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Twin Peaks - The Musical World of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti

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Anyone who has been keeping up with David Lynch for the past 30 years knows that he and composer Angelo Badalamenti make quite the team. Badalamenti has scored every one of Lynch’s cinematic projects since Blue Velvet in 1986, garnering himself many awards. Most recently his music can be heard as the soundtrack to this summer’s hit series, Twin Peaks: The Return. What may come as a surprise to many is the fact that these two masters only met by coincidence.

During the filming of Blue Velvet it became apparent that Isabella Rossellini was going to need a vocal coach for her scenes as a nightclub singer. The producers did not want to waste any time and one of them knew of a composer and arranger working in New York who liked coaching singers. They gave Badalamenti a call and he agreed to go to California. Lynch got word of the progress that had been made with Rossellini and asked if Badalamenti was available to write some music for the film. The only instructions he gave him before they met was that the music had to, “rip his heart out.”

The score to Blue Velvet was a huge success and Lynch asked Badalamenti to join him on his next project, which he described as Blue Velvet: The Soap Opera. When they met to talk about the score, Badalamenti had his Fender Rhodes keyboard with him. Lynch started describing deep dark woods full of mystery and foreboding, and Badalamenti started to play. Lynch liked what he heard and went on to describe a young woman in the woods who was very beautiful, but very sad. Badalamenti then began playing a new theme that perfectly matched this description. Lynch then cried out, “Angelo, you’re ripping my heart out!” After their meeting he told the composer not to change a single note. This music would become the main theme of Twin Peaks and would win the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

For more information on the lives and works of Lynch and Badalamenti check out these items from your library:

Blue Velvet movie cover

Blue Velvet

Director David Lynch crafted this hallucinogenic mystery-thriller that probes beneath the cheerful surface of suburban America to discover sadomasochistic violence, corruption, drug abuse, crime and perversion. Kyle Maclachlan stars as Jeffrey Beaumont, a square-jawed young man who returns to his picture-perfect small town when his father suffers a stroke. Walking through a field near his home, Jeff discovers a severed human ear, which he immediately brings to the police. Their disinterest sparks Jeff's curiosity, and he is soon drawn into a dangerous drama that's being played out by a lounge singer, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and the ether-addicted Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). The sociopathic Booth has kidnapped Dorothy's young son and is using the child as a bargaining chip to repeatedly beat, humiliate and rape Dorothy. Though he's drawn to the virginal, wholesome Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), Jeff is also aroused by Dorothy and in trying to aid her, he discovers his dark side.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me movie cover

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

This dark drama is the prequel to the TV series, Twin Peaks, also by director David Lynch. A woman who seems to be innocent and pure by day leads a double life in a rural community where quite a bit of evil lurks just beneath the surface of an otherwise typical American small town. As she was sexually abused throughout her childhood by her possessed father, Laura has some obvious sexual problems and is heavily addicted to cocaine. This film tells of the bizarre and twisted circumstances that led to her murder--which was where the television series began.

The Big Dream - David Lynch cd cover

The Big Dream by David Lynch

The blues have been a part of David Lynch's art for years: pieces from Angelo Badalamenti's scores, like Fire Walk with Me's "The Pink Room," are dominated by time-tested chord progressions and moody atmospheres, while projects like Blue Bob demonstrated Lynch's formidable guitar skills. All of which is to say that his second album, The Big Dream, should sound familiar to his fans, even as it pushes the blues' boundaries. Even if his take on the blues is far from straightforward, this might be the most accessible set of songs associated with Lynch to date. In its own hypnotic way, The Big Dream honors the blues' lust for life and its lonely heart

David Lynch: The Man from Another Place  book cover

David Lynch: The Man from Another Place by Dennis Lim

At once a pop culture icon, cult figure, and film industry outsider, master filmmaker David Lynch and his work defy easy definition. Dredged from his subconscious mind, Lynch’s work is primed to act on our own subconscious, combining heightened, contradictory emotions into something familiar but inscrutable. No less than his art, Lynch’s life also evades simple categorization, encompassing pursuits as a musician, painter, photographer, carpenter, entrepreneur, and vocal proponent of Transcendental Meditation.

The Secret History of Twin Peaks book cover

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost

From the co-creator of the landmark series, the story millions of fans have been waiting to get their hands on for 25 long years. The Secret History of Twin Peaks enlarges the world of the original series, placing the unexplained phenomena that unfolded there into a vastly layered, wide-ranging history, beginning with the journals of Lewis and Clark and ending with the shocking events that closed the finale. Not a traditional novel, this book is a collection of “documents” from various figures throughout the history of Twin Peaks. Can you put it all together and solve the mystery?

Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity book cover

Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you've got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They're huge and abstract. And they're very beautiful. I look for a certain kind of fish that is important to me, one that can translate to cinema. But there are all kinds of fish swimming down there. There are fish for business, fish for sports. There are fish for everything. Everything, anything that is a thing, comes up from the deepest level. Modern physics calls that level the Unified Field. The more your consciousness-your awareness-is expanded, the deeper you go toward this source, and the bigger the fish you can catch.”

from Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch


Image by Meher Anand Kasam (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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