David Lynch: The Air Is On Fire

Legendary director issues soundscape LP that accompanied 2007 Paris exhibition

Released May 20th, 2014 via Sacred Bones / By Erick Mertz
David Lynch: The Air Is On Fire Culturally the term “Kafkaesque” has its resonant place. Of course it means exhibiting the qualities of Franz Kafka (nightmarish, bizarre, out of sorts).

The term “Lynchian” is out there as well (macabre, fucked up, nonsensical genius) but it has not quite penetrated to the same degree as the former. David Lynch, as an adjective, is still more Urban Dictionary than Merriam Webster.

The newest David Lynch album, The Air Is On Fire is no more or less Lynchian than anything that came before (or surely anything yet to come from the prolific art house provocateur). David Lynch, as a musician, is just as mercurial and evocative as he is when at the typewriter or placed behind the camera. In fact, he utilizes similar scenarios and motifs consistently throughout each medium, making following his musical career as rewarding as his cinematic exploits.

Thinking of The Air Is On Fire in the terms of songs proves to be misleading. Yeah, there are four tracks on the album but they hardly conform to anything familiar as song/song structures. Titled “Track A” and “Track B” (each roughly twenty minutes) followed by two shorter, ninety and sixty seconds, the sequence feels like an installation of musical art pieces. One wonders why there isn’t a single track of contemplative darkness, rolling seamlessly from beginning to end.

The songs warrant description, but there is a Rorschachian element (see, I made that up) which forces a listener to personalize; what did I experience? There is a soft continuous drone exhibiting moments of decrepit beauty, punctuated by hard industrial clangs and a piano that feels like it has been summoned into the mix in a far off room. Something in the mix leads me to image of a hotel room.

Whatever you do with The Air Is On Fire is entirely up to you. I don’t see myself putting it on while we have company over; nor do I envision a likely scenario where I give it the time to careful deconstruction. This is a work fine art. And like others of similar ilk, it is one best not understood and left to exact beguiling effect.