December 1, 2010
The other day I received an email from the Vinyl Factory, one of the fanciest producers of vinyl records working today, announcing its upcoming release of none other than surrealist movie director David Lynch’s new electro-based single. The director of Blue Velvet recently signed a record deal with the UK-based indie label Sunday Best Recordings to release the record. The idea might sound strange, but the results are indeed Lynchian. The lead track, “Good Day Today” is dizzying in its warped, affected quality– from the repetitive lowering and rising volume of the backing synth to Lynch’s vocoder affected vocals (not to mention the beat recalls the “motorik” rhythms of many a Neu! track). Then, on “I Know,” Lynch sounds like some old blues lady backed by nasty, echoing bluesy guitar bursts that sound very familiar to the blues guitars that pop up on many of his films’ soundtracks. Click the titles of the songs to stream them on Soundcloud.
As far as the packaging, considering the triple gatefold 12-inch also includes a signed art print by famed album designer Vaughan Oliver, and a second slab of wax (its all on 180 gram vinyl) featuring remixes by “the finest electronic music producers of the past 20 years” (the site does not mention who), 30 quid ain’t that bad a price to pay. Some of the Vinyl Factory’s releases have been much more expensive and not as fancy.
Singing is something not all that new for Lynch. I first heard him sing a couple of years ago. in 2008, he did a song for his daughter, Jennifer Chambers Lynch’s second movie, Surveillance (2008). The song appeared briefly in the film and in its entirety during the film’s end credits. At first, I thought it was a new Neil Young song. Unfortunately, no soundtrack for the film exists, but you can hear “Speed Roadster” by clicking on the song’s title, right here.
Then Lynch sang probably the most moving song on the Danger Mouse / Sparklehorse collaboration Dark Night of the Soul (a soundtrack accompanying a book of Lynch-produced images). Long before the physical release of the album you could hear the songs in an interactive “pop-up” Flash-based website. As the album hung in legal limbo that website was the only place to hear some of the songs. The website is still live, and, with a little hunting, you can hear Lynch’s track … OK, I’ll reveal where to find it: Drag the screen over to your left where some cops are hosing down a man in his underwear and laughing. Iggy Pop’s pummeling “Pain” should be snarling among the image-scape. Once you endure that noisy assault, the much more melancholic sparkles of “Star Eyes (I Can’t Catch It)” filled with chirps of twinkling electronic burbles should begin. That’s Lynch singing, sounding not too different from a mellowed out Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips fame (Coyne also has a song on Dark Night of the Soul, btw).
Of course, Lynch has been messing with experimental music for many years. He often painstakingly works on the sonic atmosphere of his films, which clearly add another level of creepiness to his scenes. But, as far as I can recall, this singing career is a new thing for Lynch. Let me know of any other songs he may have sung. All that I have heard so far have been very interesting.