What does plummeting down a mountain on a bit of plastic have in common with forming an independent, trip-hop music collective? Quite a bit apparently, as demonstrated by Lives Of The Artists: Follow Me Down , a feature-length documentary charting the respective travails of Snowboarding legends Jeremy Jones and Xavier De La Rue, as well as prolific DJ and UNKLE founder, James Lavelle.
Itâ€™s all about a refusal to compromise, you see. UNKLE have been resolutely unwilling to play the mainstream music-industry game since being unceremoniously dumped by Universal back in 2003. Lavelle went on to set up his own record label and has never looked back, relishing the freedom of being allowed to do things his way.
Snowboarders Jones and De La Rue have similarly purist motivations in their chosen field. Tired of the fly-in, fly-out nature of the pro-snowboarding circuit, theyâ€™ve set out to take things to the next level, scaling each dizzying mountain-run on foot, thus risking their necks on the way up as well as down.
The film weaves the two narratives together in impressive style, cutting concert and interview footage with Lavelle into the more conventional narrative arc of a snowboarding expedition to the frozen wastes of Antarctica.
Itâ€™s a fairly breathtaking ride, with the Antarctic landscape, simultaneously beautiful and threatening, the star of the show. Some of the snowboarding meanwhile, has to be seen to be believed, with Jones and De La Rue tackling nigh-on vertical descents in order to get their adrenaline fix. Brilliantly, theyâ€™re hooked up to a pair of head-mounted cameras, allowing the viewer to experience both the painstaking slog to the summit, and the heart-pounding ride back down again.
Despite their wide-eyed enthusiasm for the adventure ahead, their buzz comes at the cost of putting themselves in the way of some very real danger. One wrong foot could plunge them into the freezing ocean below, and a close call with a hidden crevasse will have your heart in your mouth. â€œExperience is something you get just after you need it,â€ deadpans Jones after the scare. Needless to say, itâ€™s not a concern that will put him off for long.
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