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Baker's Dozen

The Pleasure Of Discomfort: Siavash Amini's Favourite Music
Jennifer Lucy Allan , August 26th, 2020 09:07

Siavash Amini discusses his 13 favourite albums with Jennifer Lucy Allan, including the power of romanticism, weeping over the death of Leonard Cohen, and why Nils Frahm has a lot to answer for. Photo by Selma Pour-Amin


The entire sonic world of Twin Peaks.

Why did you want to talk about the whole sonic world of Twin Peaks and not just the Badalamenti soundtrack?

Because he's a pawn in a game that David Lynch sets up. It's one of the most interesting uses of sound. You can absolutely listen without watching. The sweetness that the Badalamenti score has, it's daytime TV. But he tortures you enough through other things, other sonic materials, to get you to other places through an almost musical dialogue. The sonic world is a parallel narrative for me. The whole point of Twin Peaks is that when the trauma breaks, all these parallel things are living through it at once.

I think we're similar ages, and I remember I only saw it because someone lent VHS tapes of it – I couldn't get hold of it easily. When did you first see it?

When we were in the south, we lived in a village that could receive the English TV channels from Dubai. My dad was a film buff, he read all the film magazines and knew about David Lynch. And he knew that it was on that TV channel. They didn't want me and my sister to see it, so whenever the Twin Peaks theme started, they gave us jelly, to distract us. So in my mind it's the theme, not the Twin Peaks theme. I still wonder, when I hear it – am I going to get jelly now?

How did you come back to it?

Through one of my friends at university. It was really hard to find. We had a TV rip, the quality was terrible, but we were finding so many cultural references in it. TV for us was like, urgh, TV? We don't watch TV. We watch Eraserhead! But we started listening to ambient and IDM, and there are all these samples that are cut up from the series – in that Biosphere album for example. The third season is dreamy and intense – you didn't know what it was. Is it funny? Is it a joke? Is it scary? It had an ambiguity to it, and he completes the whole arc of the sonic world.

With screaming– that's the end of it, isn't it?

It's effective because there is silence for the whole episode. They're driving in the dark for, 10 minutes or something, not talking. There's this tension built inside you – what's going to happen? All he gives us is a scream. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.