soundtrack was recorded on the Massachusetts coast by T. Griffin, Catherine McRae, Rebecca Foon and Dennis Cronin.
"Fascinating!" - NY Times
"Captivating and Artful!" - Premiere
****4 Stars "Touching, incisive....provocative" - Time Out NY
"Unexpectedly restrained...humanizing....exciting" - NY Press
"Engrossing... Fascinating stuff" - New York Magazine
"Extraordinary!" - The London Times
in 1966 Danny Williams disappeared. He was 27, a film editor for the Maysles brothers, a mainstay at Warhol’s Factory, the live-in boyfriend of Andy Warhol, and the designer of the Velvet Under- ground Exploding Plastic Inevitable lightshow.
After a grueling tour with the VU he went to the Massachussetts coast to visit his family. One night he borrowed his mother’s car and drove away. He was never seen again.
35 years later, through a series of coincidences too improbable for fiction, Esther Robinson, Danny’s neice, discovered 20 stunning short experimental films that he had made while at the Warhol Factory. No one except Danny had ever seen them before. Two films of the Velvet Under- ground had never been developed. With the films in hand, she set out to find what had happened to the uncle she had never met. What she found became the documentary A Walk Into The Sea.
The bones of this soundtrack music were created from improvisations that Bruce Cawdron, Catherine McRae and I did based on some melodies I wrote for the film. We set up in Danny Williams' old house, the house he disappeared from in the woods of Massachussetts near the ocean. We put microphones everywhere and left the doors open to let the crickets and the sea join in.
Esther was looking for music just at the edge of hearing, something that signaled the music swirling around New York City in 1966, but was impossible to place. Suggestive, not descriptive. We wanted music that sounded half-forgotten, music that sounded like a yellowed newspaper, like a rusty set of keys, like a pair of pants washed up on the shore. I wasn’t dumb enough to try to sound like the Velvet Underground, but I knew they’d be hovering in the background somewhere, along with the Jaynettes and La Monte Young.
I took the music we had made up in Massachusetts back to my Brooklyn studio. I ran it through 4- tracks and guitar amps, recorded it on 2 walkmans and swung them around a microphone. I sampled the buzz of my amp, bruce bowing his marimba, the crickets and the ocean. I brought Beckie Foon and Dennis Cronin in on cello and trumpet. somehow, during the sleep-deprived crush to finish the film for its debut at the Berlin Film Festival, the music became what you hear on this CD.
Thanks to the players, to esther and her editor Shannon Kennedy, to Jim Lyons, to esther’s brother sasha who helped produce the film, to the cinamatogrpher Adam Cohen, to Tom Paul who mixed the film and most of all to Danny Williams who left behind such stunning work for us to know him by.