Various Artists

Self Discovery For Social Survival

Image of Various Artists - Self Discovery For Social Survival
Record Label
Mexican Summer

About this item

Since the genre’s birth in the early 1950s, the surf film has involved a synthesis of image and music. Typically these two key ingredients are sourced separately, mixed together only after the visual fact. Self Discovery for Social Survival subverts this recipe. Just like the osmotic waves that run through the film, the visuals and music of SDSS coexist and permeate as one to reinvent and reimagine what surf films can look, sound, and feel like. SDSS works as a triptych - In Mexico, Los Angeles psych ensemble Allah Las, join surf historians and professional surfers from the US and Australia in sipping tequila, hanging ten across winding waves, and stumbling upon a super-secret surf break (the location of which they will never reveal). Allah-Las then return to their home studio to set off to record with their analog equipment, this time ripping on the sound waves. The five songs by Allah Las on the soundtrack, entirely instrumental and all aligned by different variations of fruit jams, lay the foundation of classic surf aesthetic: tingling guitars, sporadic yet attentive percussion, and rolling bass lines. In the second vignette, remotely held in the southern atolls of the Maldives Islands, Los Angeles electronic pop dub duo Peaking Lights (Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis) carve their mark on the waves with a group of progressive young Australian surfers.

While the gentle yet upbeat electronic echoes of Peaking Lights, reminiscent of Broadcast or Arthur Russell, bounce across the screen, breathtaking aerial views of wipeouts and vast underwater ocean shots take flight. Leaving bobbing heads tread-ing ocean waters that carry the whitest shade of blue, Peaking Lights move on land to their home studio to delve into their two contributions to SDSS, “Mirror In The Sky” and “Hold On.” A near-silent symphony ending in Iceland, kiwi neo-psych musician Connan Mockasin and MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden encounter slate grey waves, active volcanoes, euphoric hot springs, massive glaciers, and wild mushrooms. Surrounded in alien landscapes, dramatically darker in tone and movement than other scenes in the film, SDSS emphasizes a side to surf that avoids stereotypes. Heading from The Northern Lights to the north of Brooklyn, Mockasin and VanWyngarden finally settle into Gary’s Electric (Mexican Summer’s in house studio) exhorting a surrealist, emerald ending to mark a unique display of the neo-surf film. Mexican Summer stable staples Dungen and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma provide additional music and sound design to elevate the soundtrack to unknowable stratas.


A1. Dungen “Var Har Du Varit”
A2. Allah-Las “Mulberry Jam”
A3. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma “Breeze”
A4. Allah-Las “Raspberry Jam”
A5. Allah-Las “Blueberry Jam”
A6. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma “Swell”
A7. Allah-Las “Boysenberry Jam”
A8. Allah-Las “Blackberry Jam”
B1. Connan Mockasin & Andrew VanWyngarden “Bad Boys”
B2. Peaking Lights “Mirror In The Sky”
B3. Connan Mockasin & Andrew VanWyngarden “Surf Or Not”
B4. Connan Mockasin & Andrew VanWyngarden “Aurora
B5. Peaking Lights “Hold On”
B6. Connan Mockasin & Andrew VanWyngarden “Mountain Pass”

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