In The Zone

•July 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

*SPOILERS, of course*

Though you’ll doubtless already be aware of it, a really very nice offshoot of Twin Peaks: The Return is the website ‘The Search for the Zone‘ mentioned in episode 9 written by fictional Highschool Principle Bill Hastings and doomed to be decapitated librarian Ruth Davenport, which has been brought into existence (manufactured for a “purpose…”?) in all its wonderfully 90s GeoCities-a-like kitsch glory, to be perused at your leisure, and with many an intriguing Twin Peaks treat hidden within…

search for the zome

My main problem with it is, well, (PEDANT MODE: ENABLED) how could a website be written by a Highschool Principle and a librarian, of all people, and yet use a question mark in the sentences

“Think of the events that could have splintered time?”

and

“The things that could have laid the seed for a starting point for this development?”

which AREN’T BLOODY QUESTIONS?!

Answer me that, Bill!

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Pernickety enough for you?

But it’s just a small thing, nothing to lose your head over.

Ah… a somewhat indelicate turn of phrase… awkward… apologies, Ruth…

“There’s always music in the air…” #1: ‘3 O’Clock’ by Oxbow

•July 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

First in an ongoing series of posts highlighting Lynchian sounds and musics (as defined by The Double R Club and I) that may have flown under the radar of many and which perhaps one might even imagine appearing at The Roadhouse in some future, imaginary episode…

From the opening burst of distant industrial growl, to the slow jazz crawl and somehow both aggrieved and aggressive lethargy of the thing, those descending bass notes, the insistent yet lazy ride cymbal and then of course, as the song lumbers along, mean-spirited and nightmarish, the hysteria-infused meandering mumblings and shrieks of Eugene Robinson, this song’s disparate desperate parts combine to make a truly unsettling affair.

The track is from Oxbow‘s storming Serenade In Red and is worth a purchase should you wish to hear what it sounds like when a man turns himself inside out over the course of an album; other highlights include the thundering, stuttering menace of ‘Lucky’ and their truly unhinged version of Willie Dixon’s blues classic ‘Insane Asylum’ (on which they are joined  Marianne Faithfull!) and which they entitle, perversely, ‘Insylum‘.

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Check ’em out live if ever you can, they will fuck you up in the best way possible.

Lyrics:

Black tie and- and jacket over chair back
My figure fat and fucking gunnysacked
Casting broke-wing shadows on the duvet
While baby sleep, baby sleep, baby sleep
Yeah and baby talks away
Like a… liar, LIAR! Yeah my heads on fire
Bent over your dreaming (your dreaming)
I hear the- the scheme- scheme- SCREAMING
And like Jesus now, I sleep -almost never

Who- Who the hell- is that man, that man?
That man you see in your sleep?
What kind of company do you keep
when I am gone?
I am the love of what is wrong
And that waits for me from dusk on through dawn
Hot, hot, hot and hating me and itching to be free
Looking for another way, eat me
Looking for another way to fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck me!

Love, love, love
Listen to the tongue you speak
When the days turn into days of no sleep
And oh God, I am so weak, I am so weak
And you are killing me
But in her crescent-cut eye
I see the spark that means awake
And wonder why
Someone always has to die

SHOULD YOU LIKE THE NEW TWIN PEAKS? -a mystery solved in 3 somewhat strained metaphors

•July 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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A bomb has gone off. Opinion seems to be splitting.

There is much talk on Twin Peaks Facebook groups, talk flying hither and yon, talk of how Twin Peaks: The Return is the best Twin Peaks ever (*excited emoji*), and talk of how it isn’t, and even of how it’s not really Twin Peaks at all.

And much has been the sniping, much the name-calling, much the figurative throwing of toys from prams, much the exclamations of “You’re just too stupid to get it!” and “it’s just pretentious self-indulgent toss!”

…and all I start to hear is Alan Partridge:

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For those who are not enjoying Twin Peaks: The Return due to its radical departure from the original two seasons I have genuine sympathy; it is different, very much so, and if what you were expecting was more of the same soap-opera-with-a-few-sprinklings-of-quirk-and-the-odd-flash-of-dream-like-menace then no, this is not at all what you’ve been given.

However, this brings me to my first somewhat strained metaphor:

#1 – Bringing It All Back NO

This isn’t ‘Dylan goes electric’. This is ‘Dylan was always electric but did a few folk albums in the early 90s that you loved and has now gone back to being chiefly, and often yrev, very, electric’.

I can think of little in Lynch’s past that would suggest that he was interested in repeating himself, particularly in repeating something he did over 20 years ago; it was always going to be a departure and yet, with the advent of the brain melting episode 8, perhaps the old-schoolers might be forgiven for their consternation?

Which ushers forth my next somewhat strained metaphor:

#2 – The Radiohead Paradigm

Followup to the lauded (nay lionised) Radiohead album OK Computer, 1997’s Kid A confused the hell out of many with it’s idiosyncratic electronica and willful sonic abstractions; at the time a flatmate of mine dismissed the album, saying “I don’t go to Radiohead for that kind of music.” If you’re wondering, yes, yes he was an idiot. As the band went on to produce more records, their trajectory seldom flew anywhere near the stylings of OK Computer and remained on a steadfastly strange path; and thus there was a schism. I would say to the OKComputerers the same thing I would say the the TwinPeakoldschoolers: you may not like the new but at no point will you be excluded from enjoying the old. There has been no replacement, no George Lucas-like rewriting of history, merely a fresh, different and non-compulsory piece of art.

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Which is to say, by way of my final somewhat strained metaphor:

#3 – Ideas Are Like Fish

This is, of course, a famous motto of Lynch’s, having to do with the way in which he ‘catches’ his ideas; but think of it like this: when you indulge in a new piece of work, be it music, film, television, sculpture whichever, you are going paddling with one of these fish. The artist has caught the thing, fed it (maybe deliberately starved it), maybe groomed it, filed down its teeth (maybe sharpened them), presented it in a tank they feel to be appropriate; and you? Well you’re climbing into the tank for a paddle, perhaps even a swim.

And sometimes the fish will nibble at your toes, sometimes they’ll give you rides like dolphins, they may even open their moths from time to time and flash you the size of their teeth, give you a fright; however, if you don’t like the look of those teeth, or feel that the fish’s eyes hold too hungry a look, GET OUT OF THE TANK.

Some ideas will eat you up, while others will just devour your time. My advice to all is to find something you want to eat you, and dive in.

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But of course the question should never be Should you like…? but always, simply, Do you…? And if you do then off you go, fill yer boots. If you don’t, then… well… don’t.

“But Angelo, the most important thing is, I’m gonna need some music that’s gonna tear the hearts out of people.”

•June 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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Playlists for The Double R Club‘s 8th Annual Miss Twin Peaks Contest, 15th June, 2017

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P R E – S H O W :
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[ in-house Twin Peaks ambient montage comprising ‘Half Speed Orchestra 4 (Dugpas)’, ‘Slow Speed Orchestra 2 (Unease Motif / The Woods)’, ‘Half Speed Orchestra 2 (Dark Forces)’, ‘Half Speed Orchestra 1 (Stair Music / Danger Theme)’, ‘Back To Fat Trout (Unease Motif / The Woods)’, ‘Teresa’s Autopsy’, ‘It’s Your Father’ and ‘The Red Room’ all from The Twin Peaks Archive ]

‘The Bookhouse Boys’ – Angelo Badalamenti, from Music From Twins Peaks
‘Audrey’s Dance’ – Xiu Xiu, from … Xiu Xiu Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks
‘Freshly Squeezed (Fast Cool Jazz Version)’ – Angelo Badalamenti, downloaded from davidlynch.com

[ audio / sound design from Twin Peaks: The Return ]

‘Shadow’ – Chromatics, from Dear Tommy
‘Audrey’ (TV Version) – Angelo Badalamenti, downloaded from davidlynch.com
‘Dance Of The Dream Man’ – The Astronaut Arcade & Who Ha & Lucy Black, from The Next Peak Vol I
‘Falling’  – Chrysta Bell, free download HERE
‘Audrey’s Dance, Epilogue’ – Bookhouse, from Ghostwood

[ audio / sound design from Twin Peaks: The Return ]

‘American Woman’ – Muddy Magnolias (David Lynch remix)
‘Solo Percussion 1’ – Angelo Badalamenti, downloaded from davidlynch.com
‘Horne’s Theme’ – Angelo Badalamenti, downloaded from davidlynch.com
‘Mississippi’ – The Cactus Blossoms, from You’re Dreaming

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I N T E R V A L :
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‘Snake Eyes’ – Trouble, from Snake Eyes
‘Smoking Beagles’ – Sub Sub (feat. Tricky), from the Smoking Beagles EP
‘Habit’ – Uniform, from Wake In Fright

[ ‘An Angel In A Sycamore’ (edit): in-house ‘mash up’ of ‘The Black Dog Runs At Night’, ‘The Pink Room’ and ‘Sycamore Trees’, from the Fire Walk With Me O.S.T., ‘Blue Frank’, from Twin Peaks Season Two Music And More, and dialogue from Fire Walk With Me -listen to the full version HERE ]

‘Blue Frank’ – Bookhouse, from the album Ghostwood, buy HERE

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LISTEN TO PLAYLISTS HERE
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My first act was to ‘Miss America!’ by Johnny Desmond, from Yours In Song -with added samples from Mulholland Drive. My second act was a version of ‘Happiness’ by Tones On Tail, the original version of which appears on their album Pop.

“Listen to the sounds” – On The Expanding Musical Palette Of David Lynch

•June 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

TPgramophone

In which your humble narrator (perhaps in an exercise in procrastination when he should in fact be rehearsing / learning lines etc.) seeks to detail, at least in some relatively superficial way, the soundwork of David Lynch, the burgeoning sonic arsenal thereof, and invites the reader to “taste the rainbow” WITH YOUR EARS.

The sound and music in Lynch’s film work begins, of course, with the looped, piercing sirens of Six Men Getting Sick (1966), before moving on to the Musique concrète sounds of The Alphabet (1968) and The Grandmother (1970).  Though it was with the immense, groundbreaking and vertiginous industrial score to Eraserhead (1977) that Lynch and Alan R. Splet seem to have truly created the first rung on the sonic ladder to the Lynchian sound we all know today.

Some of Lynch’s subsequent work is accompanied by more conventional music, or at least scores that he seems to have had little or no influence on, including the often haunting soundtrack to The Elephant Man by John Morris, and Dune‘s arguably underrated score (a few somewhat cringey guitar solos notwithstanding) by Brian Eno & Toto; additionally The Straight Story‘s more traditional, plaintive score by Lynch stalwart Badalamenti seems a little outside of the director’s usual worlds, as indeed to a large extent does the film itself.

But it was Lynch’s meeting with Angelo Badalamenti while making Blue Velvet that truly catapulted him into the sonic worlds we largely know him for today.

“Angelo [Badalamenti] really brought me into the world of music, right into the middle of it… I never got deep into working with a composer and having that experience of being able to fall into the world of music, and Angelo invited me into that world, and encouraged it, and many great experiences have come out of that.”

The Blue Velvet score is often somewhat traditional and clearly influenced by film noir, but there are Lynchian gems within; the re-purposing of old songs (as in the title track, Ketty Lester’s incredible ‘Love Letters‘, not to mention the memorable  and unsettling use of Orbison’s ‘In Dreams‘). There are some moments of Musique concrète in the sound design, the drones and tones that Lynch would become known for and some of which, interestingly, makes it onto the soundtrack album on ‘Lumberton U.S.A. / Going Down To Lincoln – Sound Effects Suite’.

Lynch’s meeting with Badalamenti lead to their song writing partnership and to the Julee Cruise albums Floating Into The Night and The Voice Of Love, not to mention the now legendary soundtrack to Twin Peaks; but more than that, their partnership seemed set in stone from then on and lo, the Lynchian palette of sounds as we know it today, did begin to grow…

So, what’s in the Lynchian sound palette as things stand, and where did it first make an appearance?

Stepping gingerly over the beautifully rendered industrial rumbles and drones of Eraserhead (clearly the progeny of his early short films) I’d say the next string to his musical bow would be those vintage songs from the 50s and 60s, those songs of heartbreak and/or teenage love that have found their way into everything from Blue Velvet‘s titular track to Mulholland Drive‘s ‘I’ve Told Every Little Star‘; recontextualized by Lynch, these songs gain an added depth and strangeness.

Besides these forlorn ballads of lost love or innocent romance, Rock & Roll clearly had a massive influence on the young Lynch: “I’ve loved music always, and my music fire was lit by Elvis Presley, really, and all that was happening back then” and this love is evident in Wild at Heart‘s inclusion of Gene Vincent’s ‘Be-Bop A Lula‘ and Them’s rendition of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, not to mention Sailor’s obsession with the songs of Elvis. but it is in Wild at Heart that we are slapped in the face with perhaps the first of Lynch’s truly unexpected musical additions, that of speed metal band Powermad’s ‘Slaughterhouse’. I mean, Lynch fans up til then might have been forgiven for asking what in the wide, wide world of sports was going on.

This brash and violent departure from Lynch’s usual sonic M.O. (“modus operandi!“) may have seemed jarring at the time but it is then echoed from time to time throughout the years, with the addition of Rammstein and others to Lost Highway, all the way up to chaotic industrial/noise/metal outfit Uniform’s inclusion, blaring from a bad man’s black car in episode 5 of Twin Peaks: The Return (itself an echo of Chris Isaak’s ‘Gone Ridin’‘ from Blue Velvet) the lesson here seems to be: just when you think you know where he’s going Lynch will inevitably throw you a curve-ball… that may cauterize your auditory nerve.

Even in the world of Twin Peaks, which, (for its first 2 seasons at least -Où est Badalamenti in season 3?) largely sticks to it’s dreamy synth-strings, twangy guitars and dark, jazz stylings, in Fire Walk With Me another curve-ball arrived in the shape of Thought Gang’s Tom Waits-ian stomp ‘A Real Indication‘; in a town like Twin Peaks, no ear is safe.

When Lynch began to make his own music with 2001’s Blue Bob, rock was very much the order of the day, albeit with light industrial stylings sprinkled over the top; however with 2006’s ‘Ghost of Love’ and ‘Walkin’ on the Sky’, Lynch’s gear had shifted into a more dark and dreamy nature, further deepened on his debut solo album Crazy Clown Time, where the order of the day is a kind of pitch-black dream-pop-rock, oddly out of time, like the blues played some reclusive denizen of “another place”.

His collaborations with Chrysta Bell (first heard on ‘Polish Poem‘ in Inland Empire) on albums such as This Train, delve further into dream-pop and in which smatterings of electronica begin to creep in. Which I think leads us pretty much up to date with the synth heavy song used to end the ‘pilot’ (eps. 1&2) of Twin Peaks: The Return, Chromatic’s ‘Shadow‘, a continuation of the dream-pop direction, though also perhaps a reflection of those mournful teenage ballads of the 50s:

“At night I’m driving in your car,
Pretending that we’ll leave this town,
We’re watching all the street lights fade,
And now you’re just a stranger’s dream…”

So. What have we learned from all this jibber-jabber, neighbours? That I’ll do anything to put off learning lines and rehearsing songs? Perhaps. That Lynch’s sonic worlds are ever changing, mutating,  E V O L V I N G ?

EVOLUTION OF THE ARM“I am the arm, and I sound like this”

Yeah, that’ll do.

“Is it future, or is it past?”

•May 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Behold,  D R E A M S  of that which was, in preparation for that which shall be…

Visions of last year’s Mr. Twin Peaks Contest from The Double R Club,  presage this year’s, nay,  n e x t   m o n t h ‘ s ,  8th annual Miss Twin Peaks Contest!

June 15th, “write it in your diary.”

TICKETS to “a gathering of angels.”

“It all cannot be said aloud now.”

•May 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Kyle MacLachlan in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

So, with the advent of the new series of Twin Peaks, I had pondered on whether to do a weekly post about each episode, but of course people watch television so differently these days,  seldom on the same day, and so the possibility of spoilers makes this an issue. Maybe I’ll do so later in the season when we’re all firmly entrenched.

But in the meantime, new Twin Peaks has once again brought to my attention the way certain fans yearn with such frenzy to explain everything down to the smallest detail and to tie up every last mystery with a bow. Of course anyone is free to deconstruct and critique to their heart’s content, but I’ve never understood this attitude when it came to the work of Lynch, and while thinking about this phenomenon, an analogy sprang to mind:

Not every Picasso is a jigsaw puzzle of the Mona Lisa.

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