To celebrate the recent release of our 33 1/3 on Angelo Badalamenti’s Soundtrack from Twin Peaks, we’re pleased to bring you the 2nd installment of Soundtrack from Twin Peaks Week by author Clare Nina Norelli!
In the Fall of 1989, after completing work on both Julee Cruise’s debut album Floating into the Night and the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch were approached by the Brooklyn Academy of Music to present a theatre piece as part of that year’s Next Wave Festival. Named after a series of works Lynch produced as a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Industrial Symphony No. 1 is a journey through the motions of lost love, an impressionistic exploration of the toll that heartbreak takes upon the spirit. Musically, romantic ballads segue into industrial noise pieces and vice-versa, reflecting the shifts in mood between enamor and anguish.
The piece opens with a pre-taped telephone conversation between Laura Dern and Nicholas Cage (the pair were working with Lynch on Wild at Heart at the time) in the roles of the “Heartbroken Woman” and the “Heartbreaker.” The Heartbreaker ends his love affair with the Heartbroken Woman and what follows is her descent into, and redemption from, a romantic purgatory by way of dreams. After the phone conversation concludes the live theatre piece begins. Search lights twist and turn around the stage setting, strobes flash, illuminating industrial detritus and scaffolding, and the siren-like introduction of the song “Up in Flames” accompanies the apocalyptic visuals on stage. Julee Cruise appears as the “Dreamself of the Heartbroken Woman,” a subconscious manifestation of the Heartbroken Woman’s pain. Cruise sings “Up in Flames” with her distinctive drawn-out, breathy phrasing, shrouded in light that illuminates her halo of peroxide blonde hair and white mid-century prom dress, giving her overall form a ghostly, otherworldly glow. All the while, a half-naked woman climbs and throws herself about in the scaffolding above.
Cruise moves in and out of the proceedings on stage, sometimes even suspended from the rafters, her white-stockinged legs dangling helplessly from the delicate tulle of her gown into the void below. Part-way through her performance of the spooky “Into the Night” (a song that would make its way onto the Twin Peaks soundtrack) a piercing shriek cuts through the soundtrack and Cruise suddenly falls to the stage below. In her place a monstrous deer-man rises, assisted by men in hazard clothing, whilst Michael J. Anderson (soon to be seen in Twin Peaks as the dancing “Man from Another Place”) appears to taunt the creature with a searchlight. It’s a chaotic scene and, appropriately and to great effect, the raucous sax and organ-driven cacophony of “I’m Hurt Bad” (the song Bobby programs into the Double R diner jukebox in the Twin Peaks pilot) replaces “Into the Night” on the soundtrack.
But it appears that all is not all lost for the Heartbroken Woman, who seems to find peace in the final movement of Industrial Symphony No. 1, whether through acceptance or death. Closing the show is the lulling slow-burn of the Peaks-ian spiritual “The World Spins,” which Cruise performs as she ascends back up above the stage.
Industrial Symphony No. 1 was met with mixed reviews, with some critics finding it pretentious and for “undiscriminating Lynch cultists only,” whilst others appreciated its experimental conceit. To this day Lynch and Badalamenti have not collaborated on another theatre piece. There has been no official soundtrack release either but thankfully most of the compositions featured in the piece are available on other Lynch/Badalamenti/Cruise collaborations, as listed below.
Floating into the Night (1989) by Julee Cruise: “Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart,” “Into the Night,” “I Float Alone,” “The World Spins”)
Wild at Heart (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1990): “Up in Flames” (vocal by Koko Taylor)
Music from Twin Peaks (1990) by Angelo Badalamenti: “Into the Night”
The Voice of Love (1993) by Julee Cruise: “Up in Flames”
Music from Twin Peaks Season Two and More (2007) by Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch: “I’m Hurt Bad”
Unreleased: “The Black Sea,” “Pinky’s Bubble Egg, “The Dream Conversation,” “The Final Battle”