Xiu Xiu – Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks (Polyvinyl Records/Bella Union, April 16th, 2016)

How many things have been along the last thirty years been so influential as much as ‘Twin Peaks’, the popular American television serial drama created by Mark Frost and David Lynch? Considered as the greatest television dramas every made, it soon became a cult referenced in television shows, commercials, comic books, video games, films and songs. Following an investigation headed by FBI special agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in what was actually the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington, USA, the drama is actually based on the several relationship between the characters all engaged into dubious activities draws on American soap operas but as in many of David Lynch’s works, adopering tones that are actually undifined and characterised by black humour and surrealism. Even marked in some occasions by supernatural elements typical of psychological horror film. It’s a cult which is going to have got new followers year after year and that renewing itself, it is now going also to get as consequence a sequel series (also in this case from an idea by Mark Forst and David Lynch) that will start later this year 2017. Big expectations of course there are in this sense by all who are into the cult of ‘Twin Peaks’ or generally speaking by the great audience (possibly much bigger than the one to cinema and films) have got nowadays drama series. Every aspect of ‘Twin Peaks’ has been influential. So is the same actually also for its soundtrack, actually composed by the US musician and composer Angelo Badalamenti, who is on the other hand well known because his long time collaboration with fellowship David Lynch. So that, when we talk about the so-defined typical Lynch’s atmospheres, we couldn’t actually figure out these without considering also the music. Something that on the other hand the same Lynch re-proposed in his musical works. Jamie Stewart! A few musicians into the indie scene are actually so umpredictable and undefinable as much he is. So, it’s not so surprising the fact he decided to release, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the cult series, what’s actually his own re-interpretation of the famous soundtrack by Angelo Badalamenti (a partial one of course, because the original one it was actually much more extensive). Of course we are discussing about an attempt that would had been eventually too much criticised by the many followers and eventually fanatics of the original series and of course also of the original soundtrack. Neither we have to consider Jamie Stewart and Xiu Xiu as something you could compare to Angelo Badalamenti standing at their background as musicians, but it is undoubt that in the music of Xiu Xiu there’ve always been components of the re-called Lynch’s atmospheres and that these are so much relevant and influential about the sonorities and also on a conceptual plan. On the other hand this hadn’t happened. I mean. A few effectively criticised badly this kind of operation, that on the other hand it was not exactly a completely remaking of the opera by Angelo Badalamenti but much more a revisitation into what are actually audio technologies and sonorities adopered by Jamie Stewart (working this time along Angela Seo and Shanya Dunkelman) into the making of his albums. Without mentioning any particular episode, I consider in fact you’ve got to approach to this release as an unicum (on the other we are talking about a soundtrack, make it possibly your own soundtrack, like you were effectively a character of the series), the result of this release it’s in my opinion very brilliant. This is possibly in fact the best release by Jamie Stewart and Xiu Xiu from a very very long time. The usage of the synths it’s always right and calibrated, the singing of Jamie Stewart, who has got in my opinion what I would define as a terrific voice later than very and absolutely expressive and desperate, the dark and obsessive Suicide’s sonorities… Everything it’s apparently perfect to give to what it’s absolutely a masterpiece as the opera of Angelo Badalamenti, an interpretation that it’s definitely worthy of your attention.

Rating: 9/10

Emiliano D’Aniello




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