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New Air Studios Montserrat Film Gets Good Reviews at SXSW Premiere

“Under the Volcano is an excellent depiction of music artistry and influence,” says Daniel Prinn of the MovieBuff.Net. The film made its world premiere Saturday during the SXSW, which was done virtually this year.
Prinn’s piece was one of several critics which praised the new documentary directed by Gracie Otter and produced by Cody Greenwood of Australia.
“For someone like myself who doesn’t know much about music history or anything about record producing, I was happily surprised that the documentary “Under the Volcano” had me under its spell throughout,” Prinn wrote in his review.

Chillin’ poolside after a recording session. (UTV Promo photo) noted that the “Australian film “Under the Volcano” offered a fascinating look at the decade-long run of Air Studios Montserrat, which famed Beatles producer George Martin built on an island in the West Indies in the late 1970s. The remote island’s natural beauty and friendly locals serve as an almost surreal contrast to the constant parade of music legends who recorded there: Jimmy Buffett, Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder, Elton John, the Police, Dire Straits and dozens of others. (Sting’s classic cameo on Dire Straits’ smash single “Money for Nothing” happened because Sting just happened to be hanging out on the island when Mark Knopfler’s band arrived to make their mid-’80s multiplatinum masterpiece “Brothers in Arms.”)”
“The stories about how they interacted with the people on the island, too, is heartwarming, especially when we learn the citizens influenced some songs (like “Let Me Talk” by Earth, Wind & Fire). It all feels like great trivia, especially when we learn that Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote “I Guess That’s Why They Call it The Blues” in 20 minutes on this island,” Prinn’s review noted.
Shane Pfender of The Austin Chronicle notes “The documentary provides a comparison of the subtly different attitudes of massively famous musicians and the impact an environment can have on music. Jimmy Buffet shows up for about five minutes to recount a bizarre tale about how he was mildly inconvenienced on the island and offered to buy an entire bar from a local. Sting fondly remembers his windsurfing lessons and seems to have a sincere love for the people of Montserrat.”
Richard Gray wrote on LetterBoxd, a social platform for film lovers that “there was an impressive amount of talking heads, I’m not entirely sure there was enough material here to sustain even this slender feature.”
While the film does not dwell on the island and it’s culture, it does acknowledge how the destruction wreaked by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 signalled a dethnel for the Air Studios and the 1995 volcanic eruption at Soufriere left the capital of Plymouth and the studios a “ghostly, inaccessible artifact.”
“It’s a charming love letter to music and to George Martin in general,” Prinn concludes.
Read the reviews here:
SXSW 2021: Under the Volcano review | CineVue (
SXSW Film Review: Under the Volcano: When the island of Montserrat was the center of the music biz – Screens – The Austin Chronicle
SXSW 2021 Review – ‘Under the Volcano’ (2021) | The Movie Buff
href=””>‎‘Under the Volcano’ review by Richard Gray 🍿 • Letterboxd