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Xiu Xiu

Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks


Apr 13, 2016 Xiu Xiu Bookmark and Share

If you have any sort of enthusiasm for listening to film music without films, it may be that enthusiasm began with the music Angelo Badalamenti composed for the films of David Lynch. The crown jewel of that collaboration were the two seasons the pair worked on the surreal ‘90s network television phenomenon Twin Peaks. The hooky motifs Badalamenti grafted onto Lynch’s visuals became integrated with the stories themselves, even more so because viewers had two years to associate Audrey Horn, Windom Earle, and Laura Palmer (well, her memory, anyway) with their respective themes.

And yet while we can’t imagine those scenes without that music, fans have for years relived Twin Peaks’ visual world through Badalamenti’s aural one. Somewhere in the tunnel between these two sense centers, Xiu Xiu adorns the passage with just enough perverse wonkiness and eccentric performance aesthetics to allow the creepy subtext of Badalamenti’s music to surface just above the skin. More than just a deft redux of this influential music, Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks serves as an effective prism for how that influence has evolved into new expressions of creativityXiu Xiu are simultaneously Badalamenti’s children and very much themselves.

The band manages this high-wire act by both retaining and transmuting the original instrumentationprimarily guitars, synths, and drumspassing it through a modern filter. Instead of pristine session guitar, we get wonky post-punk freakouts run through a string of boutique effects pedals; instead of the digital synth workstations of yore, we get analog synthesizers of a yet-further-bygone era and real acoustic pianos; instead of electronic drums, we have live drums and exotic percussion, processed through various layers of crunch and studio sauce. Highlights include a deeply twisted spoken word track in “Josie’s Past,” a more swinging and densely layered take on “Audrey’s Dance,” and the strident mission statement of the iconic “Laura Palmer’s Theme.”

At long last, this is a terrific and ambitious mining of a rich creative world that returns with gold. (www.xiuxiu.org)

Author rating: 8/10

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