Continuing to find inspiration in her boundless love of the stunning visuals and rapturous sounds of Twin Peaks, Noveller follows up her haunting interpretation of the show’s theme by exploring the songs that wrapped themselves around two of the program’s most mysterious and intriguing figures. Much in the way the characters themselves formed a balancing act between a fake veneer of wholesome small town values and an all too real dark and dangerous undercurrent, the themes that accompanied them were bathed in dramatic celestial surges, or playful and slinky strolls into the shrouded black corners.
The entire series swirled around the tragic death of Laura Palmer, and Laura Palmer’s Theme might very well be the most heartbreakingly sad instrumental ever composed for network television. Sarah Lipstate pulls each note heavy with emotion from her strings, and leans into the euphoric surges that quickly descend into a darkness that never stops slowly stalking you. No matter how many times that sudden manic burst of hope emerges, you know it will quickly be clawed back into the shadows and Lipstate beautifully captures that uneasiness while also making you believe an escape is possible time and time again, just through her instrument.
Adding the tiny touches of finger snaps and a minimal drum track, everything else on the mysterious Audrey’s Dance is played on guitar, whether it is the walking bass or what had previously been the flight of woodwinds and a free jazz explosion. Sarah’s playing is like a black cat that strides past you, confident and luxurious, yet when you go to pet it the animal snaps and growls, turning violent for just a single dangerous second. Fully in tune with Audrey’s throwback fashion sensibilities mimicking innocence, while her siren smile draws you so close that you can no longer turn back; it is a mischievous dance, but only for the cat, and not the mouse, and the brilliant playing makes that clear at every turn.
Building on their recent video collaborations, after entering the Palmer house, Sarah Lipstate is bathed in white light as she stands firmly before the lens of director George Griffith. Griffith’s name should awaken Twin Peaks fans, as the actor/director memorably portrayed the devilish right hand man Ray Monroe in Twin Peaks: The Return. It is easy to become entranced in Lipstate’s playing centered in the narcotic dream state, and she is undeniably hypnotic, but the pair also assemble a real homage to Laura’s world. Intercut are recreations of key scenes, while Lipstate is adorned with a tell tale long plaid skirt and has the pivotal ring locked on to her finger as her hand walks up and down the fretboard like a curious spider.
Noveller has collaborated with JG Thirlwell to Lee Ranaldo, and she has performed as part of Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Army, Nick Zinner’s “41 Strings”, Ben Frost’s “Music for 6 Guitars”, and Glenn Branca’s 100 guitar ensemble. She has also toured in support of big fans in St. Vincent, Wire, U.S. Girls, The Jesus Lizard and Helium.
Released exclusively for Bandcamp Friday, Laura Palmer’s Theme is backed with Audrey’s Dance, and is available immediately for download and a limited vinyl release.