Deep Water – Dir. Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell

deep-water.jpgSomehow watching a great documentary always makes me feel a little like I just did something healthy for myself – like eating organic vegetables, reading a book or going for a run. I suppose this is because documentaries are extracted from real life, and as such are educational and historical. “Deep Water” is one of those films. It tells an incredible story that most Americans are not likely to have any recollection of.

In 1969, there was a boat race to see who could become the first person to make a solo trip around the world without stopping. Nine contestants entered the race and less than half of them completed it. But the real story revolved around Donald Crowhurst a novice sailor with a nagging zeal to win the race as his one shot to leave a mark on history. He built a odd custom boat and mortgaged his house to compete against some of the finest sailors in the world. Leaving his wife and three children behind for what was expected to be a 9 month excursion, what follows is one of the most fascinating stories in the history of sport. There is nothing particularly unusual about the filmmaking here, mostly just old footage taken before the race, interviews with friends and relatives shot recently, and some haunting footage shot while out on the sea. To say more would be to ruin an incredible mystery, but this film will stick with you long after it is over. 

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Ida – Lovers Prayers (Polyvinyl)

ida1.jpgIn the fifteen or so years that I have been listening to Ida, my life has changed over and over again, switching coasts, jobs numerous times, and having kids. But on “Lovers Prayers,” the latest from Woodstock based husband and wife lead band, not much has changed. But I mean this in the best possible way. Ida has a sound so genuinely their own that I would be sad to hear it evolve into something else the way I sometimes wish most others would. Unlike Radiohead, or Yo La Tengo or The Flaming Lips who tend to set out in slightly different direction each time out playing with technology, keyboards or at least volume, Ida is all about vocal harmonies (think non-hippie, co-ed CS&N) and musical melodies led by quiet guitars, piano and brushed percussion that would just get lost in this modern digital age.

“Lovers Prayers” is basically a dreamy uncomplicated minor masterpiece. It is a record of little stories that seem to exist in a kind of timeless place somewhere between now and the late 60’s.  As the title would suggest the songs all tend revolve around human emotion and observation, and always tend to have a kind of gentle urgency about them. This is a band who is aging so well, it hardly seems a day has passed.

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