Eraserhead: Original Soundtrack Recording – David Lynch

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Seekers of analogue white noise explorations along with cult film soundtrack enthusiasts rejoice with Sacred Bones re-release of Eraserhead's industrial steam machine ambience. David Lynch’s creation of industrial symphonies both for screen and sound are notorious where a close listening to his early audio tracking design listens like an audio experiment/experience for today’s artists and students of sound. For others the soundtrack is the best thing to keep on loop for that dream Halloween haunted house and also can inject some new livelihood into the sterile chambers of retrofitted Bauhausian warehouses converted to live-in-work lofts. Where midnight screenings brought the moving images of Henry Spencer's electrofried hair style and his post apocalyptic world; the LP audio only experience lets your imagination build on top of those dusted, grainy art house cinema recollections.

The soundtrack takes you to the heart of that post-fallout world where Lynch's experiments of the peculiar and familiar in sound design can be heard in a newfound clarity. Those with the kind of patience and appreciation for his elaborate use of capturing motions of hissing air, distortions and general eeriness at different rates and volumes will note that this deserves more than a second or third listen. Others in favor of less jarring audio assemblages might not get or want to hear what the original fuss was about. What is important from this re-release is hearing Lynch's trademark degrees of silence (that later became a staple in future projects, i.e. the windy silence from the waving sycamore trees in Twin Peaks) that hold a resonating relevance for today's pop music focuses that have shifted toward recording microscopic minutiae, undetectable to the eye yet discernible in high definition sound to the listener. Listen to anything from the rosters of Ceremony, Ghostly, Tri Angle, Tundra Dubs and many more to hear how the painstaking crafts that Lynch took to create airy variations of chimney wind pipe breaths continue to inform the works of today’s artists that are listening closer to the static noises we take for granted and/or tune out daily.

Treating the soundtrack release like a proper full length, there is the supplementary 7” single of the girl in the radiator’s song “In Heaven” b/w with the faint carnival organ on “Pete’s Boogie”. The Lynch commissioned Peter Ivers' song “In Heaven” crept back into the forefront of my consciousness from the buried pile of forgotten and recollected media memory. Ivers’ “you’ve got your good things and I’ve got mine” can now be heard better clearer than the foggy hiss from the scratchy VHS copy I knew well from Seaside's Video To Go. Both “Heaven” and “Boogie” instantly transport you into the trip of metaphysical polarities, Lodges, checkered stages and those grand curtains that veil the Lynchian lore.

The aberrated, slowed down minor key “Merry Go-Round Broke Down” styled sound score operates like a machine housed in a factory exhaling smoke through hollow stacks. Those 5 years David Lynch put in to make a self-made film manifesto was part of an audio framework that created the strange audio auras that permeate Twin Peaks, the Frank Booth love-letter-to-hell nightmare of Blue Velvet and further evident on The Elephant Man which went into production following Eraserhead. With the recent release of the Black Lodge bop of Crazy Clown Time, David Lynch’s first solo album, it is tempting to let the master’s current musical/visual works inform opinions that may interfere with the enjoyment of revisiting Eraserhead’s seminal genre-defying/defining aural majesty. Remember that what you hear on record was made long before Inland Empires, Mulholland Drive doppelgangers, Lost Highways or before David Lynch's own Signature Cup Organic Coffee. We can thank the perseverance of Lynch’s fans and the love and belief from Sacred Bones we can now hear sounds rescrubbed and sharpened and potentially previously unheard from the original film’s original sound track with audio detail for all of us to pay strict attention.