As wild, strange and sweet as the artist it celebrates, Elwood Snock & The Land of Lo-Fi travels with musician Michael Hurley across America and into a land of his own creation. Directed by Lisa Foti-Straus and Susannah Morse, the film offers a layered portrayal of Hurley, who has been generating his own world of music and artwork long enough to be something of an underground legend.
Driving stretches of endless highway with Hurley in his 1973 Dodge wagon, the film visits fellow musicians and side-dwellers who, like Hurley, have chosen an alternate road. They speak not only to the consistency of his musical creations—off-kilter vocals and an arrhythmic beat —but also to his unfettered style of living. Through scenes that Hurley himself shot, the film quietly opens us up to the pulse of his life. Hurley abides by his inner song and has ensconced himself in creations of his own imagining; after forty years and over twenty albums, he has maintained a compelling musical universe insulated enough to hold its own center.
In animated interludes crafted by Drew Christie, we meet the creatures of Hurley’s imaginings, who have appeared not only in his songs but also in his artwork—drawings, graphic novels, watercolors and album covers he has generated since his earliest tea-drinking days. Be it the nefarious cartoon dogs Jocko and Boone, the glassy-eyed Protein Monster or his green-geezered alter ego known as Kornbred, the film dips in and out of a world parallel to Michael’s own—a world that abides by no laws of man or gravity, where passions run free.
Hurley's music is the pulse of the film: in concert halls and bars, around campfires and at hearths, his idiosyncratic beat captivates audiences country-round, and his off-color, melancholy songs reflect a sensitive heart. The film lets us be around Hurley as a way of discovering his ethos. In slow paced processions, Elwood Snock & The Land of Lo-Fi drops us into Hurley’s rhythm for a moment, leaving behind the morays of normal life and upending the notion of a prescribed route to fulfillment.