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"Twin Peaks: Limited Event Series Soundtrack"

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ALBUM REVIEW: Twin Peaks: Limited Event Series Soundtrack (Rhino / Warner Music Group / Rancho Rosa) 2017

This being one of two soundtrack releases related to this summer’s Twin Peaks: The Return, this 18-track album (to match the 18 parts of the “third” season?) does not focus on the artists who appeared at the Roadhouse in the final minutes of many of the episodes, but more of the atmospheric score that was peppered throughout the rebooted series about a lawman trying to find himself again in a world that is not as it seems.

Yes, we learned a lot about the nature of good and evil and how they do and don’t mix and that time is not linear and that good doesn’t always win, but wasn’t that what we were expecting in David Lynch and Mark Frost’s journey back to Twin Peaks, Washington (and points in between)?

Just as the original Twin Peaks soundtrack did back in 1990, Angelo Badalamenti’s “Twin Peaks Theme” – as haunting as it was the first time I heard it all those years ago – opens up this soundtrack, only to be jarringly followed by Muddy Magnolias’ “American Woman,” which was remixed by David Lynch.

But Badalamenti, whose melancholy, synth-centric compositions helped frame the distinct moods featured in each episode, particularly in the original run, is heavily featured here, as we here “Laura Palmer’s Theme” again, reminding me of windy, fall days in the Ozarks when I was re-watching the series on borrowed VHS tapes from a college friend in 1991-92, just prior to the release of the prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

Badalamenti’s “Accident/Farewell Theme” is followed by “Grady Groove,” a brushes-on-drums solo bit by Grady Tate, Badalamenti’s longtime jazz drummer and compadre.

Johnny Jewel’s “Windswept (Reprise)” stays true to the dark, jazzy mood. While “Dark Mood Woods /The Red Room” is another familiar synth-heavy composition, with lots of minor notes and Season 2-styled spookiness.

With Badalamenti’s “The Chair” (used when we are in the Red Room with “Mike” and the other entities in that baffling, parallel world) and “Deer Meadow Shuffle,” we are in familiar spaces with the composer and with the Twin Peaks creators.

You are now entering Twin Peaks ... (Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report)

But this is where what I consider Side 1 to end. Side 2 is an altogether more surreal experience, beginning with “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” a piece of music I shall not soon forget.

Clocking in at nearly 10 minutes, “Threnody” was featured in the mind-shattering eighth episode, where the Trinity test takes place and we see how the detonation of the first atomic bomb in 1945 led to the creation of “BOB” and the entrance of “Black Lodge” forces into our reality. This one jars you, literally, to the absolute core, as performed by the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, w/ Witold Rowicki. 

David Lynch and Dean Hurley's "Slow 30's Room" is Lynchian in the extreme - a somewhat disorienting Big Band number that is played like an old 78 RPM record played at 45 RPM. 

"The Fireman" takes Badalamenti to synth balladry he knows best while the instrumental version of the dreamy Chromatics song "Saturday," the vocal version featured in Part XII, is used to nice effect, while Thought Gang's "Headless Chicken" (Lynch and Badalamenti together) is a spare track, but no-less ominous with it's upright bass, Tate's thumping drums and Badalamenti's sinister synth chords.

Badalamenti's "Night" and "Heartbreaking" evoke both, while the finger-snapping classic "Audrey's Dance," a fan favorite from the old show that, well, never gets old, even if a quarter-century has passed. The MC in Part XVI, after Eddie Vedder's performance at the Roadhouse, introduces us to "Audrey's Dance" as Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) does her slinky dance alone on the dance floor. And during the credits, the song is looped backwards adding an uncanny quality to an equally uncanny episode.

This soundtrack concludes with Badalamenti's "Dark Space Low." Not a particularly powerful or memorable track, but adding to the overall mood, nevertheless. 

This isn't a perfect soundtrack, as it has a "mixed bag" quality. But then it is reflective of a show that takes chances and goes down darkend roads and where it leads us, no one really knows.

And that's why it's so magical.


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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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