The Air Is on Fire
In early 2007, David Lynch was the subject of a retrospective art exhibition at Paris’ Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. Evocatively titled The Air Is on Fire, it was notable for being the first major comprehensive exhibition of the avant-garde director’s paintings, photographs and drawings. It wasn’t strictly a visual affair; throughout the entire gallery’s two floors and four rooms, a perva- sive, interactive soundscape escorted viewers through the work. That soundscape, which shares the name of the exhibition, was composed by Lynch and his collaborator, Dean Hurley, and it’s being issued for the first time on vinyl by Sacred Bones Records as a special Record Store Day release.
Over two sides of vinyl totaling more than 41 minutes, the soundscape taps into the full history of experimental, minimal and electronic music, while blurring the line between music and sound design and exploring some of the same depths the director plumbed on the soundtrack to Eraserhead. This is challenging music, but it’s injected with the same approachability that characterizes much of Lynch’s work. He lulls you in with his warm synthesizer strains and hits you with glitchy, hissing percussion and groaning, industrial menace. Like the man behind Winkie’s, you suspect something threatening is lurking within The Air Is on Fire, but you can’t resist it. When David Lynch beckons you into the void, you follow.