In the 33 ⅓ book for Soundtrack from Twin Peaks , written by Claire Nina Norelli, Badalamenti’s compositions can be reduced to a simple, two-word phrase: “beautiful darkness.” She goes on to discuss the theory behind it — the dissonance hidden within otherwise harmonious Rhodes chords, how he traps wistfulness within delayed suspensions and resolutions — but no prior knowledge is needed. It doesn’t take a musician to realise there is something magical, surreal, and paradoxical at the heart of Twin Peaks.
Candlelight doesn’t have these moments at first. A guitar and violin set the scene gently, only for their crescendos to be abruptly silenced by the entrance of a New Wave synth, plodding as if burdened by the weight of carrying a coffin. The acoustic maintains its boundary with the electronic; light maintains its boundary with dark.
When the shift happens again though, a return to feather-light guitar strums and a sustained violin note that could soundtrack the first ray of light behind a grey mass of clouds, mutual exclusivity no longer holds. Strings and synths start to meld together, sound one and the same on top of added percussion, coalescing with the grimmer dregs below.
Now is when the phrase “beautiful darkness” comes to mind, in the convergence of the seemingly diametric. But just as important are the words that come before and find common ground between life and death, past and future, grief and nostalgia: “Life after broken memories / Only a glimmer, you and I.” Where Lynch centred his camera on the tragic unraveling in grief, OHHYUK’s voice acts as a through-line in it all, navigating morning by sunlight and mourning by “Candlelight.”