Retro Promenade return with second Twin Peaks themed comp
Last month a Texan label, Retro Promenade, that has a love of everything synth and 1980’s sounding, put out a covers album to the original Twin Peaks soundtrack. While this sounded like a bad idea as the original was nigh on perfect, it turned out to be a surprise hit, and has been on constant rotation ever since. Now the Next Peak: Volume II is released. The brief was slightly different. Volume I was a straight track for track cover of the original soundtrack, this time the artists involved could remix any track from the Twin Peak canon. So anything from the Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: Season Two and the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with me soundtracks.
The album starts strong enough. Kalax’s remix of Falling ethereal nature of the original subverts it into chillwave. Lucy Black add the vocals, as she did on Volume I. What makes this track so striking is there is no beat at all. The only elements are vocals, bass and synths. The synths have been layered and create a dense fog that envelopes you until at the end it lifts. Second track is Protector 101’s take on the Pink Room, from the Fire walk with me soundtrack. As with the original, that start he is that murky stalking bassline. Instead of stark stabbing guitars, it is surrounded by a wall of synch that Phil Spector would be proud of, you know if he wasn’t in jail, and screaming solos. The whole thing sounds like Vangelis is just warming up before a session.
Here however is where Volume II start to become unstuck. The next two tracks are exactly the same. The first is a remix of the Twin Peak Theme and the other is remix of Falling, but without the lyrics. After this is one of the highlight of the album, a dark and broody remix of Laura Palmer’s Theme. Sonic Synergy channel the spirit of Visage, but into a contemporary chillwave, darkstep sound. One of the three stand out tracks on the album. Then another Falling remix. This is followed by another Laura Palmer Theme Remix. The album closes nicely with a Telesto remix of the Pink Room. It’s a starker remix, very much like the original. Lots of background synths, phaser bass riffs and live drumming. Telesto employs limited elements to create something that evokes the original, yet keeps in line with the brief. 1980’s synths!
The main problem with the album is lack of variation. Given the brief to remix a song from the Twin Peaks canon, only five tracks from the various scores make appearances. Leading the charge are Falling and the Laura Palmer Theme, with three tracks each. Pink Room has two remixes and finally Twin Peaks Theme (an instrumental version of Falling) and the Nightingales have one remix each. The combination of all three original soundtracks is about 45 tracks. Where was Blue Frank, Best Friends, Shelly, Harold’s Theme, Packard’s Vibration, Sycamore Trees or New Shoes?
Overall however this is another solid release from Retro Promenade. Not quite a clever, or inventive as the original, but not far off. Rumour has it that a third volume is nearing completion. It will contain tracks inspired by anything in the Twin Peaks canon. Whether this means covers, remixes or original compositions, is anyone’s guess, but it shouldn’t be too far in the offing. Hats off again to Retro Promenade, this is another damn fine compilation!