Spirit of Akasha Double CD
The soundtrack to the new film Spirit of Akasha – Featuring - Andrew Kidman & The Windy Hills, Grouplove, Andrew VanWyngarden Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Matt Corby, Jack River, Atoms For Peace, Lee-Anne Curren, Ben Howard, Nat Watson & Mickey Smith, Xavier Rudd, Tom Curren, Brain Cadd & Tim Gaze, Canyons, Angus Stone, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and The Cairo Gang, Brian Wilson, Dirty Three, Bill Bensing

The Australian
Review by Meredith McLean

Spirit of Akasha is the compilation soundtrack for the Australian film of the same name. This two-disc insight into surf vibes, psychedelics and folk rock provided by names such as Pond, Matt Corby, Atoms for Peace and Grouplove - to name a few - is an excellent piece of music, but I realised that if I wanted to review this compilation, I had to understand what it was trying to achieve. Every good album has its own story, like a mission statement and to do that I had to discover the story of the original film - Morning of the Earth.

Surprisingly, I found a copy quickly at the local library. Undoubtedly, this is a surfer cult classic and a gem from the seventies. The surf film by Albe Falzon includes footage of surfers such as Nat Young, as well as some holistic and Age of Aquarius lifestyles. Everything is home-made including their surfboards and their homes. These psychedelic surfers are in search of that perfect wave.

The soundtrack to this intensely spiritual, feel good flick was listed in the book 100 Best Australian Albums published in 2010. By discovering this, reviewers and listeners alike can see Spirit of Akasha is a quest to recapture this spiritual journey of the ocean with soulful and honest music. The word “Akasha” means the intangible force that becomes the air, a force that becomes the liquids, that becomes the human body. Akasha is what connects us all.

The various artists on this album can be called “impressionistic”. The songs and covers by these artists are incredibly transient of their place in time. They mimic the songs from the original soundtrack very well, not because they are covers - the music in Spirit of Akasha is original and new, but you couldn’t place a time or decade on this music. That is a sign of the artists’ expertise in creating the same sense of spirituality, but also a sign of the changing trends in present music. Folk and psychedelic music has been having its resurgence since the 90s and it’s interesting to see it rising and burning with such intensity in Australian trends too.

“To Be Young” by Andrew Kidman is a gentle soothing song to begin this two-disc compilation, Kidman also directs this cult film inspired production. Grouplove’s “Drifting On A Daydream” is equally inspiring and Matt Corby’s “What The Devil Has Made” matches the more upbeat surf rock tracks of the past film’s track list impeccably. That’s only the first disc. On Disc Two, Pond definitely embodies a more modern sound with its crunchy guitars for “Colouring The Streets”, but quickly rolls into a melody reminiscent of rolling waves. Angus Stone also does a wonderful, thumping folk ballad, “The Weatherman”.

Spirit of Akasha gives listeners a wonderful journey. Whether it is on an iPod or vinyl record player, listeners will be transported back in time to a visionary plateau where the waves of nature and the waves of human spirituality crash together. Prepare to find yourself in the riptides of these sometimes gentle; sometimes much more upbeat songs, by these recognized artists. This project is a wonderful way to mirror a very overlooked part of our nation’s history.

$25 (plus $10 AUD Shipping)

Fall of Planet Esoteria by The Windy Hills CD
The new long player from the Windy Hills featuring 10 new songs.

Mess & Noise
Review by Barnaby Smith

As a stalwart of the nation’s more discerning, thoughtful and eco-oriented surf community, Andrew Kidman is currently enjoying a deserved period in the sun thanks to the Spirit of Akasha film, his wonderful sequel to Alby Falzon’s seminal 1972 movie Morning of the Earth. His surfing life extends to making boards and surf photography, while his filmmaking life extends to a filmography of five features, including 2010’s Lost in the Ether. His band, The Windy Hills, have now produced their follow-up to 2012’s Friend from Another Star, and it is perhaps best to consider this ambitious, studied collection in isolation from both surf sub-culture and any notion of film soundtracks; Fall of Planet Esoteria has hints of both but is far-reaching and often, indeed, esoteric in its influences and suggestions.

That said, a sense of oceanic awe presents itself at various points, a quality that is not always comforting or inspiring and all the better for it. Opener ‘Song of Many’ is a cascading and absorbing thing, taking on Danny Kirwan-era Fleetwood Mac as well as shades of Pink Floyd circa Meddle. Extremely attractive instrumental passages give way to a vocal sequence that, with its eerie backing lines, allows the song to become a little threatening. The supernatural is further evoked on the superbly restrained ‘Snowflakes Falling on the Sea’, combining an early Devendra Banhart guitar mood with, again, evocations of Pink Floyd performing in an amphitheatre in Pompeii. It is spellbinding and mysterious and the record’s undoubted highpoint.

Perhaps the hugely affecting nature of this track serves to sharply emphasise the album’s few shortcomings. Kidman has licked his lips at the folk-rock smorgasbord here and perhaps allows his tastes to run away with him at times, resulting in a little too eclectic an approach which jars the building momentum brought about by ‘Song of Many’, ‘Snowflakes Falling on the Sea’ and, to a slightly lesser degree, ‘Magnolia’. The ballads, for instance, seem a bit too much of a drain on energy. ‘Is it by Chance’ is a decent enough acoustic elegy, with its austerity heavily reminiscent of Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker, complete with Gillian Welch-esque backing vocals. It is a stark comedown from the bluesy fever of the first track, while closer ‘Apple Tree’, again a very pretty tune, ends everything on a bit of a sentimental note when the principal feeling of the album is of something huge and elemental. Mitigating this is that Kidman’s delicately masculine voice is undeniably soulful, particularly when as ‘close’ as on these two tracks.

Elsewhere, the presence of a drum machine on ‘Some Love’ supports a sound exemplifying the folktronica boom of nearly 10 years ago, while another triumph must be ‘Cars’, which sees Kidman’s rhythmic preoccupations return before transmogrifying into a more unexpectedly bruising jam that again touches on something a little nasty.

Kidman agreed to make Spirit of Akasha as long as it remained strictly faithful to the attitudes and ideals of Morning of the Earth, in the face of Warner Music’s potential interference. This appears to typify him: here is a record that oozes heart and what we might call his ‘lifeforce’. This manifests itself, generally, as a sumptuous union of melody and texture, largely overriding the moments when Fall of Planet Esoteria hits its inevitable slumps.

$25 (plus $7 AUD Shipping)

Searching For Michael Peterson
Music Recorded for the film Searching for Michael Peterson.

1. Iron Eagle 2. Full Spectrum day Tubes 3. Twiggy 4. Bells ‘73 5. Boggo Road 6. Got a Little Plan
7. The Last Stand 8. Smokin’ Rubber on the Storey Bridge 9. Sittin on the Hill 10. Brown Schooner
11. Intro – Iron Eagle 12. Nor’ Easter

$20 AUD (plus $6 AUD Shipping & Handling)

The Brown Birds from Windy Hill: Three Sails to the Wind
The Brown Birds from Windy Hill one and only long player.
Recordings featured in Patrick Trefz’s film Thread and The Ghosts are Calling.

CD Tracklist
1. Bad End to Lies 2. Dragqueens from Darlinghurst 3. Down in the Valley Below 4. Desert Song
5. The Butterfly 6. Sou’ Wester 1 7. Spaces in the Day 8. Girl from Kentucky be my Valentine
9. Man We’ll Soon Forget 10. Three Sails to the Wind 11. Visions of True 12. Mr Squidlips

$20 AUD (plus $6 AUD Shipping & Handling)

Andrew Kidman: All at Sea
Collected Film Scores and Incidentals by Andrew Kidman 1995 -2007
Includes recordings from Glass Love, Litmus and The Ghosts are Calling.

CD Tracklist
1. Rain 2. Mamma You’ve Been On My Mind 3. Green Hornet 5. If They Only Knew 6. Sou’ Wester
7. The Light Inside of You 8. Glass Love/Narrabeen 9. The Sheep Song 10. Moonshiner
11. The Seventh Brown Bird on a String 12. Blood on the Shadow

$20 AUD (plus $6 AUD Shipping & Handling)

The Val Dusty Experiment: Pissing in the Wind
The Val Dusty Experiment is Andrew Kidman, Rosie Sutherland, Mark Sutherland, Jon Frank, Giles Allom, Kevin Baker & Chris Pellen.
Final record by The Val Dusty Experiment before the band imploded.

CD Tracklist
1. Bending in the Wind 2. Don’t know Anymore 3. Infidel the Texan 4. Tangled 5. Misty Change
6. Family Man 7. Hate Your Mates 8. Mamma 9. Sorry 10. Help me Jesus 11. Cog in a Wheel

$20 AUD (plus $6 AUD Shipping & Handling)

The Val Dusty Experiment: Music From Litmus
The Val Dusty Experiment is Andrew Kidman, Rosie Sutherland, Mark Sutherland, Jon Frank, Giles Allom, Kevin Baker & Chris Pellen.

CD Tracklist
1. Rain 2. Dump Swimming 3. Time 4. Cow 5. Mo’ Walker 6. Green Hornet 7. Marlise 8. Jubilee
9. Easy Ride 10. Friend of Mine 11. Elizabeth 12. Johnny Boy Gomes 13. Levels 14. Riding the Wind

$20 AUD (plus $6 AUD Shipping & Handling)