Dreamworlds, song 

The uncanny qualities of ethereal songs became routinely exploited after Laura. In the following clip from Portrait of Jennie, which is reminiscent of musical moments in David Lynch movies, notice how the improvisatory and dissonant quality of this song from nowhere is framed by the Debussy that fills the rest of the film.  Consider, if you will, the economies of this use of music.  Both the Debussy and the ether song are cheap to use, but the effect of the latter is no cheap thrill.  Rather it inspires a philosophical inquiry into the mysteries inherent in transmission of little songs and the beings that grow attached to them.  Where do they come from?  Where are they going?    

Clip 1

Clip 2

Chion describes the musical style that Lynch developed with composer Angelo Badalamenti and performed at times by Julee Cruise as "a kind of sublimation and spiritualization of slow 50s tunes to which a religious dimension has been added by extending the melodies and rhythmic values and by providing a full, rich orchestration in the low registers (a saxophone section) and hymn-like harmonies. A note of strangeness and magic, and also of sadness, is added to the general atmosphere by the robot-like regularity of the performance and by cosmic sound effects, such as a tempest, the wind, sirens, male voice-overs as if from the tomb, and so on"(141). I would add that the songs of Lynch films are not only a Platonization of early rock and roll, but they also are a more direct descendant of the strange songs that surface in the 40s gothic genre.  Already spiritualized and sublimated, they arise uniquely from their respective films, but also belong to somewhere else.  The relation these songs have to their films approximates Lynch's use of music with "[t]he aim . . . to let emotion arise from the overall atmosphere created by the text." Floating and diaphanous, Lynch's haunting melodies give the sense not only of the unmoored voice, but also, as Chion intimates, of bodies themselves entering the void of a groundless, omnipresent dreamworld.  At the same time, the song, especially when it is not mediated by the voice, or when the voice singing does not seem to belong to the visible singer, exposes an inhuman quality inherent in recorded music.  Through repetition, the difference between the robotic and the spiritual, automatism and unconscious becomes blurred.