Inland Empire


Obligatory musical comment: just as Lynch has his signature visual elements (some of which are on display in this trailer), he also has his musical/sonic signatures as well. In this case, there’s that particular jangling guitar sound

(brrrraaaaannnggg . . . ang.ang.ang.ang)

in a hollow echoey sonic space with bits of wind blowing around the edges, over a heavy drugged triple beat. The musical cue here is basically the Pink Room scene from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, with a Lounge Singer of the Damned on top. (Lynch is fond of hellish lounges: see also Blue Velvet and the “Silenzio” scene from Mulholland Drive). The consistency of Lynch’s musical/sonic universe has a lot to do with the fact that he’s used Angelo Badalamenti in every film he’s made from Blue Velvet onwards, but Lynch clearly has a very particular musical aesthetic — a stew of film noirisms, badass 1950s rock’n’roll, low rumbles and drones that shade imperceptibly into noise, seemingly innocuous pop songs that take on obscure inexpressible meanings, etc. (Mark Mazullo wrote a great article about Lynch’s use of pop songs in a recent issue of American Music.) Dumb people call Lynch “pretentious,” but he’s actually the least pretentious artist alive. His work comes out of a set of obsessions that he grinds through again and again, always chasing some obscure thing in his head, which shows a certain stubborn Asperger-ish involution, but not, I think, any attempt to contrive obscurities in order to fool people into thinking he’s a genius.

About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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