Under the Volcano | Third Space

Under the Volcano

Tue 10 Aug 2021
'I want my MTV'

4 out of 5 stars

As an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Gracie Otto is part of the closest thing to Australian cinematic royalty with her legendary father, Barry Otto and sister Miranda. Yet her latest project does not focus on the world of cinema, but takes us back to a time of renowned musicians and the studio where they made some of the most iconic music of the 1980s. AIR Studios Montserrat was the brainchild of the Beatles renowned producer, Sir George Martin, and moved him into the status of music legend.

This house that was turned into a recording powerhouse was unlike anything that had come before and will never be seen again. This state-of-the-art recording facility was built at the foot of the volcano on Montserrat, a bizarre oasis set in this remote Caribbean paradise. Then with the famous producer as a drawcard, artists worldwide came to record some of their best music. With its combination of nature and high-tech equipment, the unassuming location allowed a multitude of musicians to create songs and bodies of work that still resonate on Spotify playlists all over the globe.

Otto captures personal interviews with recording artists such as Sting, Jimmy Buffett, and Mark Knofler, who share how the illustrious studio influenced some of their most significant work. Each minute of the film becomes a time capsule through the MTV era by showing how songs like Ebony and Ivory, Money for Nothing and Every Breath You Take were inspired by the island mystique. From Paul McCartney to Stevie Wonder to Duran Duran, George Martin managed to lure artists from every genre of the musical world where most would credit this bizarrely mesmerising house in the tropics for change how they made music. Then it all suddenly ended when two natural disasters destroyed the community and the studio with unforgiving fury, not allowing for the magic to ever return.

Under the Volcano is for all of the fans of the impressionable tunes of the 80s and MTV heyday. This becomes a journey behind the scenes of the creation of the soundtrack of this era. Despite being somewhat sanitised for viewers, the story focuses on the time in the studio and keeps the personal lives of the artists private. The Australian director does show how astounding some of the creative processes proved to be on the island. Yet was able to share that some of the experiences were less than enjoyable for some. Yet, it proves to be designed for all who want to reminisce about one of the most influential music eras.

REEL DIALOGUE: How do you remain humble when you are able to influence those who influence the world?

Sir George Martin was the producer for The Beatles. Still, with AIR Studios Montserrat, he influenced acts like Elton John, The Police, and the Rolling Stones. Martin was a man who had an impact on many of the most important voices in music history. Still, in this documentary portrayal, he seemed to remain grounded and humble. Even when everything he built was literally wiped off the earth by a hurricane and a volcano.

To a much lesser degree, we all may experience this as we progress through our lives. Success can come in the form of the arts, academics, business, or other endeavours, but how do we deal with the lower points in life?

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10

The issue comes down to where we place our worth and identity. Suppose you put your trust in the accolades of others and in the achieving of goals. In that case, this will lead to eventual disappointment and depression. As seen throughout the Bible, the solution is to place your trust in the Lord. If all you do is done for the honour of the Lord, regardless of how others respond to it, you will be encouraged by God. Even though the good and bad times will come, the Lord's support will be the constant that can sustain you.


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