Saturday, December 11, 2010


I'm a huge admirer of David Lynch. The films, obviously, but i'm also pretty into his artwork and his music, be it the haunting romance of the "Twin Peaks" soundtracks or his own musical excursions into the deep netherworlds of blank emotion and voiding terror. Much like his directorial work, or his paintings and lithographs, Lynch's music continually unfolds, revealing glacier like levels of depth and detail. While simplistic on the surface, careful attentions to the mediums allow for a world of movement to slither in and envelop, seeping over like a boiling, nebulous blanket.
"The Air is on Fire" is an hour long movement created by Lynch to coincide with a gallery show of the same name held in Paris in 2008. The show was an absolute monster, showcasing Lynch's work across a broad spectrum of media, including photographs, lithographs, film, paintings, sketches and animations. The accompanying book is one of my most treasured items-a hulking trove of Lynch work, page after of page of dark mystery and glare-eyed fright. Fitting then, that the music Lynch created boasts that same massive quality, a feeling of spreading spaciousness and endless, thickening nighttimes.
Made up of wallowing lakes of pitch black ambience, "The Air is on Fire" moves like an encroaching storm, growing ever darker, ever closer, and always building, building, building, creating such a sense of unease and expectation that the only reaction is to turn down all the lights and close your eyes until it all washes over you and away. It scratches and dances soft like a wind, hushing over grounds and caressing the sky only to stop just as suddenly and pull up a choking handful of wet, muffling soil from the earth. It's what i imagine varying shades of black to be when transposed into sound. It's so entirely formless and gigantic, easily standing up to the best work by Lustmord or Nordvargr, or even by Lynch's dear friend and collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti. Perhaps it's Badalamenti's presence that's felt most strongly here, with the vague melodicisms of Lynch's synthesizers hinting at a scarred beauty and a fragrant sort of overbloomed and sickly sweet emotion buried under all that black. By the time the movement reaches its crescendo Lynch has allowed something akin to a traditional chord progression to sneak in, teasing the listener with its hints of song and creating a strong allusion to the "Twin Peaks" theme's aching loneliness and heart-wrecking splendour. This is simply monolithic mood music, one of the finest dark ambient works that i've run across, and another sky-cracking success from one of this century's most fertile artistic minds. Highest possible recommendation.

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