1st edition - CD (ltd. 200)
"Now It's Dark: David Lynch Tribute" is an album made by Russian experimental sound artists dedicated to the famous film director and musician David Lynch, and produced by the kultFRONT label with the support of Zhelezobeton Distribution Division.
The idea of a tribute to Lynch first appeared when Sal Solaris recorded the track "With Me" for "The Black Square" compilation (KF-VI, 2006), using samples from the movie "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me". The digital EP "Lynch" featuring compositions by Tsaraas, DMT and Bardoseneticcube (KF-XVII, 2012) followed several years later but only now the time has come for a full-length album.
Eleven projects from the Russian dark underground scene have presented their own visions of the mysterious and meditative atmospheres pervading the works of the American tenebrous genius: Reutoff, Light Collapse, Dvory, Skripp, Wunderblock, Relic Radiation, Kryptogen Rundfunk, Sal Solaris, Arcuation, Povarovo and DMT.
Overall sound mastering was done by Arnold_pR (Reutoff). Artwork of the 6-panel digipak features a fragment of the painting "Special Agent Gorgon Cole" by Chris Mars. The original 2016 edition was limited to 200 copies and quickly sold out. Second edition is released along with the double-CD of remixes "The Owls Are Not What They Seem: David Lynch Tribute Remixes" and limited to a hundred of numbered copies.
Eleven Russian artists pay tribute to David Lynch, and I assume more his films than his music, but then, who am I to tell the difference? Much of what Lynch does could maybe be seen as 'surrealist', with strange events, odd persons and wacky situations. Having said I must immediately admit I haven't seen all of his movies or even heard that much of his music. I would say enough to judge the music on this compilation. The idea to do such a compilation comes from Sal Solaris, who already did a tribute a couple of years ago, but now there are also pieces by Reutoff, Light Collapse, Dvory, Skripp, Wunderblock, Relic Radiation, Kryptogen Rundfunk, Arcuation, Povarovo, DMT besides Sal Solaris themselves. All the ingredients you would expect to find are in here; there is lots of darkness, a bit of rhythm, lots of textures, moods and atmospherics, and seemingly no sampled lines from movies. It is not easy to say whether or not sounds are sampled from the movies, but perhaps that has to do with the copyright? Had I not known anything about the fact that this is a David Lynch tribute, could I have guessed it? Probably not. I would have thought this to be another fine compilation (or even something that could have been made by one person) of Russia's finest in terms of dark music, and that this is another collection. Not more, nothing less. Main question is of course: whom will Lynch sign of this bunch to do a Twin Peaks tune for the next series?
'Now It's Dark' the David Lynch Tribute is an album of 11 tracks by 11 Russian artists who explore the darker side of Lynch's oeuvre. I readily admit I'm a Lynch fan, but not a fanatic. The release of this album caused me to visit David Lynch's filmography, and I came to realize that I was more of a dilettante than a connoisseur of the Lynchian world. Sure, I've seen Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Dune, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Industrial Symphony No. 1, Twin Peaks - Fire Walk with me, Twin Peaks TV Series, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, The Straight Story, and even Inland Empire (yeah, I sat through the whole three hours of it, plus the bonus material) but Lynch's body of work extends even beyond that. Here, the emphasis is on DARK, not absurd, surreal, quirky, or merely strange. For the most part, these pieces are dark ambient industrial, but there is some variety. You won't be hearing any Angelo Badalmenti style noir jazz or Julee Cruise warblings (which is sort of a shame) on this album, but nevertheless, there is some interesting music. Light Collapse kicks it off with "Homunculus of Henry Spencer" (Eraserhead), a piece that juxtaposes chaotic industrial noise with struck ringing bellish tones. Dvory contributes "Dark Eye" in which sustained, mournful trumpet notes float over gloomy dark ambient drones. "Prelost" by Povarovo features sparse reverberated and echoed piano notes and chords with breathy saw-like ambience. DMT's "Lynch2712" is a lengthy, rich, industrial dark ambient track with deep, shuddering drones that goes through a variety of permutations to keep it interesting. Wunderblock's "U-Turn to Lost Highway" is a spooky, muted dark ambient track punctuated by a low, dull, percussion loop. Great atmosphere. Skripp introduces "Lynch Law" which consists of a thick wall of medium to high industrial drone over pounding heartbeat low percussion. Sal Solaris's "Garmonbonzia 2.0" begins with a factory machine loop, then a bell ringing over seething low drones. More diversified factory ambience presents itself until the track's conclusion. Relic Radiation mines some "Arrakis Cinnamon" (don't know why they didn't opt for Melange) in this Dune homage, which is the spaciest track on the album with cosmic synths and sequencer, reminding me a lot of the psy-trance genre. Actually, this one is sort of my favorite track on the album. "Mind in Motion" by Kryptogen Rundfunk starts out as menacing dark ambient, then introduces a Lynch-load of staticy noise, a manipulated sample of the Mentat Mantra from Dune- "It is by will alone that I set my mind in motion..." and a lot of other sonic effluvia. Reutoff calms it down (at first) with the seemingly meditative "Blue Room with No Doors" that morphs into a rhythmic industrial piece with an abstract bellish melody. Nice. It all ends with "Eraserhead's neighbors" by Arcuation, which relies heavily on muscular feedback, along with discreet percussive elements. Overly long and unpleasant.
No doubt this compilation has its highs and lows, and what appeals most to me may not to you, but it has some merit in its differences. As a David Lynch tribute though, I didn't find it completely satisfying, and thought it could have used some more traditionally musical, but equally dark contributions. It may however, bring to light darkside Russian artists who might not otherwise have gotten the exposure due to Lynch fans seeking out anything to do with him. The cover by the way is a fragment of a painting by Chris Mars titled "Special Agent Gordon Cole". Limited edition of 200 copies in a glossy six-panel digipak.