|David Lynch — The Big Dream (2013)|
David Lynch — The Big Dream
Born: January 20, 1946 in Missoula, MT
Location: Los Angeles
Album release: out July 15 in Europe via Sunday Best and July 16 in the U.S. via Sacred Bones; 2013
Record Label: Sunday Best/Sacred Bones
01 The Big Dream 4:07
02 Star Dream Girl 3:27
03 Last Call 3:49
04 Cold Wind Blowin’ 3:49
05 The Ballad of Hollis Brown (Bob Dylan) 5:12
06 Wishin' Well 3:39
07 Say It 3:59
08 We Rolled Together 4:00
09 Sun Can't Be Seen No More 4:41
10 I Want You 3:48
11 The Line It Curves 6:02
12 Are You Sure 3:46
≈ All compositions written by Dean Hurley/David Lynch except track 05 - written by Bob Dylan.
≈ David Correll Layout, Packaging
≈ Bob Dylan Composer
≈ Dean Hurley Arranger, Composer, Engineer, Mixing, Primary Artist, Producer
≈ Brian Lucey Mastering
≈ David Lynch Arranger, Composer, Cover Design, Mixing, Primary Artist, Producer
≈ Riley Lynch Guitar
≈ Legendary multimedia artist David Lynch returns this summer with the follow-up to Crazy Clown Time, his acclaimed 2011 solo debut. The new album sees Lynch returning to primary songwriting and performance duties, writing 11 out of the album’s 12 tracks. ≈ Also included in the lineup is Lynch’s signature take on the Bob Dylan folk classic The Ballad of Hollis Brown, and a bonus track contribution featuring acclaimed Swedish musician Lykke Li. The Big Dream was recorded over several months at Lynch’s own Asymmetrical Studio with engineer Dean Hurley, who also contributes production and instrumentation to the album.
≈ Describing his style of music as “modern blues,” Lynch says, “most of the songs start out as a type of blues jam and then we go sideways from there. What comes out is a hybrid, modernized form of low-down blues.” As you would expect from an accomplished film director, the songs are cinematic in scope. Lynch uses his reverb-drenched guitar and processed voice to summon primal moods and melodies that color a strange world populated by character archetypes familiar to fans of his films: the irresistible femme fatale in “Star Dream Girl,” the tender romantic in “The Big Dream,” and “Are You Sure,” the smooth psychopath in “Say It,” and the quirky oddball in “Sun Can’t Be Seen No More.”
≈ While Lynch touches on modern electronic production (“Wishin’ Well” and “Last Call”) and classically dreamy material (“Are You Sure,” “Cold Wind Blowin’”), the album always manages to keep one foot rooted in the blues—a style of music he loves. “The Blues is an honest and emotional form of music that is thrilling to the soul. I keep coming back to it, because it feels so good,” Lynch says. The double lP comes with a bonus 7-inch, “I’m Waiting Here,” featuring Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li. The B-side of the 7-inch contains a one-of-a-kind etching inscribed by Lynch.
Biography by Heather Phares
≈ In addition to his prodigious careers as a director, writer, producer, sound designer, and carpenter (to name a few), David Lynch also stretched his artistic reach to music. He collaborated heavily with his go-to composer Angelo Badalamenti on the scores and soundtracks to his projects, including the music for Blue Velvet, 1990’s iconic Twin Peaks soundtrack, and Mulholland Drive. He also collaborated, with and without Badalamenti, on pop albums such as Julee Cruise's Floating into the Night (which featured songs she performed on the Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks soundtracks) and jazz guitarist David Jaurequi's Fox Bat Strategy. Lynch teamed with sound engineer John Neff for Blue Bob, a one-off project that the duo recorded in Lynch’s home studio. The director worked with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous on Dark Night of the Soul, a project that featured Lynch's photography and Linkous and Danger Mouse's music, and also included a song sung by Lynch. Though the project was intended for release in 2009, legal issues prevented it from being distributed until mid-2010. Later that year, Lynch released the double-sided debut single Good Day Today/I Know, which was released by the U.K. imprint Sunday Best. Featuring Lynch on vocals and all instruments, the single was given a physical release in early 2011 and featured artwork by 4AD designer Vaughan Oliver. A full album, Crazy Clown Time, followed in 2011.
≈ With a reissue of the soundtrack to Eraserhead set for release this week, the film's legendary director talks about creating its eerie, factory-world soundscapes.
By Mark Richardson, August 6, 2012
≈ The 1970s were a special time for cult movies. It was before VCRs and cable, so the weirdest and most interesting films were still only found in theaters. In larger cities, there was a thriving market for midnight movies, and one of the great success stories of the 70s midnight movie circuit also served as a launching pad for one of the most important American directors of the last 35 years.
≈ David Lynch's Eraserhead premiered in 1977 and enjoyed a lengthy run at midnight movie houses in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London. It was a deeply personal film for Lynch. Purely in terms of atmosphere and tone, it introduced to the world his distinctive blend of surrealism, horror, and supremely dark humor. Shot in high contrast black and white, the film tells the bizarre tale of Henry Spencer (played by the late Jack Nance), an employee of a print factory who is "on vacation" in a nightmare world of soot-blackened skies and empty streets. His girlfriend Mary has given birth to a creature-- "They're not sure if it is a baby!"-- and it finds its way to Henry's care.
≈ Though he's always been hesitant to talk too specifically about the meaning of his work, and of Eraserhead in particular, Lynch has said that the film, in terms of mood and setting, was based on his years in Philadelphia, where he lived in a run-down and dangerous part of the city while studying film. While there, his wife Peggy also gave birth to his daughter Jennifer, bringing into Lynch's world the anxiety of new fatherhood. Eraserhead was close to Lynch in another important way: He spent much of the five years of its production living on the movie's set at the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles, where Lynch had been granted a fellowship. He commandeered large portions of the grounds to make his film whenever he could raise the money and he chipped away at it over time.
≈ For all its visual prowess and humor, the most powerful single aspect of Eraserhead may be its sound. Working with legendary sound designer Alan Splet, who would collaborate with Lynch until his death in 1994, the drones, creaks, hisses, and furnace blasts of the film's world are brought completely to life through sound alone. Eraserhead's soundtrack is being reissued on vinyl by Sacred Bones this week, and the label is screening a 35mm print of the film in San Francisco next Thursday, August 16, as well. We spoke to Lynch about the importance of sound in the film, his memories of creating the soundtrack from scratch, and how he imagines people might listen to it.
Pitchfork: Eraserhead seems like a movie where the sound is of the utmost importance and very much a part of building the film's world.
David Lynch: I didn't know anything about film when I first started-- I was a painter-- but I [always] felt that sound was just as important as the picture. The sound, picture, and ideas have to marry. If an idea carries with it a mood, sound is critical to making that mood.
I started working with [sound designer] Alan Splet on The Grandmother, which was a short film before I made Eraserhead. I met Alan in Philadelphia, and he was like a brother in sound. We had the greatest, greatest, greatest time working on sound together. It was just high-end energy and enthusiasm and fun. But there wasn't as much equipment as we have now. For instance, on The Grandmother, we didn't have a reverb unit, so we made reverb by putting speakers in the air ducts, and then re-recording them on the other end of the air duct-- doing that 10 times to get a real long reverb. It sounded really good, but it was just experimenting and getting sound to support the ideas. It just went like that: scene by scene, the ideas tell you what to shoot for, and the rest is an experiment.
≈ Eraserhead is kind of based on Philadelphia. It's an industrial world, which I love. All the sounds of industry support this mood of Henry's world. Though Alan grew up in Philadelphia, he didn't have the fascination with factories that I had, but he certainly knew about them and lived around them; he would record winds and fog horns and train horns and things like that.
Pitchfork: What was it like when you and Alan were tinkering with sounds and coming up with ideas for Eraserhead?
DL: Well, we would set up sound experiments, sometimes in my living room. Al would bring his Nagra and microphone, and we would hit things and drag the microphone and just see what would happen, and then start altering that in any kind of way so that we could to get some mood that would support the scene.
≈ My favorite experiment was when we filled the bathtub with water and then we had a five gallon Sparkletts bottle-- glass-- and dropped a little microphone inside the bottle and moved it about the bathtub, maybe bang it a little bit on the side, scrape it on the side. And the microphone is picking up some kind of combination of everything that was coming in that little top of the bottle. It had very surreal beauty, and that sound went in the film. It was so much fun.
≈ Now, we have so many libraries and ways to get sound without having to actually make the original thing. And you can take any kind of sound and start going to work on it, and it can become ten trillion miles away from the original. But it's the same process. It's just that we, more often than not, made the original sounds and then went to work on it.
Pitchfork: And the album itself consists of extended portions of the film-- just the sound that's in the film?
DL: Exactly. When it came time for the soundtrack, I didn't know anything about what a soundtrack album was. I thought it was literally, you just take out any dialog and play the soundtrack. That's what we did. It couldn't be the whole film, so certain sections worked better than others. There were sections that moved like music and felt worthy of a record, and then they would blend to the next section that felt that way.
Pitchfork: What was it about the Fats Waller organ music that connected it to the world of the film for you?
DL: I don't know, exactly. It had a distant, haunting quality. And a little bit of innocence and a lightness-- not humor exactly-- and slam that with the mystery and the distant time. It was just magical. It married to the factory sounds and the character of Henry Spencer.
Pitchfork: I watched the film again last night and noticed that Henry actually listens to the music; he's got his little turntable. I was trying to figure out what the music was doing for him, whether it relaxed him.
DL: He loves Fats Waller. I think it depends on what track he's listening to, but it has a melancholy and it has a romance. It has mystery. It just expanded Henry's world and his thinking.
Pitchfork: What about "In Heaven" and the Lady in the Radiator? What was the process in terms of that character and this song?
DL: I had control of all the stables down below this mansion, and we had a room we called the food room. I did a little drawing of a lady, I looked at this drawing, and an idea came in: I felt this lady lived in the radiator. I was in the food room and I was 30 or 40 feet from Henry's room, but I couldn't remember what the radiator looked like, exactly. I thought, "Is there a place where she could live?" And I went running into Henry's room and looked at the radiator. I got this radiator from an old studio that was closing, and this particular radiator had a little place where she could live. It was like a perfect thing.
≈ I wrote these lyrics out, [and they] were so simple I was kind of embarrassed. I don't know how I heard about [composer] Pete Ivers, but Alan and I went up to Pete's house and asked him if he could write the music and sing these [lyrics] in the spirit of Fats Waller. But the thing is, when Al originally [played me] Fats Waller, he played me off of quarter-inch tape. He said, "David, the album is way out of print. All I have are these tapes." We went to Pete's house and we asked him, "Can you play [this song] in the spirit of Fats Waller?" He walked over to his album collection and pulled out the album of Fats Waller! Al almost passed out! Pete said, "Yeah, I can do that." So Pete wrote the music up, played it on an organ, and did it so beautifully.
≈ [Later], I went up to Pete's house. He's laying up on this chaise lounge, and he's got a microphone, and he sings it right in front of me. Sings the whole thing that was used in the film in this falsetto voice. And he loved the lyrics, [which] made me feel really good. Pete did some other things. "Pete's Boogie" is on the 45 that comes with this thing. It's really great that Peter is on the A and B side of that record.
Pitchfork: Do you ever listen to the soundtrack album yourself?
DL: I haven't listened to it for a long time. I've been waiting for this album. I think they've been working on it for a couple of years, and they did such a great job. It's going to be great to play that vinyl and hear it kind of the way it was in the original. Alan Splet was one of my dearest friends, so I'm happy that this soundtrack came out and put sparkle on his memory.
Pitchfork: Do you imagine people listening to the album on its own, creating this space in their living room where they're entering the world of the film?
DL: Absolutely. When I was working on Eraserhead, we only worked at night. Sometimes I would be building a set or something in the daytime, but on the set, sitting in it or working in it, the so-called "real world" outside disappeared completely. I was in this factory world, and I could imagine the streets and the little diners and hardly anybody there from the little worker houses. ≈ There's a bar, and huge, giant, colossal factories. Huge smokestacks, building smoke, thick atmospheres. And I think, if you turn the lights down and play this [album] in full, a whole world can emerge in your head. And it will be really, really beautiful.
|David Lynch — The Big Dream (2013)|