When Julian Trip died on June 9 last year, David Lynch fans have lost another essential, even inseparable collaborator who has become a part of their lives as a result of being a part of his art. His spiritual singing is synonymous with both “Blue Velvet” and many incarnations of “”.twin peaks, the second in which it executes the title theme. If Cruise’s physical absence risks dimming his star in our collective memory, the reissue of Sacred Bones’ 1989 “Floating Into the Night” offers a welcome opportunity to bring him back to full brilliance by allowing listeners to re-experience his and Lynch’s work, inherited from their historic collaboration but stripped of the imagery it paired with his music.
His death after being diagnosed with systemic lupus preceded the composer’s death in December 2022. Angelo Badalamenti, a third and equally vital member of Cruise’s musical partnership with Lynch. By composing the music for “Floating Into the Night” and Lynch’s lyrics, Badalamenti created a singular combination of girl group doo-wop and gothic romance – the definitive juxtaposition discovered in Lynch’s work between small-town innocence and the mysterious secrets lurking beneath all that veneer. The “Twin Peaks” theme “Falling” appears as the second track on the recording, and her voice (not in the broadcast version) sounds as much to Lynch’s fallen hero Laura Palmer as it does to the spirit of the legendary, virtuous White Lodge hidden in the wooded enclave of the eponymous Northwest town.
While the instrumental version of “Falling” is more famous, the vocal version is a vivid reminder of how prominent Lynch’s contribution to her work has been and is particularly integral to the ambiance created on “Twin Peaks.” It is followed by another song frequently used on the show, “Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart”, but this song is not included in the official soundtrack. The slightly swaying track expresses exactly the kind of love shared by the show’s younger characters; “I want you, you want me,” Cruise sings sweetly, so Lynch literally put it in their mouths in a few key sequences. Together, the two evoke the desperate longing for love and hope that underpins Lynch’s work on making the darkness bearable.
“Into the Night”, “The Nightingale” and “The World Spins” also appeared on the show, in some cases both lyrical and instrumental versions; they are part of the fabric of his world, so listening to and revisiting them individually deepens the nostalgia they evoke. They also showcase Badalamenti’s unique, sometimes bizarre-looking staff combinations; they use live drums to perform jazz beats, electric guitar, and then synthesizers for everything from atmosphere to filters (even replacements) for live instruments (saxophone in “Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart,” it’s simple).
Lesser-known songs that provided the soundtrack for Lynch’s projects, such as “I Float Alone” on “Industrial Symphony No. 1” on the album, are as stunningly beautiful as the others; his haunting voice, combined with Badalamenti’s orchestral decorations, conjures up beautiful, unspoken mysteries that may or may not have been specially realized with hallucinogenic imagery. The way this dream pop feels exuberant without looking frivolous exemplifies all three of their talents – Lynch as writer, Badalamenti as musician, and hers as vocalist.
But by the time listeners arrived on the album’s final track, “The World Spins,” Cruise had already taken them beyond Lynch’s imagination and Badalamenti’s mood. For better or worse, “Floating Into the Night” will always depend on and owe the audiovisual work of its collaborators to these partnerships. But a little over a year after his death, this rebroadcast highlights the special significance of his sometimes underappreciated contributions to the trio – as a mysterious, gentle, and warm voice that puts feelings that would otherwise transcend into words.