TUXEDOMOON AND THE CULT WITH NO NAME- BLUE VELVET REVISITED.
TUXEDOMOON AND THE CULT WITH NO NAME- BLUE VELVET REVISITED.
After the commercial and critical failure of Dune in 1984, David Lynch knew that his next film had to make an impression on critics and filmgoers. There was no buts. So David Lynch made a conscious decision to write a much more personal story. The result was Blue Velvet, the title of Bobby Vinton’s 1963 hit single. Blue Velvet was a return to form from David Lynch.
It marked a return to the surrealist style of Eraserhead, his 1977 debut full-length feature film. Seven years later, and David Lynch was about to fuse psychological horror and film noir. So David Lynch made his way to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he directed an all-star cast that featured Dennis Hopper, Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini and Laura Dern. An onlooker to David Lynch’s use of shadowy and dark cinematography was Peter Braatz.
The young German filmmaker had been invited by David Lynch to document the making of Blue Velvet. For and up-and-coming cinematographer, this was an opportunity of a lifetime. He was given unlimited access to the film set and was able to freely mingle with the cast, crew and David Lynch. This allowed Peter Braatz to fully document the making of Blue Velvet.
As David Lynch directed Blue Velvet, Peter Braatz shot countless reels of film and took over a thousand photos. Peter Braatz also interviewed the cast, crew and the man who nowadays, is regarded as one of the greatest directors of his generation, David Lynch. He was in the process of shooting a film that would win him his second Academy Award, Blue Velvet.
Many thought this would be unlikely, when Blue Velvet was released in September 1986. Critics couldn’t agree about Blue Velvet. Most loved the film, and heaped praise on it. Others loathed it, and saw it as cinematic grandstanding from David Lynch. They seemed to have a problem and “previous with a man who was one of the film industry’s great innovators. However, mostly, the reviews were positive, and quickly, Blue Velvet became a cult film.
When the end of year awards were handed out, Blue Velvet won twelve awards. This included four Academy Awards, including David Lynch’s Academy Award for the best director. Blue Velvet won awards at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Montreal World Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, the National Society of Film Critics and the Sitges Film Festival. This wasn’t surprising. David Lynch’s comeback film was about to become a classic.
By the end of the eighties, Blue Velvet was regarded as one of the finest films of the decade. Enhancing David Lynch’s reputation was the success of Twin Peaks. David Lynch could do no wrong.
Fast forward nearly thirty years, and David Lynch’s neo-noir, mystery film, Blue Velvet has achieved classic status. It’s an aspirational film for each generation of budding filmmakers. They all dream of shooting such an innovative classic. None of them will ever come close. I’m sure that Peter Braatz will concur with this.
Peter Braatz had the privilege of watching and documenting the making of Blue Velvet. For Peter Braatz, it was a learning process. He was watching the master at work. As David Lynch shot and directed Blue Velvet, the twenty-five year old Peter Braatz was documenting the proceedings. In the process he was absorbing and learning Peter Lynch’s methods. This was a once in a lifetime experience. He was able to watch one of the greatest directors of his generations at work. Carefully, he filmed, photographed and interviewed not just David Lynch, but the cast and crew. Once the filming of Blue Velvet was complete, Peter Braatz was left with a documentary waiting to be made. Now, thirty years later, Peter Braatz has begun work on his documentary.
He even has chosen who he wanted to record the soundtrack. This came after Peter Braatz first heard the Cult With No Name’s 2013 album Above As Below. The song that caught Peter’s attention was As Below. He explains: “ As Below came on, I immediately had the idea to use it for my Blue Velvet Revisited project, and to edit a trailer to the track that would showcase my footage. It was kismet.
When Peter Baatz began editing the film, he realised: “the editing of the trailer was effortless, and the feel of the footage merged perfectly with the feel and tempo of the track. It was obvious that I would need this music, and more of it with this exact feel, for my film.” So Peter got in contact with Erik Stein from Cult With No Name. It was then that they decided to collaborate.
By then, it’s as if Peter Baatz’s mind had been made up. “I had already heard a lot Cult With No Name’s music, and was a real fan. I was impressed with its calmness, its elegance and the way in which they seemed to realise their musical ideas so freely and easily.” In his heart, it’s as if Peter had found the group he wanted to provide the soundtrack to his unmade documentary.
This suited Peter Braatz perfectly. He wanted just one artist to write the soundtrack to his Blue Velvet Revisited project. Then Erik Stein told Peter that the stunning trumpet piece was played by Luc Van Lieshout of Tuxedomoon. For Peter, this was another coincidence.
Tuxedomoon, Peter explains are: “a group I also knew well and greatly admired. Because it was the trumpet part that I found so perfect, we soon pitched the idea of a joint soundtrack between Cult With No Name and Tuxedomoon.” Not long after this; “the deal was then sealed at concert featuring both bands in Berlin, in March 2014.” This left Peter Braatz to raise the funding for the recording of the soundtrack.
This wasn’t easy. Fundraising for any artistic project isn’t easy. Many others have struggled manfully, but eventually, were forced to give up. Not Peter Braatz. It took until September 2014 before: “I was able to first release the funding for the recording to properly get underway.” Now Tuxedomoon and The Cult With No Name could begin recording the soundtrack to the Blue Velvet Revisited project.
As 2014 drew to a close, work on the Blue Velvet Revisited was coming along nicely. That was when Peter Braatz received an unexpected Christmas present. Peter remembers what happened: “at the end of the year came the wonderful surprise of an additional track from John Foxx, which I liked very much and fitted perfectly.” Now all Tuxedomoon and The Cult With No Name had to do was finish the soundtrack to Blue Velvet Revisited.
By the end of January 2015, Tuxedomoon and The Cult With No Name had finished recording the soundtrack Blue Velvet Revisited. By then, Peter Braatz had also completed an important process.
Peter Braatz digitalised all of the Super-8 footage he shot when documenting the filming of Blue Velvet. He had also digitalised over a thousand photographs. What had been a long and laborious task was completed. It would’ve been finished soon, of there hadn’t been a delay in another of Peter Braatz’s projects. This meant that the start date of film was postponed. Now he’s just started the editing process. However, Peter Braatz is determined his Blue Velvet Revisited project will be completed.
Especially since Tuxedomoon and The Cult With No Name’s soundtrack for Blue Velvet Revisited is scheduled for release by Crammed Discs on 16th October 2015. It’s Volume 42 in Crammed Discs long established, but recently revived Made To Measure series. This specially sculpted soundtrack, showcases the skills of two talented musical pioneers.
For Tuxedomoon and The Cult With No Name writing and recording the soundtrack to Blue Velvet Revisited wasn’t going to be easy. There would be the inevitable comparisons to Angelo Badalamenti’s original soundtrack. It played a huge part in the success of Blue Velvet, and is revered by connoisseurs of film scores and soundtrack. They had to think outside the box.
Especially since Peter Braatz had to requests. Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name explain that the soundtrack to Blue Velvet Revisited had to be “unusual.” That wasn’t all. They explain that: “the score should dictate the film and not the other way round.” Peter Braatz “would take his cues as music” This meant that he couldn’t begin making Blue Velvet Revisited until the soundtrack was complete.
To help them on they began recording Blue Velvet Revisited, Peter Braatz delved into his archives. He showed Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name: “a three minute trailer and a large number of photos.” The other thing Peter Braatz reminded Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name that they would be: “trading in (fragile) people’s often fragile and highly emotive memories.” After all, twenty-nine years after the release of Blue Velvet, the film still has a special place in many people’s hearts and minds. With these words ringing in their ears, Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name began work.
As they began to create the soundtrack to Blue Velvet Revisited, they had to avoid at all costs Angelo Badalamenti’s original score. If they consciously or subconsciously referenced the original score, then Blue Velvet Revisited ceased to become a Peter Braatz film. Instead, it would become a homage to David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti’s original score. That wasn’t what Blue Velvet Revisited was about.
Instead, Blue Velvet Revisited will be about an outsider who was invited onto the Blue Velvet set, to give an outsider’s perspective. Essentially, it’s a fly-on-the-wall documentary, whose subject just happens to be one of the world’s great filmmakers who was in the process of filming a classic film. With this in mind, Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name began work in a variety of locations.
Initially, Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name first met at a concert in Berlin. Both bands just happened to be appearing on the same bill. Again, this was kismet. That night, they agreed to collaborate on the Blue Velvet Revisited soundtrack. Then in August 2014, Tuxedomoon began rehearsing in Athens, Greece. Meanwhile, Cult With No Name rehearsing in his London studio.
Both musicians improvised, see which road they ended up travelling down. For Cult With No Name and Tuxedomoon this was just the start of a musical adventure.
Having got some ideas recorded, Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name began to expand upon them. It was a musical voyage of discover, where consciously they tried to ignore the elephant in room. Angelo Badalamenti’s original score loomed large. The two men had to avoid it influencing them at all costs.
Meanwhile, Tuxedomoon was on the road. Although much of his music was recorded in Athens, other recording sessions took place in Brussels and Mexico. Cult With No Name however, never left his London studio. That’s where he recorded his parts. Then when Tuxedomoon had completed his contributions, Cult With No Name edited and produced the score to Blue Velvet Revisited. Eventually, it was complete.
Now that the Blue Velvet Revisited score was complete, Peter Braatz could begin work on his long-awaited and much-anticipated film. At last, Peter Braatz had something to take his cues from. This was Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name’s score to Blue Velvet Revisited.
When Peter Braatz heard it, he must have been relieved. Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name’s score to Blue Velvet Revisited hasn’t been influenced by Angelo Badalamenti’s original score. That’s despite it looming large, like the spectre at the feast. The Blue Velvet Revisited score was very different to the Blue Velvet score. It was also a truly eclectic score.
That’s no exaggeration. There’s everything from modern classical and Krautrock, and ambient electronica to jazz on the Blue Velvet Revisited score. Incredibly, Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name have penned the soundtrack to this film that’s yet to be made. It gives the listener an insight to what Peter Braatz has in-store.
The Blue Velvet Revisited score is a captivating journey through disparate and eclectic musical genres. That’s the case from The Slow Club. It’s a track that wouldn’t sound out of place on the score to a David Lynch film. It’s an understated, wistful and slightly eerie sounding scene setter. Already, you find yourself wondering what pictures will accompany it in Blue Velvet Revisited? That’s the case with Lumberton, which sees Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name draw inspiration from contemporary and neo-classical music. It’s a heart-wrenching track. Partly that’s because of the piano and haunting violin on this slow, melancholy soundscape. Very different is Do It For Van Gogh. It’s best described as bubbling, ethereal ambient electronica. The two musical pioneers seem able to change direction
Seamlessly, Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name flit between musical genres, and seem comfortable wielding their musical palette as they paint eclectic soundscapes. An example of this is So Fucking Suave. It’s best described as jazz-tinged ambient music. However, what about the title? Is this a reference to someone connected to Blue Velvet? We’ll never know.
Now It’s Dark sees the darkness descends on. Straight away, memories of David Lynch’s shadowy and dark cinematography on Blue Velvet comes to mind. However, Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name are continuing to plough their own musical furrow. That’s the case on Dorothy. It’s a spine-tingling, emotional roller coaster. Early on it’s reminiscent of seventies ambient music. Quickly, though, the music becomes dark and sinister. Especially, as the strangulated sound of “Dorothy” can be heard. It’s a Lynch-esque track. Then it’s all change.
A Candy Coloured Clown is totally different to the rest of Blue Velvet Revisited. It bursts into dramatically into life, showcasing a big, bold, dramatic and uptempo track. At times, it’s joyous and anthemic. Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name are full of surprises.
They take a break, as John Foxx provides Lincoln Street. It’s very much in keeping with the rest of Blue Velvet Revisited. As the synths bubble and squeak. Their futuristic sound add a dark, moody, cinematic sound. Just like so much of the score to Blue Velvet Revisited, one can imagine Peter Braatz using the music to tell his outsider’s story of the making of Blue Velvet.
Robotic, futuristic synths join woodwind in creating an bubbling, otherworldly sounding track. Elements of ambient, neo-classical, experimental and post rock melt into one, as Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name continue to guide the listener through their musical kingdom. This includes on the wistful, rueful sounding Until The Robins Come. It brings to mind loss and longing. There’s even a mournful air to its ethereal beauty. These two words also describe Don, which closes Blue Velvet Revisited. A gypsy violin plays, joining haunting harmonies combine seamlessly, and prove a poignant and perfect way to close the vinyl edition Blue Velvet Revisited. Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name it seems, have kept the haunting and heartachingly beautiful to last.
Blue Velvet Revisited was always going to be an ambitious project. Peter Braatz was asked to document the making of a film that could make, or break, David Lynch’s career. It seemed David Lynch had an inkling he was about to make history, and wanted history documented. However, despite shooting countless reels of Super-8 film, taking over a thousand photos and interviewing the cast and crew of Blue Velvet, it’s taken nearly thirty years to make Blue Velvet Revisited. Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name’s soundtrack is the first step in this process.
Maybe, Peter Braatz will have finished Blue Velvet Revisited by September 2016? That would be perfect timing, that would be the perfect way to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of a classic film, Blue Velvet. It was accompanied by Angelo Badalamenti’s stunning soundtrack. Peter Braatz’s Blue Velvet Revisited will also be accompanied by Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name’s score.
Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name have penned and produced a score that’s variously ambient, beautiful and dreamy, to ethereal, erring and evocative. It also veers between moody and broody, via dark and disturbing to joyous via melancholy, rueful and wistful. Blue Velvet Revisited which will be released on Crammed Discs on vinyl, CD and as a digital download, is an emotional roller coaster. Incredibly, Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name have managed to create such an evocative score without drawing inspiration from Angelo Badalamenti’s classic soundtrack. That took some doing. After all, Blue Velvet and Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack were like yin and yang.Hopefully, that will be the case with Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name’s Blue Velvet Revisited score and Peter Braatz’s film.
It will provide a remarkable insight into the making of Blue Velvet, while Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name take viewer on a genre-hopping musical adventure. From ambient and contemporary classical, to electronica and experimental via jazz, neo-classical, post rock. It’s a captivating, musical journey, where Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name continually toy with the listener’s emotions on this eclectic suite of captivating musical soundscapes that comprise Blue Velvet Revisited.
TUXEDOMOON AND THE CULT WITH NO NAME- BLUE VELVET REVISITED.
- Posted in: Ambient ♦ Classical ♦ Soul
- Tagged: Angelo Badalamenti, Blue Velvet, Blue Velvet Revisited, Crammed Discs, Cult With No Name, David Lynch, Dennis Hopper, Erik Stein, Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern, Made To Measure, Peter Braatz, Tuxedomoon, Tuxedomoon and The Cult With No Name