Multi-layered Riddles

Kalle Kalima and K-18
Out To Lynch
FINLAND TUM RECORDS TUMCD 030 (2012)

Inspired by the films of cult US film director, David Lynch, Kalle Kalima and K-18’s second release follows on from their Stanley Kubrick-themed debut.

This is not a score or soundtrack album; rather, Lynch’s films and, more accurately, the characters portrayed simply offer inspiration. The result is a vivid selection of compositions that combine jazz improvisation and soundscapes with hints of modern classical music and avant-garde rock to cover a wide spectrum of sounds and alternating moods. Certainly there’s no mistaking the improvisational element here, but it has been cleverly shaped and combined with composed music to produce twelve tracks; each of which is attributed to a specific character or location from one of Lynch’s films.

Anyone familiar with these films and characters will know that Lynch has created some of the most striking, disturbing and memory-searing images committed to celluloid. You don’t forget seeing Eraserhead or Wild at Heart, or indeed meeting Blue Velvet’s Frank Booth, in a hurry. Even the more linear and ‘conventional’ films, such as The Elephant Man and The Straight Story, have a unique, poetic feel that are unmistakably Lynchian. So how do you go about drawing inspiration from that? The answer is that you produce an album as baffling and incomprehensible as the movies you’re attempting to evoke. Lynch’s films are multi-layered riddles that constantly blur the line between fantasy, reality and nightmare; and to its credit, so is this album.

True Lynch fans will certainly hear how the characters have inspired this album, and each repeat listen highlights how Finnish, Berlin-based composer and guitarist, Kalima, and his musicians have found aural ways to bring them to life. ‘The Elephant Man’ is a collective, soulful improvisation that effectively draws on the character’s solitude and emotional longing; whereas ‘Eraserhead’ uses the quarter-tone accordion and African flute to great effect to portray the surreal horror of America’s industrial wastelands. ‘Frank Booth’ is a dualistic piece that suggests both sides of this pathologically violent yet gentle character; while the 35-second ‘Man From Another Place’ is just, frankly, screaming mad.

Standout track is probably ‘Mulholland Drive’, which is the only one based on a location rather than a character. It is melodic, dreamy and sufficiently psychedelic to have actually featured on the soundtrack to one of Lynch’s most brilliantly incomprehensible films.

While Out to Lynch may not linger in the memory in the same way as the films and characters that inspired it, any piece of work that attempts to interpret and reimagine the unique and often indecipherable world of David Lynch has got to be given credit. For anyone not familiar with the director’s work, this album will also provide an introduction to the seemingly random world of Mr Lynch.

Overall, it has to be said that just as Lynch’s films are not always an easy watch, this album is not always an easy listen. However, just as you suspect there’s a method to the great filmmaker’s madness, so too does this album have a certain way of drawing you into its world and making you want to stick around for a while; if only to see (or hear) what happens next.

HANNAH GILES

Lynch2

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