Saturday, July 21, 2007

Proof of Not Drowning, Waving

Since I'm lousy at writing about music, but passable in my movie-speak, I'll present the band Not Drowning, Waving through the Russell Crowe/Hugo Weaving-starring and Jocelyn Moorhouse-directed movie, Proof (no relation to the play or Hopkins/Paltrow movie of the same name).

Proof is a little film that came into my life back in the early 90s, before either Crowe or Weaving were the stars they are today. I used to watch it obsessively and can make claim to having been a fan of both actors long before L.A. Confidential or Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It's the peculiar story of a prickish blind photographer (Weaving) who's befriended by a busboy at his local eatery (Crowe). The pair become fast friends when Weaving's Martin enlists Crowe's Andy to verbally interpret his photographs (a process Martin calls "labelling"). But the only thing neither of them count on is the intrusive presence of Martin's manipulative housekeeper Celia (Geneviève Picot) and her obsession with her employer. I cannot recommend Proof highly enough, especially to anyone who's even a moderate fan of either or both of these men who've gone on to become incredibly successful. It's a charming, easy film to view and will leave a smile on your face. It's about perception and misperception and Moorhouse's yin and yang placement of the two ideas is flawless. Hell, even if you can't stand either of them, you'll dig this film. (Although really -- who hates Hugo Weaving?)

Not Drowning, Waving provide the score for Proof, and whatever they did with it was enough to get me to seek out more of their music. They created a thumping, rhythmic beauty and the music was as much a part of the movie as the stars, script and direction. Some people say the best movie scores aren't noticeable. While there's merit to that notion, I do treasure a score that's listenable as its own entity (Vangelis' work for Blade Runner is an obvious example). The band also did the score for another rarely seen, early Crowe vehicle, Hammers Over the Anvil (which I've not seen, despite the presence of Farscape's Wayne "Scorpius" Pygram). Most of Not Drowning, Waving's albums are out of print here in the States, however Claim and Circus can usually be found on eBay for very reasonable prices and you'll go wrong with neither.

Not Drowning, Waving are one of the great bands that almost nobody's ever heard (at least in my circle of living) and I gather they were most successful in Australia, their home turf. They've got an official website called Follow the Geography, although it's unclear to me whether they're still together as a band or not (the "latest" news is stamped 2005). The site offers up a brief history of the band that's considerably more informative and compelling than anything I could present.

Here's the video for "Spark", which is a fantastic little ditty. An instrumental version of the tune was used in Proof; this version can be found on Circus. If this isn't quite to your liking, don't give up on Not Drowning, Waving. They're full of surprises and "Spark" is only the tip of their eclectic, worldly iceberg.

And here's the trailer for Proof, which is also set to the music of Not Drowning, Waving: