Music from the archives: Julee Cruise’s Floating Into The Night

After being recruited by David Lynch for Blue Velvet, Cruise found a whole new career

Julee Cruise’s Floating into the Night

Julee Cruise’s Floating into the Night

 

As one might expect from a project involving David Lynch, a good share of happenstance was involved in the making of this beguiling record.

He had wanted to use This Mortal Coil’s version of Tim Buckley’s Song of the Siren for Blue Velvet but the cost was prohibitively high so he decided to write his own songs and find the perfect singer and producer to give them the mood he wanted.

He had never written a song before but had just made Eraserhead, which startled its audience with waves of industrial ambient sound.

Angelo Badalmenti hadn’t enjoyed anything like what you might call success before he got a call from Lynch in 1987 to act as a voice coach to Lynch’s then girlfriend Isabella Rossellini. The making of more music wasn’t part of the plan.

Occasionally great things happen accidentally. As soon as they sat down at the keyboard together, they struck gold. Lynch had always harboured dreams of writing songs. His chance came with Blue Velvet.

The myriad ways in which Badalamenti could use a synthesizer to evoke dark, somber and chilling moods was music to Lynch’s ears. He had found himself the perfect working partner. Game on.

Mysteries of Love came first. The haunting atmosphere it evokes is due in large part to the ethereal vocals of Julee Cruise. Her involvement was another factor that happened by chance.

Badalamenti had known her from some New York Theatre workshops. The shy singer from Iowa was adept at belting out show tunes but had never sung in the manner they wanted for Blue Velvet. Her first attempt at laying down a version of the song was the one they ended up using.

The seeds that were sown with that song yielded a whole crop of strangely seductive music that became this record.

There’s something in the combination of Lynch’s twisted poetics, the warmth of Badalamenti’s music and the whispered elegance of Cruise’s voice that gels into a unique and strangely memorable sound. It has an uncommon calmness at its core. There’s a beautiful flow to it. That drifting quality never fails to transport you somewhere. Just like a dream.

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