Boomkat Product Review:
Lynch protégé and Twin Peaks sound designer Dean Hurley coaxes an incredible puzzlebox of atmospheres and mood pieces on this killer contribution to our Documenting Sound series, now remastered and pressed on vinyl for what is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most cinematic and neon-lit instalment in the series. Like a smudged and overdubbed copy of the BoC Maxima tape, with added iridescence.
Across almost 40 minutes we transition from aerosolised synths to romantic chromatics, thru to Nurse WIth Wound-style severed rhythms and fading glimmers of hope, ‘Concrete Feather’ epitomises Dean Hurley’s prized knack for nuanced instrumental story-telling in the finest and most engrossing style we could imagine. Against the backdrop of the Hollywood film industry that has primed us for as long as we can all remember, the music spans a panorama of lush, mirage-like choral pads and starry flickers thru to gloaming nightmare sequences and screwed drums, while touching on some of the dankest synth tones this side of his ‘Anthology Resource’ volumes or indeed his soundtrack work for Twin Peaks: The Return. It’s full of dread and a slowly unfolding sense of tragedy.
“Having a regular practice of recording is probably the single most important element to my craft. It’s a way of dropping indiscriminate mile markers while constantly moving forward in time without ability to pause. Over the years, working for David Lynch taught me a great deal about this and the concept and importance of experimentation. I’ve found myself clinging to those lessons during this time and using them as tools for both productivity and balance. His notion of experimentation is a simple one, yet incredibly profound. It was one of the very first words I heard him say during our initial meeting, and I never stopped hearing the term daily over the subsequent 13 years working together. An ‘experiment’ can provide a legitimate mental back-entrance into the act of creation. It can position an approach toward discovery as opposed to effort, and eliminate the thought that one needs to ‘will’ something into existence. It also aids in calming the judgmental side of a brain from stepping on/interfering with expression…after all, experiments are not about success or failure, they’re simply about learning. In the Lynch school of thought, multiple experiments then become firewood…and with firewood, one can not only build but actually sustain a fire…even turn it into a multiple-acre blaze or more.
The practice of daily experimentation really creates your own dictionary of sounds and ideas. In a sense you’re always documenting the time you’re moving through, so when you reach for raw material to make something larger, it’s deeply reflective of where you’ve been, what you’ve been through and who you are. Recorded sound to me is a lot like growth rings in a tree: it is residual moments in time etched onto a medium. As soon as that distinct moment has passed, it’s recording exists as a partial reflection to learn from. This current moment in time will be an interesting one to look back upon. For me, it has no doubt been this craft of practice that has provided the anchor.”
Dean Hurley, 2020