Twin Peaks has inspired many artists from almost every genre of music. So much so that some have used samples from the show in their songs. Some are sweet like Audrey Horne’s “God, I love this music”; others are uplifting like the words of Major Briggs’ vision; many are downright terrifying, like the screams of Laura Palmer’s doppelganger in the Black Lodge. But let’s start with something beautiful, the Flying Lotus remix of Julee Cruise’s “Falling.” You know, so it feels like the opening credits. So get your headphones on, and strap yourself in, because, after this, it’s going to get a bit scary in places. I promise there is a happy ending, though. Maybe. Let’s keep the mystery alive.
Flying Lotus, “Twin Peaks”
Marilyn Manson, “Wrapped in Plastic,” Portrait of an American Family (1994)
So, starting with something pretty obvious. Marilyn Manson has loved Twin Peaks for as long as the founders of 25YL have (30 years), and the works of David Lynch have long influenced his style. While on tour with Nine Inch Nails in ’94, his photo with Twiggy Ramirez and Courtney Love was taken. Cool T-shirt! He has more recently been seen wearing the Owl Cave ring in the video for “KILL4ME.” “She’s dead, wrapped in plastic” was, of course, some of the first words uttered in Twin Peaks by the wonderful Pete Martell (Jack Nance), who discovered Laura Palmer’s body on the shore. “Wrapped in Plastic” also became the name of the brilliant Twin Peaks fanzine created by the late Craig Miller and John Thorne.
The samples used in the song are the words “Hallelujah” and “Meanwhile” and that of the doppelganger of Laura Palmer, screaming backwards in the Black Lodge, which is still one of the most terrifying moments in TV ever and adds a real sense of horror to the song.
The Exploited, “Beat The Bastards,” Beat The Bastards (1996)
Scottish Punk/Thrash band The Exploited begin their seventh album with the titular “Beat The Bastards,” which features samples from A Clockwork Orange, Scottish News snippets and more. At the very beginning, we hear Leland Palmer crying out, “I always thought you knew it was me!” as he murders his daughter in the train car. Disturbing stuff. Then the punk kicks off, and the crowd goes wild. Probably.
Cephalic Carnage, “Black Metal Sabbath,” Lucid Interval (2002)
Cephalic Carnage is a black metal band from Colorado and refers to themselves as “rocky mountain hydro grind.” So perhaps it’s fitting then that they would use a sample from the rocky mountains of Twin Peaks. “Black Metal Sabbath” opens with Laura Palmer telling Donna Hayward, “Faster and faster until after a while you wouldn’t feel anything; and then your body would just burst into fire, forever. And the angels wouldn’t help you, ’cause they’ve all gone away…” It is dark and dense, much like this track. If falling faster and faster sounds like this, I do not want.
Dødheimsgard, “Traces of Reality,” Satanic Art EP (1998)
Two tracks on the Norwegian black metal/industrial band’s Satanic Art EP feature samples from Twin Peaks. On “Traces of Reality,” we hear MIKE telling us he’s been “touched by the devilish one” plus the words “wrapped in plastic” and Little Jimmy Scott singing, “I’ll see you, and you’ll see me” from “Sycamore Trees.” This track throws you around like Nadine in wrestling practice. It’s not my cup of tea but does get mellower in the middle, then goes bonkers again at the end. It’s OK, though; the Norwegians are leaving!
Mushroomhead, “Episode 29,” Mushroomhead (1995)
Talking of bonkers, here’s Mushroomhead. Scary mask-wearing metal/industrial dudes from Cleveland, Ohio. They released their self-titled and self-funded debut album in 1995. After just one live gig, GWAR asked them to support them on tour. At their second show, they played to 20,000 people. Impressive! “Episode 29” refers to the final episode of Twin Peaks (at least before The Return in 2017) and features samples from Laura Palmer and the Little Man From Another Place in the Black Lodge. Once again, we hear Laura’s doppelganger screaming backwards, time and time again. It’s nasty. And if guys who look like this think it’s scary enough to put on their record, then it’s really, really scary. Mushroomhead also features samples from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Reservoir Dogs, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Stand By Me, Pet Sematary, The Silence of the Lambs and many more.
Distorted Memory “Hand of God — God Module Remix,” Archive (1999-2003) (2011)
Distorted Memory is Jeremy Pillipow (with Tim Doerksen joining him for live shows), creator of very dark electro, industrial and hard techno. This remix of “God Module” opens with the terrifying voice of BOB saying, “I’ll catch you with my death bag, you may think I have gone insane, but I promise, I will kill again.” To be honest, I had never heard of Distorted Memory before I began compiling this list. Yet, their sound brings back memories of the very dark club nights I used to go to, goth dancing the night away to Front Line Assembly, :wumpscut:, Cubanate and Sheep on Drugs. What a horrible image.
Moby, “Go,” Moby (1991)
We’re halfway through the playlist now, and we’ve reached probably the most well-known track featured with Moby’s “Go.” The electro song samples “Laura Palmer’s Theme,” a very dark and menacing tune written by Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch. “Go” reached number 10 in the UK singles chart when it was released in March 1991. Bearing in mind that British viewers wouldn’t see the final episode on BBC2 until June 18th 1991, we were still in the midst of the mystery. In fact, we had only just learned who killed Laura Palmer on February 24th, 1991 (one year since Laura’s body was found!), so it was perfect timing for British Twin Peaks and electro fans.
Moby, of course, went on to star in Twin Peaks: The Return, playing along Rebecca Del Rio in the Roadhouse as she sang “No Stars,” and he has DJ’d at David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption.
Trophy Scars, “Darkness,” Darkness, Oh Hell EP (2010)
Changing the tone somewhat now, with experimental rock/blues/psychedelic band Trophy Scars, from New Jersey. “Darkness” is very much on the bluesy side, with gruff, pained lead vocals, piano, and lamenting blues-rock guitars. It doesn’t sound much like a track that would use a Twin Peaks sample, but it does. Right at the end, as the guitars fade out, MIKE speaks his infamous monologue:
Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see.
One chants out between two worlds…
“Fire… walk with me.”
We lived among the people.
I think you say, convenience store.
We lived above it.
I mean it like it is… like it sounds.
I too have been touched by the devilish one.
Tattoo on the left shoulder…
Oh, but when I saw the face of God, I was changed.
I took the entire arm off.
My name is MIKE.
His name is BOB.
El-P (feat Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & Cedric Bixler-Zavala) “Tasmanian Pain Coaster,” I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead (2007)
Songwriter, producer and rapper EL-P was a solo artist before joining forces with Killer Mike (who I’d like to think named himself after MIKE before he saw the face of God, you know, like Killer BOB but Mike?!) to become Run The Jewels. His second solo album, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, featured guest vocals from Cat Power, Trent Reznor, and on the opening track, “Tasmanian Pain Coaster”, Omar and Cedric from At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta. The song opens with Laura Palmer and Donna Hayward talking in Fire Walk With Me, “Do you think that if you were falling in space that you would slow down after a while or go faster and faster?” “Faster and faster, for a long time, you wouldn’t feel anything. And you’d burst into fire, forever.” This is a damn fine track.
Apoptygma Berzerk, “Moment of Tranquility,” Welcome to Earth (2000)
Oh bloody hell, the Norwegians are back! Though Apoptygma Berzerk (often known as APOP or APB) is an entirely different kettle of fish…or should I say percolator of fish? APOP make synthpop and ballads backed with electronic rhythms, referring to themselves as “futurepop.” The album, Welcome to Earth deals mainly with the modern mythology of aliens and the hope that the truth will be revealed to us one day. The tracks convey a feeling of alienation too. It feels appropriate then that it is Major Briggs, The Archivist, the man hiding in The Zone, and the man who perhaps knew more about the future, the past, and the depths of space than anyone else sampled here. “Moment of Tranquility” opens with a dialogue between Windom Earle and Briggs, “Your name please?” “Garland Briggs.” “Garland, what do you fear most in the world?” “The possibility that love is not enough.” The whole track is like an ode to “Falling,” in an ’80s synth-style, reminiscent of The Thompson Twins. It’s pretty beautiful. Don’t worry; love is enough.
Yasume, “When Audrey Dances,” Where We’re From the Birds Sing a Pretty Song (2003)
With the album title Where We’re From the Birds Sing a Pretty Song, you know that you are going to get some major Twin Peaks-inspired music, and Yasume delivers the goods. Yasume was the project of John Twells and Gabriel Morley, who made some truly gorgeous ambient sounds on this album. It’s a fairly typical IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) and Glitch record reminiscent of the blissful sounds of Ulrich Schnauss, but its Lynch and Badalamenti influences make it stand out from the crowd. Although the whole album is Peaksy—even down to the cover art—I have chosen “When Audrey Dances” as it samples an echoey Miss Horne saying, “God, I love this music.” Me too, Audrey, me too.
Biosphere, “Hyperborea,” Substrata (1997)
Geir Jenssen is a Norwegian(!) electronic musician who records as Biosphere. A resident of Tromsø within the Arctic Circle, Jenssen is well known for ambient and ambient house pieces. Substrata was Biosphere’s first truly ambient album and has themes of cold, of mountains and glaciers, and of running water. Sounds of howling wind and creaking wood, although infrequently used, create a chilling soundscape interrupted by rich but quietly suspenseful music. Sounds like Twin Peaks!
Track 4 of Substrata, “The Things I Tell You,” features the artist formerly known as The Giant, delivering a message to Agent Cooper. “Sorry to wake you. I forgot to tell you something. The things I tell you will not be wrong” from the first episode of Season 2. But for this playlist, I have chosen “Hyperborea,” which features Major Briggs’ full speech to Bobby as he tells him about his vision (also from S2E1). You may appreciate this track more listening through headphones so that you can really listen to the sounds. It’s a delight.
“This was a vision, fresh and clear as a mountain stream, the mind revealing itself to itself. In my vision, I was on the veranda of a vast estate, a palazzo of some fantastic proportion. There seemed to emanate from it a light from within, this gleaming, radiant marble. I’d known this place. I had, in fact, been born and raised there. This was my first return—a reunion with the deepest well-springs of my being. Wandering about, I noticed happily that the house had been immaculately maintained. There’d been added a number of additional rooms, but in a way that blended so seamlessly with the original construction, one would never detect any difference. Returning to the house’s grand foyer, there came a knock at the door. My son was standing there. He was happy and carefree, clearly living a life of deep harmony and joy. We embraced, a warm and loving embrace, nothing withheld. We were, in this moment, one. My vision ended, and I awoke with a tremendous feeling of optimism and confidence in you and your future. That was my vision of you. I’m so glad to have had this opportunity to share it with you. I wish you nothing but the very best in all things.”
DJ Shadow, “Transmission 3,” Endtroducing….. (1996)
And so we’re at the curtain call. No discerning Twin Peaks sample playlist creator would leave this short but essential track off their list. “Transmission 3” ends DJ Shadow’s debut album Endtroducing….. (which is almost entirely composed of samples) on a solemn note. As the album comes to an end, we hear the instantly recognisable (if you are a Twin Peaks geek like me) sound of the needle on the Palmer family’s record player, crackling at the end of the record. This sound heralds the imminent murder of Maddy Ferguson and is creepy as hell. The Giant then appears to tell us twice that, “It is happening again.” A clock ticks, and Laura Palmer’s murderer chuckles to himself.
So there we go! There are many more samples out there, of course. I couldn’t get some on my Spotify playlist (below), so I didn’t add them. I couldn’t find any Season 3 samples, but I am sure they are out there! Please let me know of any; I would love to hear them. Undoubtedly there will be more in the next 30 years. Until then, the world spins.