Xiu Xiu Xiu Xiu Plays The Music of Twin Peaks Bella Union
What is it about Mark Frost and David Lynch’s early 90s serial drama Twin Peaks that inspires such a devoted following? A gorgeously weird setting, singular cast and pair of genius writers, yes – but surely no small part of this sparkle-eyed fidelity is indebted to Angelo Badalamenti’s instantly timeless soundtrack.
This is a sentiment shared by Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu. In an essay written for Crack entitled The Staggering Beauty within the Music of Twin Peaks, he called Badalamenti’s OST “powerful, touching and terrorising”. His devotion is fierce, and is mirrored throughout this collection of reinterpretations of the original tracks.
The preternatural and instantly recognisable atmosphere of the OST is continued in the preservation of the “two or three repeating chords” Stewart describes in the aforementioned essay. Alongside them, in true Xiu Xiu fashion, appear echoing guitar, off-key pianos, and bristly, unplaceable noises. The most recognisable of the tracks and the show’s main theme, Falling, calls to mind blistered vinyl, while Audrey’s Dance, centred around that immortal five-tone xylophone phrase, is full of cosmic synth suggestions that whip in and out. The whole LP sounds as if it’s been crumpled and then laid flat, crinkled edges kept intact.
Far from a replacement or unnecessary fans-only extension, Xiu Xiu have tampered with the soundtrack just enough to deepen the sound without tearing out its heart. It’s not better than the original, it’s just different – a noisy, intense counterpart that never strays too far from those dreamy double summits.