David Lynch’s Blue Velvet is remembered as much for Dennis Hopper’s turn as a substance-inhaling gangster with a limited vocabulary as for its soundtrack. A combination of iconic pop songs and Angelo Badalamenti-scored classical music influenced by Shostakovich, the musical setting for Hopper’s ranting threats was as vivid as the stylised vision on the screen.
How, then, to score a film that documents the making of Lynch’s most accessible movie, using material gathered on set thirty years ago? For Blue Velvet Revisited, German film-maker Peter Braatz put that challenge to Erik Stein of Cult with No Name and Tuxedomoon. Their answer, with additional input from John Foxx, sits across the tracks of the latest album in Crammed Discs’ Made to Measure series.
Blaine Reininger dislikes Tuxedomoon being described as doom jazz or by similar labels, but the emotionally-charged atmosphere created by the band rarely crystallises into contentment or comfort. There isn’t a category for Tuxedomoon, so much as particles that shift into infinite forms, endlessly dissolving and reassembling. The material that they have crafted here is distinctly theirs, owing little to Bobby Vinton or Shostakovich by way of Baladamenti. It stands on its own, and can be enjoyed without reference to either Lynch’s or Braatz’s visions.
Cult with No Name’s handiwork is also woven into the recording, and it’s difficult to unpick the tapestry to attribute individual touches. An exception is the voice of Kelli Ali, another CWNN collaborator, which emerges in two songs. John Foxx’s contribution, a song called “Lincoln Street,” sits like a fulcrum in the middle of the set without breaking its flow.
Listened to in traffic on a grey London day; absorbed through Sennheisers with a glass of absinthe at night; allowed to float in the background while daydreaming about a girl who looks a little like Isabella Rossellini – there are a million ways to experience Blue Velvet Revisited, and each one reveals new resonances.