BONDI TSUNAMI: SOUNDTRACK
Review by Brad Green:
Iíve never surfed in my life, although I have thought about giving it a shot. It looks for all the world like an exhilarating and healthy pursuit. But one thing Iíve never been able to figure out is why a blend of sun, sea salt and motion on the ocean turns peopleís brains to mush. Iím not being prejudiced here. Some surfers no doubt start out with IQs higher than the average sun protection factor, itís just that anyone really keen seems to end up gibbering as though their linguistic ability was wiped out on the last breaker.
If the lingo isnít exactly music to the ears, Iíve never been all that excited about actual surf music either. But at least itís usually instrumental or just contains some cliched rock Ďní roll lyrics. The day the first surfie hip-hop artist progresses from the ocean waves to the airwaves, rapping over a breakbeat that ďbig mamaís fully mackin' gnarly grindersĒ, is the day I have a pair of earplugs surgically implanted for life.
Fortunately that hideous hybrid is not numbered among multiple mixes of style experimented with on this record. One of the reasons Iíve never been a great fan of surf music is its limitations. I donít mind the twangy riffs, itís just that theyíre usually so simple and repetitive and the back beats so banal. For this soundtrack to an avant-garde surfing road movie, however, we are met first up with a double time number that includes some very impressive drum fills; and as weíre coaxed further into the album by a lazy Hawaiian guitar theme, the basic surf sound gives way or is joined at various points by a bossa nova, intricately sampled dance rhythms and even some exotic romanticism from what sounds like a lost James Bond episode set at Surfers Paradise.
The eclecticism of the music slots into the overall film concept. I havenít seen the movie but the soundtrack gels with the blurb that describes it as ďa new style of
Film Pop Cinema FusionÖ inspired primarily byÖ mass media, music, pop video, documentary, advertising, visual art, fashion and genre cinemaĒ. More of a video clip meets a movie than a traditional feature film it would seem. So the music is naturally integral to any chance of success, and for the most part the stylistic blends are commendable. Especially considering they are a combination of work by director Rachael Lucas herself and a variety of little known artists from around Australia who donated their efforts to the project.
An intriguing if patchy album, it would have been even more impressive if purged of the tracks featuring vocals, which are all mediocre, and the only overt signs of amateurism. Aside from the shaky singing, there are also some odd snatches of what I take to be dialogue from the film, but which come across more like post-coital pillow talk from a Japanese soft-porn flick. Or at least I think the guyís talking in Japanese. Perhaps itís just surfie patois. Ah well, at least he isnít trying to rap.
Published February 17, 2005
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TITLE: Bondi Tsunami
ARTISTS: Rachael Lucas; Krystina Higgins; James Cruikshank; Nic Kennedy; Malcolm Hill; Penny Ikinger; Jeff Dread; Superfluid; PJ