Season 1 of Elevation is complete. With the final, non-sequential release of episode #6, Springs & Floods, the NM-Digital team has completed 8 episodes.
This is about 1.5 hours of original content focused on the lands and caves of New Mexico. You can binge on the full series, uninterrupted, by clicking the YouTube video, below.
The concept for Elevation began in 2008, but really began in the early 1990’s when Mike Ward and Dan Otero met at the University of New Mexico. This is when the seeds of caving, hiking, hot-springing, and adventure first gained root. This is also when the team began to shoot video of these adventures.
Fast forward to 2008, and the “NMD Crew” was ready to hike a 36 mile loop in the Gila Wilderness, and film a show. Episode 3 features the first focused attempt at making a show about the New Mexico back country. This journey ventured through 4 episodes, with the team talking about making sushi in the wild, starting fires using the hand-spindle friction method, and encountering the challenges of floods and fires.
In addition to this story arc, the team maintained a steady diet of caving adventure and videography. With chief cartographer Mike Ward in the lead, the team has explored more than 64 caves in New Mexico. This experience culminated in 2011 with the release of episode #1, numerically titled: Fifty.
Fifty was a landmark episode for the team, both for the advanced technical nature of rappelling in a cave, as well as the advanced filming, lighting, editing and graphics. We felt it was strong enough to launch the Elevation series to a first-time viewer. The caving continued through episodes #2, #7 and #8, with a focus on rappelling gear, cave geology and fossils, and mentoring the younger generation into the wonders of spelunking.
The music of Elevation has also been a long, strange trip. The iconic intro music is a song called Juntamos, written by DanO in 1995. This latin-fusion song uses the “secret Santana chord progression” with a 5/4 time signature. Colin Darby added his considerable saxophone skills to this song in 2007.
Flight About Flute has been a standard for almost all the montage sequences. This song features Louise Self on Flute, Mike Ward on Keyboard, and Justin Marley on Bass, and was written by DanO in 1996. Also featured is Lucas Ethelbah on percussion and beats.
Frosty became the ending music for the series and is the song during almost all the end-credits. This song was written by DanO and Kirk Hein (Dirk-n-Kan) in 2010. Dirk-n-Kan also composed the epic Bass Phil song which is heavily featured in episode #1.
The classic Trail to Jordan song is a pastiche of many songs, compiled by Mike Ward, DanO and Jmar over the years. The version featured in the Elevation series features flute, guitar, keyboards and bass by Louise, DanO, Mike and Jmar, respectively.
Mike Ward, Justin Marley, and Dan Otero
Featuring knowledge and research by:
Mike Ward, Justin Marley, Chris Poole, Dan Otero, and Louise Self
Motion and Graphics by Dan Otero
Original Music by New Mexico Digital, .dose, Dirk-n-Kan, Blue Dreamers:
The music players:
Louise Self – Flute
Colin Darby -Saxophone
Mike Ward – Keyboards, Guitar
Kirk Hein – Guitar, Bass, Drums
Justin Marley – Guitar, Harmonica
Dan Otero – Guitar, Bass, Drums, Mandolin
Lucas Ethelbah – Percussion