Last night, an eclectic mix snowboard fans, industry heads and media assembled at the Coronet Cinema in Notting Hill for the London leg of Absinthe’s premiere tour for Resonance. With its old-school theatre vibe and as somewhat of a staple venue for snowboard premieres in recent memory, the Coronet was a fitting host for one of snowboarding’s most esteemed production companies.
After an opening announcement from one half of Absinthe’s production team Patrick Armbruster, an already intoxicated Danny Kass ambled onto the stage to raucous applause and proceeded to profess his love for snowboarding and boobies. We’re with you on that one Danny.
Lucas Debari opens up the movie with a ridiculously solid part. There are huge hits over the Baker gap, smooth backcountry lines and plenty of buttering off pillows, as well as a shot of him straight-lining a heavy face Johan style. Eric Jackson’s part reminds us why he’s definitely no longer overshadowed by his dread-wielding big brother and Wolle Nyvelt has a rad section on an old school snurfer-esque board. Blair Habenicht also has a proper banger of a section - the only thing I noted on my phone during his section was “heavy part. HUGE lines."
Jibbing is relatively sparse in Resonance. Bode Merrill has some technical rail hits and also totally holds his own in the backcountry in one of the standout parts of the movie - solely for the riding contained in it that is (more on this later). One of the loudest cheers of the night was for his insane one-foot inverted backside 720 that we first saw in a High Cascade camp edit last year. This time it’s stomped in powder. Utter madness. The only other jibbing to be seen is the two-headed beast of a shared part from the unfortunately named Brandon Cocard and Cale Zima. Both are impressively well rounded and Cocard sticks a 50-50 to the end one of the longest rails we’ve seen in a while.
There were a couple of riders that we aren’t all that familiar with who had us quietly nodding in approval. Young Swiss ripper Mat Schaer goes bloody massive, throwing technical tricks and absolutely sending it at the same time, as does Pat Burgener with a huge back 1080 double stomped bolts. South American Manuel Diaz has a part sandwiched between Gigi Rüf and Nicolas Müller towards the end of the movie, which says a lot about the calibre of this guy’s riding. He lives up to that slot well, dropping some really memorable tricks, including a huge laid out backflip chucked casually on a heavy backcountry face and an ice wall ride.
Gigi stomps plenty of hammers in his trademark clean, precise style and these are some of the first video part shots that we’ve seen on his new Slash snowboards. The name of that brand is perfect for his riding style by the way. Danny Kass steps out of his semi-retirement and lays down a short but sharp part that showcases his floaty, tweaked out style. The accompanying Rolling Stones tune is somewhat fitting – both Danny and the Stones have been at it for a while and although no longer at their prime, are still delivering the goods.
Nicolas Müller bags the two-song ender in what was for us, and no doubt countless others, one of the big highlights of the movie. There’s no need for a heap of exotic locations with Nico - in fact his entire part is shot in his home resort of Laax, Switzerland. There really aren’t many riders in the world that could pull that off - Travis Rice in Jackson Hole perhaps. He simply has the most amazing flow; effortlessly spinning off windlips and rollers as if they were sculpted park features. It’s so easy to watch him ride and relate what you’re seeing to the sensations that you experience when you’re on your own snowboard. That is why Nicolas Muller is one of the most popular riders in the game.
We also couldn’t help but feel that as a whole, Resonance felt a bit dated. While some may argue that you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken, our opinion is that when things aren't kept fresh, they eventually break down anyway. It could just be that Absinthe are sticking to what they know and reenacting what has worked in the past, but in a day and age where film companies are really having to step up their game to stay current and exciting, Absinthe seem to be resting on their laurels somewhat. Like its predecessors, Resonance is shot on 16mm film and so retains that slightly grainy, classic feel. The Pirates recently ditched 16mm for HD cameras, and while that choice may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the importance of being innovative with shooting techniques, angles and overall aesthetics shouldn’t be understated. Only time will tell if Absinthe shake things up in the future or perhaps risk falling by the wayside. We had one more small gripe with Resonance - the amount of overcast footage that was used in the final cut. It's great to have some variety and all that, and it must be a ballache to wait around for the sun to show up but we just think that it does the riders so much more justice and makes the footage that much crisper when skies are blue.
Don’t get us wrong, this is an Absinthe movie through and through. It’s not all-time by any means, but if you’re a fan of their recent efforts, you’ll enjoy this one - just don’t be expecting any drastic departures from the norm.