David Lynch The Big Dream

[Sacred Bones; 2013]

Styles: subjectively impressionistic collages of: post-punk, blues, soul, etc.
Others: Grinderman, new Depeche Mode, 80s post-punk artist, old 4AD/Mute records

Hypertextual articulation is The Big Dream’s greatest triumph. By that I mean the combining and serial montaging of David Lynch’s filmography and his authorial, celebrity/celebrated self with the abstraction of “his” sound. Here emerges a higher epistemic form: Lynch as pataphor (an unusually extended metaphor), as the literalization of himself and his function — less a signifying signifier and more a whole being on all planes.

Because of this ontological setup, I’m able to accept The Big Dream a lot more readily than I can his meaning. Although it’s as vacuous and noneventual1 as, say, a hyper-internet-based release, the combination of his abstract and objective forms makes this release fascinating in at least a theoretical sense. There is a sense of autonomy, a sense of thought and intentionality with his music versus his films. Rather than forcing incongruous and grotesque images that refer only to their own “fucked-upedness,” The Big Dream reflects his thoughts concretely. The hypnagogia of the album is even rewarding in this way, building a strange and almost olfactory narrative of American generic forms (yes, smell here is meant to speak to its “realness,” its eventual plausibility), while the vocoded vocal center is the strange voice in Lynch’s head telling him to combine noir tropes with warped vaudevillian images.

There is a sense of brilliance in Lynch combining referential forms so readily to form a whole self, but the forms themselves feel tired. I can only take the whole self to be a generic whole; his attempts at expressing an aesthetic “self-ness” has been thwarted by the weightlessness of the genres and reference from which he pulls. Essentially, zero plus zero will always equal zero — the ostensible definition of vacuous nothing: the fatal crawl to noneventuality. Most would argue that this outing, like most of his artistic outings, are for himself, fruitless and pointless, impressionistic moods of meaningless pits. But Lynch’s expressions of the supposed whole self is indeed a masturbation of his ability to warp and bend the contexts and functions of already stretched-to-the-limit forms. I appreciate that Lynch would know and trust himself so well and so much to create an aesthetic property that is so him, but like Zomby’s With Love, the whole sounds empty.

The Big Dream is personal, sure, but it is also an exercise in how far Lynch can extend himself over the aesthetic objective criteria of art, which is to be a form of technology that elevates and exposes the inner workings of epistemic systems, to extend that knowledge and act as a mirror, therefore abstracting the human phenomenological experience and presenting it as a noumenal object. The Big Dream is but a pretty stone that withers the moment it is touched, lifted for further inspection.

1. The term noneventual has been adapted from Baudrillard’s term nonevent, which has been explored in many of his essays on the notion of Simulacrum, intended to gloss over and fully encompass the very notion of an event that was built up to, but that never came into being, thus leaving a vacant hole in the aesthetic and contextual space where the event should have taken place.

Links: David Lynch - Sacred Bones