David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti releasing “lost” Thought Gang LP (stream a song)
Having formed a close collaborative relationship with Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti began making music under the name Thought Gang which mixed free jazz with spoken word. Thought Gang recordings from the early ’90s have appeared in a few of Lynch’s projects, but are now collected for the first time on an album due out November 2 via Sacred Bones. Here’s more backstory from the press release:
As the oft-told story goes, Lynch and Badalamenti had just finished recording the initial instrumental take for ‘A Real Indication.’ A set of lyrics had been penned, leaving Lynch with the question: who would he get to sing them? Eager to prove and deliver, Badalamenti suggested that he himself give it an attempt, much to Lynch’s uncertainty that he’d actually be the right fit. “I’d heard Angelo sing before…he used to sing on demos and things…I knew what Angelo sounded like and I thought he was going to embarrass himself…I thought there’s no way this was gonna work.” Much to Lynch’s surprise, Badalamenti launched into the song with his distinctive talk-sing delivery, summoning such a violent laughter-fueled excitement from Lynch that he literally induced a hernia. “It was like a lightbulb exploded in my stomach,” Lynch recalls. “Angelo was feeling it. He was feeling it…we hit the button and he just took off!” A giant lightbulb simultaneously went off in Lynch’s head, and it was perhaps the precise moment Thought Gang splintered off into an entity separate from all prior collaborations the two had had up until that point. Weeks later, Lynch was thrust into principle photography of Fire Walk With Me, carrying through the production the very same herniated stomach.
Recordings for Thought Gang continued throughout 1992 and 1993, spontaneously happening during a run of sessions for an assortment of other projects. During a September 1992 recording date for Lynch’s HBO miniseries Hotel Room, ’Logic & Common Sense’ was recorded. “We would book a session for something, and then go off and do other things [toward the end],” Lynch recalls. “Once the players were in the room, we’d make hay while the sun shined.” Each player involved was a unique wealth of talent that enabled the improvisational approach to the recordings to flourish. Improvisation had always been an important tool in Lynch’s repertoire, and an early title for ‘Logic & Common Sense’ (originally entitled ’Headless Chicken’) reveals the initial directive the musicians were given in order to elicit their performance. Bassist Reggie Hamilton remembers distinctly how Lynch set the tone of the improvisation, recalling the brief but descriptive sentence: “he said imagine you’re a chicken with your head cut off running around with a thousand bennies shoved down your throat!” What followed was a frenetic, anphetomine-esque musical conversation between seasoned players for exactly 3 minutes 32 seconds before the end of the 2” tape whipped across the Studer’s play head, flopping against the take-up reel and cutting the recording short. Every inch captured from that performance can be heard on the final record, down to the roll out.
You can check out “Woodcutters From Fiery Ships” from the album, along with album art and tracklist, below.
David Lynch has also created a special video piece for the LP that will premiere at the 2018 L.A. edition of his Festival of Disruption. “It is a short video featuring my friends the ants, along with cheese, etc. and one and a half tracks tracks from the upcoming Thought Gang album,” says Lynch. This year’s fest, which takes place October 13 & 14 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel, features performances from Mike Patton & DJ Qbert, Vic Mensa, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Smitzer Orchestra, RZA doing his 36 Chambers of Shaolin live score, and more. Mercury Rev were recently added and will perform, like they’re doing at Desert Daze, Deserter’s Songs in full as well. Tickets are on sale and an updated lineup poster is below.
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Thought Gang – Thought Gang tracklist
1. Stalin Revisited
2. Logic and Common Sense
3. One Dog Bark
4. Woodcutters From Fiery Ships
5. A Real Indication
6. Jack Paints It Red
7. A Meaningless Conversation
8. Frank 2000 Prelude
9. Multi-Tempo Wind Boogie
10. The Black Dog Runs at Night
11. Frank 2000
12. Summer Night Noise