When renowned filmer James Kates dropped his trailer for Redsands last month, we knew this wasn’t going to be your run-of-the-mill web clip.
It featured haunting music, scattered16mm imagery of desolate landscapes, abandoned houses and only brief glimpses of surfing.
Surely this was just a cryptic teaser and things will be back to normal when the full clip dropped?
Wrong. But we are glad we were.
Mr Kates has already raised the bar for bodyboarding films time and time again. From the hilarious Home Brew series to the cult-like status of Passing Through, but as with everything, there is always a danger that things can become repetitive and predictable.
It seems Katesy was after a different kind of challenge to put his creative mind to and he’s found that with The Four Winds, which he describes as “an experimental series of short films scored by some of Australia’s most unique musicians.”
Part one of the series, entitled Redsands, features the heavy barrels and vast landscapes of the South Australian desert. Perennial southern travellers Nick Gornall and Chris James are joined by the likes of Tahitian Alvino Tupai and cult standup surfer Craig “Greg” Anderson to create a motley crew of slab explorers.
Watching Gornall and Anderson – arguably the two of the most stylish riders on their respective crafts – go wave for wave is worth the price of admission alone.
Coming in at just over 10 minutes, the clip is soundtracked with the droning sounds and freeform sax of LeBoogie Records labelmate Russell W. Rather than using the tried and true method of editing the footage to suit the music, Katesy has turned things on its head by scoring the music to the clips.
“(The Four Winds is) based on a philosophy of improvisation, and a process where the visuals direct the music, rather than the other way round,” Kates said.
The result is not everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no heavy breakdowns when Gornz goes flying above the lip (something he does many times) or no perfectly sync’d guitar solos as Griz slides into a meaty South Oz slab. Instead there is just the odd bass thump or cymbal crash emerging from the hypnotic drone.
If you are expecting your typical “punk track with a heap of pits and punts” type of clip then we’d suggest looking elsewhere, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on one of the more unique clips to make their way into the churn and burn world of web videos.
We can only hope that this lasts a little longer than the usual 48 hour web clip cycle.
Keep an eye out for part II in the near future.
Filmed by James Kates & Dave Fox
Music by Russell W feat Slats on sax & Jimbo on the tubs
Titles by Simon Perini