Breathe easy, all you extreme-sport surf nazis: this is the last of my posts about ye olde surf soundtracks from days gone by. But dammit, I’m ending on a high note here. The gorgeous 1981 video by Stephen Spaulding entitled Bali High had a totally hot, fusionoid score by Mike Sena recorded out on the Hawaiian island of Kauai that’s never seen an LP or CD release. Me, I’d never have even heard of Mike Sena or the film in question either, had not Ryan over at (Mostly) Blue Skies Above Us ripped the damn thing from a warped VHS tape and posted it on his blog, in all it’s murky glory. Thank god for obsessives like Ryan.
The hard rockin’ but tropical feel to this score puts me in the mind not of MERRELL FANKHAUSER, but of an instrumental KALAPANA spin-off trying on the early 80’s RUSH catalogue. And if this doesn’t sound appealing, well, that’s only cause you aren’t listening to it right now! The production has a nicely humid, low rent sonic aura, the riffs & motifs are consistently varied and strong, and the musical interaction kicks up righteous sparks at all key junctures. I like that these players acknowledge older, longhair aesthetics – CARLOS SANTANA for one, and maybe TOMMY BOLIN ca. Billy Cobham’s Spectrum lp – while welcoming KRAFTWERKian, new wavey ideas of beauty to their sonic palate as well. Anyone thinking this is hackwork need only to compare it to the proudly lackluster Band On The Run soundtrack by ex-TAMAM SHUD Tim Gaze from around this time; warmed-over Steve Miller Band, anyone? No thanks.
It is this soundtrack that made for the most perfect early 80’s rides through the last unspoilt parts of Indonesia surfers would ever encounter, and I’m glad it did. Listen to it now.