As the familiar airy and ethereal sound of RÜFÜS DU SOL slowly builds into a precise, rhythmic drumbeat, Valley of the Yuccas introduces us to Live from Joshua Tree the debut film created as an accompaniment for the new live album from the Sydney trio.
Directed by Alexander George, and shot on location at Awe Ranch, the film has Tyrone Lindqvist, Jon George and James Hunt—RÜFÜS DU SOL—situated amidst an expanse of rocky terrain. Dressed in black, standing behind their instruments and against the backdrop of the setting sun, dozens of vertical light tubes surround them. The lights pulsate in time to the Hunt’s drumming until the beat drops and Eyes from Solace (2018) kicks in with a passion-filled fury.
Lighting designer Matthew James Smith and lighting director David Fairless create an uncomplicated, yet meticulous lighting program that complements the everchanging sky. As the colours fade overhead and darkness sets in Smith and Fairless play with contrasting lightness and darkness to create an atmosphere that not only matches the music but elevates its emotive quality.
The track list is also carefully curated to suit the overall environment and intended ambience. With the last light from dusk lingering, New Sky aptly plays followed by Desert Night from the band’s debut album Atlas (2013) as deep purple hues invade overhead. The developing black sky brings with it Solace and Underwater before the luscious, impassioned magnificence of Innerbloom; the only track included from Bloom (2016). Although it is slightly shorter than the studio version at seven minutes and fifty-seven seconds, it is equally as breathtaking. No Place concludes the set and film on a somewhat lighter and relaxed note.
Live From Joshua Tree is heavily edited yet inconspicuously so. The camera work appears to consist predominately of sweeping long takes. But when considering the film holistically, everything is timed and coordinated to perfection. As I watch, I can imagine myself dancing in the desert with thousands of others enjoying the music and the experience. So, it is strange not to witness an audience as you do with other live performance films. Nevertheless, this film makes me yearn to be there, which suggests the team behind it executed their vision with exactitude.
RÜFÜS DU SOL: Live From Joshua Tree is a flawless visual and aural feast. It successfully captures the essence of one of Australia’s current great musical exports allowing audiences globally a taste of all they have to offer.
Film Review By Anita Kertes
RÜFÜS DU SOL: Live from Joshua Tree Track List
- Valley of the Yuccas (Live from Joshua Tree)
- Eyes (Live from Joshua Tree)
- New Sky (Live from Joshua Tree)
- Desert Night (Live from Joshua Tree)
- Solace* (Live from Joshua Tree)
- Underwater (Live from Joshua Tree)
- Innerbloom (Live from Joshua Tree)
- No Place (Live from Joshua Tree)
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