Perhaps Angelo Badalamenti's most instantly recognisable music is the main theme for the TV series "Twin Peaks". This has two features characteristic of Badalamenti's music. Firstly, there is a certain pop quality (with strong hints of jazz and a certain weird country feel) to the theme and the other themes frequently used on the series. Secondly, the series' success marked a key point in his association with director David Lynch which had started a couple of years earlier on "Blue Velvet". David Lynch has often been heavily involved in the musical aspects of his films, often co-writing songs. "Wild at Heart" has a couple of cues which remind us of Twin Peaks with its walking chromatic bass and drum kit stroked gently by brushes. It includes some suitably wild songs, some co-writing by David Lynch, an excerpt from "Im Abendrot" (one of the "Last Four Songs") by Richard Strauss and Nicolas Cage doing his Elvis impression.
Badalamenti has gone on to create or arrange a number of successful pop songs, sometimes under the name "Andy Badale" and collaborated with Tim Booth on "Booth & The Bad Angel". His darker films (usually for Lynch) tend to have a slow, seedy, jazz quality, often scored for a small band or group including the use of synthesisers. He has continued to work with Lynch, on TV work and also films like "Wild at Heart" and most recently on "Mulholland Drive" (in which the composer has yet another very convincing cameo role as Luigi Castigliani who can't seem to find the perfect coffee). In "Arlington Road" with its topical FBI conspiracy theories, he illustrated Jeff Bridges' haunted past with some dreamy sampled electronica, and used to good effect his trademark repetitive pop-driven cues for tension building and action sequences.
Although firmly labelled as a composer for pshycologoical thrillers, Badalamenti has gone on to work with other directors both within and outside of this genre, including the thriller "Cabin Fever" and the war-time story "Resistance" as well as the TV mini series "Dangerous Liaisons". Some recent films have had Badalamenti scoring historical dramas such as the afore-mentioned "Resistance", "A Very Long Engagment" and "The Edge of Love" which is based on a period in the life of the poet Dylan Thomas during WWII. The composer's music expresses the complex relationships between the poet, his wife, and another couple, and the soundtrack also features some period songs sung by Keira Knightley who stars in the movie.
The album "Angelo Badalamenti: Music for Film and Television" features tracks from some of the composer's best-known work, including the films "Blue Velvet", "Mullholland Drive" and "A Very Long Engagement" and also the TV shows "Twin Peaks" and "Inside the Actor's Studio". See below for further soundtrack recommendations and note that "Twin Peaks" is coming back!
There is quite good sheet music from Twin Peaks the TV series, but none of the online music stores seem to stock it at the moment. Perhaps it can still be found in shops or will be reprinted at some point.
Here is a CD cover signed by Angelo Badalamenti. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click the thumbnail below to see the image full size in a separate window.