I thoroughly enjoyed the return to Twin Peaks recently and a huge part of that was due to the extraordinary soundtrack. There are few composers as gifted as Angelo Badalamenti, who can create stunning unearthly sonic soundscapes that swell, ebb and flow whilst running the gamut of emotions from euphoria to earth-shattering sadness. His music is a key component of the series and at it's best enhances the visuals and what is seen on the screen.
David Lynch, who was the Director and Sound Designer for Twin Peaks: The Return, has said that “cinema is sound and picture, flowing together in time,” and this soundtrack conveys that sentiment well. This album is the companion to a separate collection of the music from the series that features guest stars who appeared at the Road House, usually at the end of an episode. This CD features mainly the instrumental music that Twin Peaks fans of old will be familiar with and some new ones thrown in for good measure.
- Twin Peaks Theme (Falling) – Angelo Badalamenti
- American Woman (David Lynch Remix) – Muddy Magnolias
- Laura Palmer’s Theme (Love Theme From Twin Peaks) – Angelo Badalamenti
- Accident / Farewell Theme – Angelo Badalamenti
- Grady Groove (feat. Grady Tate) – Angelo Badalamenti
- Windswept (Reprise) – Johnny Jewel
- Dark Mood Woods / The Red Room – Angelo Badalamenti
- The Chair – Angelo Badalamenti
- Deer Meadow Shuffle – Angelo Badalamenti
- Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima (with Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra) – Witold Rowicki/Krzysztof Penderecki
- Slow 30’s Room – David Lynch & Dean Hurley
- The Fireman – Angelo Badalamenti
- Saturday (Instrumental) – Chromatics
- Headless Chicken – Thought Gang (Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch)
- Night – Angelo Badalamenti
- Heartbreaking – Angelo Badalamenti
- Audrey’s Dance – Angelo Badalamenti
- Dark Space Low – Angelo Badalamenti
Badalamenti revisits old classics like the Twin Peaks theme, “Falling,” and “Audrey’s Dance” but also has six new compositions which are specific to scenes from the series. There are many other tracks on the album create by other composers and individuals and they are all great. Special mention must be made of Witold Rowicki’s “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima," which is performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra Warsaw. This piece is shown in the avant-garde nuclear tests in episode eight and is an assault on the senses that suits the abstract imagery of the creation of a death bringer and evil, in this case BOB. Another track I particularly like is Johnny Jewel's Windswept, a relaxed jazzy number that recalls Badalamenti's style yet adds its own modern sheen. I checked out Jewel's Windswept LP and can say that it is a great album and well worth a listen in its own right.
As for the six Badalamenti pieces, they are stunning and worth a further look individually.
“The Chair” is from episode nine where Bobby Briggs is given a secret scroll of information by his mother from his father Garland. The chair has been in the Briggs’ living room since his father’s mysterious passing yet held the secret for 25 years. The track itself is suitably melancholic and has an air of sadness yet still has that trademark speck of hope.
“The Fireman” comes from the experimental arthouse episode eight, where we see The Giant create the golden globe containing the essence of Laura Palmer to combat the evilness of BOB who is released after the nuclear bomb tests in New Mexico. This is my favourite new composition from Badalamenti as it is a sombre, emotional piece which has a lot of power.
"Dark Mood Woods/ The Red Room" plays when Agent Cooper is in the Red Room and is trying to escape but gets confused in the mazelike space and also in the casino Mr Jackpots scene. It is otherworldy track with a deep brooding vibrating soundscape which slowly moved to and fro but later is interspersed with sharp jingles.
"Dark Space Low" comes at the end of the series as we are dealt the suckerpunch when Agent Dale Cooper, with Laura Palmer in tow, asks, "What year is this?" This piece has a kind of empty but longing feeling, like waking from a nightmare to find that you are in a worse situation.
"Night"plays after the scene when the Log Lady phones Hawk to say that she is dying. It is a heartrending scene, especially as the actress playing the Log Lady, Catherine Coulson, actually died of cancer four days after filming this scene) The track is somber and deeply sad yet beautiful in its melancholy. This track is the perfect eulogy to this wonderful charcater and actress.
"Heartbreaking" plays at the end credits of episode 11 and also when the homeless lady who won big at the casino, thanks to a fugue state Agent Dale Cooper, sees him again and tells her how he changed her life for the better. It is a heartwarming scene and even the 'badguy' Michum Brothers see good in the world and seem changed as a result. This is a beautiful piano piece which is full of hope and yearning.
"Accident/ Farewell Theme" plays in episode six when Richard Horne runs over a young boy crossing the road and Carl (Harry Dean Stanton) sees the boy's spirit leave the body as he comforts the mother. This track is ethereal ambience at its best, starting off full of sadness and despair but calming later, reflecting the shock and grief of the scene and the letting go.
Overall the Twin Peaks: The Return soundtrack is a triumph. It suited the mood of the series well and fit in when it was needed yet is still listenable in its own right. The soundtrack is an extremely atmospheric album and is worth a listen.