Friday, April 15, 2011


With its ambient rumbling and hissing suggesting the textures of urban decay,  a Fats Waller organ motif repeated until it seems to suffocate the listener,  and "In Heaven" providing an apt coda to the horrific/comedic proceedings,  one has certainly been thrust into unfamiliar territory,  that of the compellingly repellent world of David Lynch.  ERASERHEAD (1976)  reminds me of Bunuel's  much earlier  step into the unconscious, UN CHIEN ANDALOU (1929),  but with much creepier sound design by Lynch and the late Alan Spelt (1939-1995).  Lynch's film is nearly sculptural in the way its sound and imagery meld into a deeply disturbing experience offering more evocative "silence" than rational dialogue,  and is in many ways a kind of lo-fi sampling that takes John Cage's ideas of "silence" into the cinema with startling results.  There are moments when one seems to be sucked into a vortex of sound/image,  especially when viewing this film in a theater at high volume.  At other times,  uncomfortable silences or near silences give way to real physical distress,  as if the audio itself  seemingly shapes a haptic connection with one's unconscious.  A haunting listen for sure.

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