It all happened in a single session.
Nothing evokes the bizarre pathos of small-town American life such as composer Angelo Badalamenti's synthesizer-ladenTwin Peaks theme. "Love Theme," now a bona fide piece of pop culture, conjures an ominous mood along with images of impenetrable woods, tortured romance, and deadbeat dreams.
Earlier this month, Death Waltz reissued the official Twin Peaks soundtrack on vinyl. In a resurfaced video, Badalamenti gives a tour of the "beat-up" keyboard he and David Lynch used to create the haunting, dissonant chords. The composer reveals that they created the theme in a single session; Lynch verbalized the mood and provided resonant visuals, while Badalamenti responded in kind on his keyboard.
"We’re in a dark woods," Lynch told Badalamenti. "There’s a soft wind blowing through Sycamore trees. There’s a moon out, some animal sounds in the background. And you can hear the hoot of an owl. Just get me into that beautiful darkness."
As Badalamenti began playing, Lynch provided minimal tweaks to the dramatic narrative of the song: "Okay, Angelo, now we gotta make a change. From behind a tree, in the back of the woods, is this very lonely girl. Her name is Laura Palmer. I can see her. She’s walking toward the camera, she’s coming closer…."
Badalamenti began playing that familiar rise in pitch, a reprieve from the theme's nefarious overtones. Lynch insisted, "Just keep building it! Just keep building it! It's tearing my heart out!" Then, Lynch instructs Badalamenti to "go back into the dark woods."
As the session concluded, Lynch said, simply, "Don't do a thing, and don't change a single note. I see Twin Peaks."