That’s right, believe it: after a five month break, it’s time for us to make a comeback. It’s been a nice, dark, silent winter and early spring and all, but we need some more entries, right? After all, what’s history without the soundtrack? And I promise up front that there’s at least one more off in the wings from me (but with all my waiting time, I’m hoping regular updates), so be on the lookout. Hopefully the other writers here will get on board, too, as I’m sure you’re all looking for the remaining two (er, well, three) years in Kev’s Post Flow series, and I know I’m not alone wanting some more sick nasty imagination from Shaun and uh can the people get some more of Benvo’s soul? Well, without further ado, here’s a brand new six random for your ear buds:
1. “Small Horror” – Atlas Sound
2. “Duffle Bag Boy” – Lil Wayne ft. Playaz Circle
3. “Bees” – Animal Collective
4. “Let us down easy” – Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
5. “XVII As-Dur” – Keith Jarrett (playing J.S. Bach)
Don’t thank me, thank iTunes DJ. I’m burning this one for: David Lynch
“Small Horror” is a noise concoction that kicks off this basically surreal, experimental mix that is fairly well-tailored to David Lynch. Atlas Sound starts us off as they create oscillating waveforms and organ chimes that develop a deep atmosphere with reverbed, echoing vocals (mostly moaning, chanting, inaudible/indistinguishable) adding layers, molding a stacked painting, an abstract picture not unlike something Lynch might create, be it through is film (especially his early experimental shorts), or through painting. Something about it also brings me back to Twin Peaks, something about the score (maybe the female chanting?) that seems like it connects.
The Lil’ Wayne on this mix hits directly with the idea of living an unapologetic life, not turning away from a challenge or a threat, and that he’s always constantly in this state of mind, that this is nothing new or that will be changing, like, ever:
“Damn sure ain’t ‘bout to pick today to start runnin’.”
So there is the immediate connection of Lynch’s time at film school, taking seven (or however many more it actually wound up taking) years to create Eraserhead from beginning to end from his own wallet, the idea of perseverance and doing your own thing in the face of people not getting it or hating on you. But more than that, I think Wayne in general here represents another facet of Lynch’s surrealism, and I don’t mean just the tattoos and out-of-this-world style; the thing I admire about his vocal delivery and style is in its laziness, the fact that 9 times out of 10, Wayne is earning that nickname Wheezy, that he’s sounding on the edge of reality and some other (who knows where) place. His lyrics come off so effortlessly that it’s a shock he decided to even deliver them they are so good. I think Lynch might admire that, too. Even if he didn’t, his films come off in a similar way, so immersed in their own world and imagination.
In “Bees”, Animal Collective continue the portrait that Atlas Sound began at the start of the mix; now we’re at this sort of near-apocalyptic arrival of these bees, coming quickly and violently, actually speaking. Uh, if that’s not David Lynch, I don’t know what is.
Then, in the midst of what I’m considering for the sake of my entire argument ‘more surreal tunes’, we’ve got this really repentant, straightforward Ryan Adams track. A very soulful, almost apologetic one; very different from the idea behind Lil Wayne’s track. But, what I think would connect with Lynch would be the idea behind the words, the obvious strength of the faith of the characters asking for mercy:
“Let me down, if you must,
but lest us down easy, Lord.”
The very idea of people having mistakes and things in their lives they can’t negotiate and searching for some form of an answer, finding it or not, this is not lost on Lynch in his own films–from his Disney epic “The Strait Story”, of an aging midwest man reflecting on life as he treks across the country on a lawnmower to see his dying brother, or in “Mulholland Dr.”, where a young actress’ life blurs in a search for self-worth, meaning, and stardom in, of all places, L.A.
There’s also no doubt in my mind that Lynch enjoys Bach, and for that matter, I’d probably extend that lack of doubt to Jazz’s (in my opinion) best pianist: Jarrett plays Bach here and it’s straightforward, no frills, and I think Lynch would like this. The story behind Bach’s “Well Tempered Clavier”, the collection of pieces from which this is from, is pretty epic, too, being one of the first collections of keyboard pieces in all 24 keys and arguably one of the most important collections of Bach’s career. The tone of the keys here, the speed, the beautiful melody, it’s one of those so-beautiful-it’s-painful things. Too, the time behind it, the idea that this piece has survived this long and the idea of the gap between Bach’s conception and Jarrett’s re-creation on this recording, it’s an amazing thing to think about that I think David Lynch would certainly respect and be fascinated by.
Or maybe it’s just me.