Top Scores #6: Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch & Twin Peaks
After a short hiatus we’re diving back into our TOP SCORES selections, with a creative pairing that could hardly be more iconic.
The impact of David Lynch‘s TV series Twin Peaks cannot be overstated. The show set a new benchmark for leftfield art as popular culture, it influenced an entire generation of idiosyncratic television storytelling, and its skewed form of storytelling blurred the lines between horror, dark humour, murder mystery and noir drama, all while being eagerly watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers worldwide.
The multi-talented Lynch trained as a painter before becoming a filmmaker, but he also developed a keen interest in music. As a recording artist his palette is suitably broad, touching on experimental rock, ambient soundscapes and avant-garde electro pop. Through his similarly iconic film projects like Eraserhead (1977) and Blue Velvet (1986), Lynch was able to flex his musical muscle, composing and producing for both. The Blue Velvet soundtrack first cemented the creative partnership of Lynch and Brooklyn-born composer Angelo Badalamenti. In fact, Badalamenti appears in the film as the piano player in the club while Isabella Rossellini’s character performs.
The most impactful Lynch/Badalamenti collaboration is undoubtedly the soundtrack to Twin Peaks from its initial two-season run in 1990-91. In 2010 The Guardian wrote that this record “still marks the summit of TV soundtracks.” From the show’s dream pop theme song “Falling,” featuring Julee Cruise, to the cocktail-lounge style jazz and unsettling ambience of the score, it all fed into into the unmistakeable Twin Peaks aesthetic.
The video below offers a rare insight into the closely collaborative composition process between Lynch and Badalamenti, as they created the chilling “Laura Palmer’s theme,” on Fender Rhodes, for the young murder victim at the centre of Twin Peaks.