Peter Weir’s 1977 existential mystery The Last Wave stared Richard Chamberlain as a lawyer who defended a group of Indigenous people accused of a murder, in what he suspects is tribal lore. Also featuring Australian legend David Gulpilil (Walkabout/ The Tracker), it’s increasingly surreal and hallucinatory as Chamberlain is plagued by apocalyptic visions of water and the dreamtime. Something of a landmark in existential horror, the film featured a haunting electronic soundtrack that is as mysterious and beguiling as the spiritual themes of the film itself.
With no LP issued after the film’s premiere in 1977, and together with the mystery surrounding the true identity of its enigmatic composer ‘Charles Wain’(in his only feature credit), the score is a largely unheard recording of pioneering experimental film electronics, easily compared to the music that contemporaries Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream were composing for Australian films during the same period or the electronic soundtracks of John Carpenter. Tense atonal electronics, synthesizer drones and manipulated Didjeridu all perfectly capture the film’s ominous atmosphere, punctuating the slow hypnotic pace of this brooding supernatural thriller.