Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 June 04 • Monday

The 220th Soundtrack of the Week is Angelo Badalamenti's Twin Peaks Music: Season Two and More.

Television shows and movies often need music to get across the story, the mood, the idea. Angelo Badalamenti's music for Twin Peaks did a lot more work than most scores. Without it, the show would have been destroyed by its flaws, balanced as they were by its strengths, very quickly.

However you add up the positives and negatives of Twin Peaks, the music is pure gold. This CD is the third release of music from this dramatic world, following a first television soundtrack album and a release of music from the Twin Peaks feature film. Ron Carter and Grady Tate are among the top-notch musicians who animate Badalamenti's cool, smoky, dark and beautiful ideas.

Keyboard suggests and ominous atmosphere in "Love Theme Intro", with brushes on snare way up front in the mix. It cross fades into the memorable series theme.

The second track, "Shelly", is probably my favorite. It begins with a slow bass and drums groove and features a beautiful melody played on electric piano or some other keyboard instrument.

"New Shoes" is a quiet piece in 12/8 for a trio of keyboard, bass and drums. The keyboard sounds like it might be going through a Lesley amp and Grady Tate's drumming reminded me of Connie Kay.

"High School Swing" is a 1950s rock-style piece with wonderfully crystalline electric guitar. "Hayward Boogie" is solo boogie-woogie piano.

"Blue Frank" is the only piece not written by Angelo Badalamenti. It's credited to David Lynch and begins with a slow stomp, similar to some of what you hear on the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me soundtrack. Bass is played arco and there's a dialogue between clean and dirty guitar sounds.

"Audrey's Prayer" is driven by typically lush keyboard sounds and is similar to some of Badalamenti's music for Blue Velvet.

12/8 is the meter again for "I'm Hurt Bad", which begins with a wailing keyboard that's abruptly cut off and replaced by a quiet, dark atmosphere and what sounds like a baritone guitar playing with lots of space.

The mood is upbeat, sprightly and jazzy for "Cop Beat" while "Harold's Theme" is soapy and romantic. "Barbershop" is just like it sounds, a barbership quartet singing without words.

"Night Bells" features echoey, tremolo electric guitar in a Tom Verlaine-sort of mood.

"Just You" is another 1950s pop sort of song, this time with lyrics: "Just you and I / Just you and I / Together forever / In love." It sounds like there's slapback on the vocals.

Albert Collins's guitar playing comes to mind when listening to "Drug Deal Blues", though Freddie King is quoted in this uptempo instrumental guitar blues.

I always liked Audrey the best and I like "Audrey" also, a great theme with active drumming under moody keyboard textures. It's a wonderful study in contrasts—as was Audrey.

"Josie and Truman" is a romantic, late-night jazz/blues ballad, a bit similar to John Barry's Body Heat music.

1950s pop/rock is recalled again with the Duane Eddy-like "Hook Rug Dance". "Packards' Vibration" begins with solo vibes that get replaced by a somewhat menacing keyboard part.

"Half Heart" is a tender love theme with sax taking the melody. It's a bit similar to "My Secret Love" and has great guitar playing.

"Laura's Dark Boogie" sounds like you'd expect, with unsettling arco bass playin while keyboards lay down blocks of dread and sax plays forlorn lines.

After this comes the longest track on the record, the nine minute "Dark Mood Woods/The Red Room". It begins with an eerie synth solo and then bass and electric guitar create an atomspheric, jazzy mood. It sounds like there's arco and plucked bass at the same time.

Finally there's "Love Theme Farewell", a reprise of the first track but more despairing and with feedback or some instrument that sounds like howling wind.