David Lynch – The Big Dream (2013)

An auteur’s auteur, David Lynch is having some Big Dreams.  As you well know, he is a great writer and director of  immersive provocative cinema, as well as a respected painter/artist and advocate of Transcendental Meditation.  His musical ventures in the past have never been anything large scale, the majority being a few pieces for his films with his long time score composer of choice Angelo Badalamenti, and he is always on duty with the music choices in his movies, much like Tarantino and Scorsese; moulding the music into a vital key of narration and progression, almost a character of its own.  Now, he has two studio albums he can call his own; 2011’s “Crazy Clown Time”, and the new release “The Big Dream”.   A Polymath in the truest sense of the word.

“The Big Dream” is very separate from his first album “Crazy Clown Time” in its sound and vibe.  The first album has lots of different sounds and influences (electronica, jazz, rock to name a few), but is so unique in its delivery that it remains far from being categorised.  It is an album by David Lynch, surely that is all the description it needs?  This new album, released 15/07/13, follows a slightly more linear route in as much as it can be called a blues rock album.  The tracks mainly adhere to a bluesy ethereal tone (think Cocteau Twins having a five dollar shake with Link Wray), and it seems that Mr Lynch has thoroughly enjoyed making this record.  Not needing to delve into his cinematic visions here (this is a music review notwithstanding), but there is a lot of reference to 50’s American culture in his movies, and this album also seems to be an acknowledgement of and his personal pleasure derived from Rock n Roll.

The titular track opens the album, with a disjointed electronic beat and broken melody slowly meandering along with Lynch’s heavily processed vocals singing in a high register with odd harmonies.  He uses a variety of processors on his vocal tracks throughout the album, mainly filters, vocoders and dense reverb to create a warbly echo effect.  You’d be hard pressed to name the singer if you didn’t know who it was, and yet pleasantly surprised when you found out.  The second track “Star Dream Girl” starts to bring in the picked RnR guitar work, and this is heard throughout the album in various measures.  The foundation of electronica beats and Rock n Roll guitaring is certainly interesting and not a familiar sound, but good nonetheless.  The lyrics, as you’d imagine, are of a Lynchian nature, but they are not as obscure as that description makes them out to be.  Often talking of girls and loneliness, surely this is just the foundation of the blues?  He often repeats phrases and lines so that they are easy to remember and contemplate should the listener choose to delve into his thoughts.  A Bob Dylan cover appears midway with ‘The Ballad of Hollis Brown’ (one of Dylan’s earlier works), twisted to suit the timbre of the album, and the songs progress into more blues rock from this point as the vocals get stranger (Sun Can’t Be Seen No More) and the guitar gets tougher.  There are periods of soundscapes in the songs where the beat and electronic sounds sweep through on their own, and as the album slides to the end the music becomes more vast, with closing tracks ‘The Line It Curves’ and ‘Are You Sure’ being beautifully minimalist.  A bonus track ‘I’m Waiting Here’ featuring Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li is a fittingly ethereal close to the album.  An album of slow burning electronica blues that wants to be listened to again.  It is a grey-shaded blues on offer here, perhaps blues with a gun-metal sheen, and it is perfectly provocative in style and substance.  The full package from Mr Lynch.

This may not necessarily be for fans in as much as movies and music are very different forms of art.  Lynch fans should definitely give it a listen and make up their own minds.  Even if they don’t like it they should not chastise Lynch for branching out in his vision; allow him these outlets, for he is a Renaissance man in a world of ignorance.  As only his second musical release, one hopes for more from Mr Lynch, and one feels that he is far from finished.  A gracefully executed album of melodic electric blues, deserves a solitary listen through good headphones.  Everything is fine.

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