Sunday, January 10, 2010
ANGELO BADALAMENTI/DAVID LYNCH "MULHOLLAND DRIVE" (Milan)
Aside from the two "Twin Peaks" collections, this is easily the best collaborative work from Badalamenti and Lynch, serving as an exact evocation of the mysterious, ominous mood of the film as well as an amazing, gorgeous album in it's own right. Rarely do i feel that soundtracks succeed as records because too often someone else's hand is involved in choosing material and things become way too disjointed-the selections don't make any sense, or they veer too far from the film's aesthetic. Music has always been important to David Lynch-so much so that he's stated that his films need to be watched with intense surround sound volume, in pitch darkness, to achieve his desired effect-and that dedication to serving the film beyond the screen has resulted in a truly mesmerizing, immersive album experience. The album opens with "Jitterbug," a play on big band music complete with booming dance drums and subdued brass flourishes. Right away the mood is there. It's completely Hollywood but there's the lurking darkness, the notion that things aren't quite right and they will probably very quickly go all fucked up and wrong. After that we're in pure Badalamenti country, plowed under wave after wave of dark synthesizer melodrama and near pitch black ambient throb, lost in the nightsea of memory loss, consumed by passions that we're not quite understanding yet. Just as you're becoming dazed by all the mood Lynch throws a wrench in with a tripler of older rock and roll, culminating with Linda Scott's syrup-sweet rendition of "I've Told Every Little Star," a '60's romp through girl-crush wonderland. It's a song you've really never heard but it's so archetypal that it feels like you've heard it all your life on every oldies station you've ever tuned to. Then it's right back into the black with the twelve minute synth washout of "Dwarfland/Love Theme", a massive sprawl played by Badalamenti and Lynch themselves that's both incredibly creepy and hauntingly, quietly lovely, an intensely immersive piece that succeeds as its own composition apart from the film. Lynch would revisit this direction a few years later on his masterful "Polish Night Music" album, a lengthy exploration of the synthesizer underbelly. The final chunk of the album is the best, to me, starting off with Rebekah Del Rio's scorching, soul-tearing acappella version of Roy Orbison's "Crying." The power of this performance is breathtaking to behold. Because it's in Spanish i'm forced to react only to the delivery and the emotion contained within and it's fucking astonishing. So, so powerful and gorgeous and sad, totally heartcrushing in the best possible way. We're then treated to three songs by David Lynch and John Neff, all droning rockabilly decontructionism filtered through Lynch's skewed eye. "Go Get Some" features some completely ripping guitar noise and skronk vomit from Neff while Lynch holds it down with a repetitive rock line recalling both Duane Eddy and Dick Dale. "Mountains Falling" hits the same lofty highs, with vocals cloaked in echo and delay swirling all throughout the headphones. Rumbling and hypnotic, growling and surly, swaggering with hinted violence and menace. The album closes out with Badalementi's revisiting of both the opening piece and the love theme introduced in "Dwarfland/Love Theme," bringing things back to their melodramatic beginnings. Much like the film itself, themes are revisited and repeated and nothing ever really comes to light-mysteries just keep unveiling themselves, labyrinthine and shadowed, tantalizing you and calling for you to explore. I thnik the picture chosen for the back of the inner booklet sums it up best-Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring staring up into the sky, looking confused, worried and frightened all at once. You just don't know what's going to happen.