David Lynch plotting ‘modern blues’ album, drops digital single
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Those awaiting David Lynch to shoot a proper, full-length follow-up to his 2006 film, ‘Inland Empire,’ will have to be patient. Right now, the experimental auteur is focusing on his music.
Last heard on 2009’s ‘Dark Night of the Soul,’ a collaboration with producer Danger Mouse and the late psychedelic roots artist Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), the Los Angeles-based artist has released a pair of songs exclusively to iTunes. The tracks -- ‘Good Day Today’ and ‘I Know’ -- couldn’t be more different. ‘Good Day Today’ is a trancey electronic cut, while ‘I Know’ goes for a more spooked, atmospheric rock feel.
Lynch has signed with British indie Sunday Best, a label run by DJ Rob da Bank. The songs were recorded with engineer Dean Hurley, who has worked with Lynch on many of his films. Lynch says the goal is to release a full-length album of original music.
‘We’re working on a lot of things, and we hope to have an album soon,’ Lynch says. ‘All of this to me is an experiment. We were calling it kind of a modern blues -- music based on the blues. It’s led to all sorts of different things, but I really want to do a modern blues album.’
To get a sense of what Lynch considers ‘modern blues,’ sample ‘I Know’ below. The keyboard has a vintage feel, but the manipulated spoken-word-like vocals lend a more warped, Tom Waits aura to the track. Mood-wise, Lynch fans will be in familiar territory, as the track comes complete with cold, frightening effects and mysterious lyrics. ‘She stopped to sing, since I went and did that thing,’ Lynch sings with a raspy vocal drawl.
‘The advancement in digital things means there’s a whole slew of possibilities,’ Lynch says. ‘I love organic phenomena. I love the real, rough sound of blues. I love a heavy guitar and great, strong drums. Then there’s so many things that can be done to it that will modernize it.’
Lynch, of course, is no stranger to music. Long before the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ project, Lynch had worked closely with his go-to composer Angelo Badalamenti and composed music for ‘Inland Empire.’ In 2001, Lynch played guitar on a project that he and musician-producerJohn Neff dubbed ‘BlueBob,’ songs of which were used in his film of the same year, ‘Mulholland Dr.’ ‘I’ve always loved sound, but I was never involved in music till Angelo came along,’ Lynch says. ‘He brought me into the world of music. Because I love sound, I had built a studio, and I love experimenting. One thing led to another, and I started making music even though I’m not a musician.’
Lynch won’t be abandoning his directorial duties. He’s currently working on a documentary on the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the architect of Transcendental Meditation. The director, however, says he has yet to settle on an idea for his next full-length feature. He plans to launch a website in December that will be primarily devoted to his solo music, and a press release states that Sunday Best is propping remixes of ‘Good Day Today’ and ‘I Know.’
‘There’s nothing I can say in terms of what the rules are, but there is a feel,’ Lynch says of his approach to music. ‘It has to be anchored in something strong and pure, and it’s modern in that it’s joining with all the things you can do these days in ProTools.’
‘Good Day Today’ made a fan of KCRW-FM music director Jason Bentley, who Lynch, now in his early 60s, says gave the track to the staff at Sunday Best. Though the ‘Twin Peaks’ creator has never been an artist who’s easy to pin down, dance music may be Lynch’s most unexpected venture to date.
‘It might,’ Lynch says. ‘But there’s so many different genres. An idea can come from any number of them when you least expect it, so it would be crazy to close any doors.’
-- Todd Martens
Images: David Lynch (AFI Festival); the cover art for Lynch’s ‘Good Day Today’ single (Sunday Best).