Lawrence Arabia released ‘Absolute Truth’ and pays homage to Kubrick in new video (listen/watch)
New Zealand's Lawrence Arabia, the musical guise of James Milne, returned in 2016 with his first album in four years, titled Absolute Truth, which came out via Flying Nun. It's a welcome return, featuring more of Milne's charming, erudite pop. You can stream the whole thing below.
He's just released a video for single "The Palest Of Them All" which was directed by Stephen Ballantyne and Carla Brereton and shot in Christchurch, NZ's Commodore Hotel, which Milne and Ballantyne have a special connection to. James explains:
The Commodore Hotel is out near the airport in Christchurch. One of the video's directors, Stephen Ballantyne, and I often go there for an annual drink around Christmas time. When we first went there, around 2001, we really liked the weird limbo vibe of the airport hotel bar, plus there's all sorts of US Antarctic Program ephemera up on the walls. Scientists and US military staff often pass through the bar there and it added a slightly cosmopolitan vibe to the place. In general it was just a much more pleasant location for a beer than most bars in Christchurch.
In 2007 I wrote a song tangentially inspired by the hotel called "The Crew Of The Commodore," which juxtaposed a slightly psychedelic vibe with a melancholic little lyric about an imagined New Zealand space programme, whose astronauts would certainly have stayed at the Commodore if they had to stay anywhere at all.
These places and images tend to resonate down the years, and thus it came to pass that Stephen Ballantyne and Carla Brereton proposed a treatment that basically threw together some of the atmosphere from both Kubrick's "2001" and "The Shining" and turned the legendary (in our own minds at least) Commodore Hotel into an existential prison, a purgatory of my own creation, perhaps the ultimate endpoint of a life spent travelling, running away from genuine human contact.
They definitely nailed that Kubrick vibe. Milne also notes that the Director Of Photography on the video was John Christoffels who made a lot of the classic-era Flying Nun videos, including The Bats' "North by North." The video premieres in this post and you can watch below.