Cult film director David Lynch’s career has been anything but predictable, but his recent decision to reinvent himself as an electronic bluesman seemed almost as baffling as one of his mind-bending thrillers.
However, debut solo album, Crazy Clown Time wasn’t the car-crash that most were anticipating. Indeed, having produced Julee Cruise’s first two records, composed scores for Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive and Wild At Heart, and showcased his Southern drawl vocals in Inland Empire, the 66-year-old maverick had far more experience than most gave him credit for.
Further establishing his musical credentials, this week sees the deluxe edition release of Lynch’s critically-acclaimed first studio effort, which boasts an intriguing array of remixes from some of the electronica scene’s biggest players.
They don’t come much bigger than hipster producer Skrillex, who kicks off proceedings with a surprisingly sparse ‘Not So Ravey’ remix of “I Know.” Staying true to the original’s doom-laden atmosphere, the Grammy winner shows for the first time that he may not be the one-trick pony his detractors suggest, eschewing the bombastic Transformers-aping dubstep of his own output for an unsettling fusion of crackling synth snares and sinister industrial effects.
Superstar DJ Sasha takes a similarly subtle approach to the same track, choosing to surround Lynch’s grizzled bluesy tones with Kraftwerk-esque teutonic rhythms and ambient bleeps.
Indeed, whether it’s through respect or fear, only the Trentemoller Remix Instrumental of the Karen O-featuring “Pinky’s Dream, which turns the shimmering Americana number into a gothic slice of acidic techno, attempts to drastically transform Lynch’s reverb-soaked offerings.
The Visionquest Velvet Curtain Instrumental Remix of the same song is virtually identical to its source material; Underworld simply layer Karl Hyde’s echoed vocals on top of the smooth electro jazz of “Good Day Today;” while Moby’s reworking of creepy lullaby “Noah’s Ark” revisits the formula he perfected on Play with its swelling strings and lush synths.
So in the end, Crazy Clown Time v.2 isn’t the trippy experience you might expect from a David Lynch remix album, but it’s a tasteful accompaniment to a record which carries far more conviction than most of Hollywood’s musical moonlighters.
ALBUM RATING: 3 Stars (out of five)