Seldom Family ~ Audrey & Laura

sf1The affectionately-titled Audrey & Laura arose out of a Twin Peaks marathon. In the 1990 show, Laura Palmer was the ghostly star, a beaming Homecoming Queen, her dazzling eyes gazing out at you. Looking back at the series, Audrey & Laura played significant roles and were arguably more influential characters than protagonist FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper.

Laura Palmer’s ghostly presence permeated the atmosphere. Her spirit hung over the screen, and her death was the axis from which everything else pivoted. Surrounding her murder was the perfume of decay: a rotting odor of lost innocence and a young life broken. A town drowning in tears and submerged in suspicion. But, like the parting of a red-tinted curtain, dark secrets eventually came to light.

On Audrey & Laura, secrets don’t surface in shallow water – they seclude themselves in the black light of an eyeliner. Seldom Family (Patrick Norris and Chris Caulder) are well versed in the spectral otherness of the small town.

Audrey’s sultry smile and flirtatious talk was not only playful but from the heart. Did she have a teen crush on Coop, or was it the apple blossom of love? She wasn’t just playing the game of a maneater, but displaying an independent personality which was confident and yet fragile, vulnerable. In that way, she was very much still a teenager. Audrey & Laura were like removed sisters; they were twinned at the heart, and they kept the show beating. A similar heartbeat pulsates through the dark music. A drone drives through a seemingly empty town which isn’t really empty at all. Clothed in a dress of drizzly mist and the October scent of pines, Audrey & Laura‘s atmosphere is blacker than midnight on a moonless night.

The low drones of “Dream-Sharing” thrum and never really settle, just hanging in the air. The slowly developing, gloopy textures inflate with a septic tension that spreads like an infection. It is happening again.

Its home is in the woods – specifically Ghostwood Forest – but if you go down to the woods today, you won’t encounter Tommyknockers but a Black Lodge. The music emanates from a body of liquid, a substance with the smell of burning engine oil and surrounded by twelve sycamore trees. A refuge and a doorway.

Tones quiver in the air, hiding something that’s otherwise invisible to the naked eye. It seeps in from the outside, funneling cold air into the car’s interior via the air conditioning. Similarly, dreams waft into reality, entering from a tear in an old curtain. The crimson drones on “Freak Me Out Right” are like an unnaturally warm day in autumn, a disconcerting breeze fluttering against the side of the face, while on “Slut 4 Brains” they call out like a gigantic fog horn lost in the deep reaches of space, far removed from anything remotely resembling what we perceive as reality – something like The Black Lodge, or, in this dimension, the Bermuda Triangle. The music is like a black rite, summoning something ghostly from far away, presenting something wider, like the starlight of beyond (“Visitors”). The music is a harbinger, ushering in other things.

The drones are purple invocations that are massaged into a bruise of murky mascara. Swamp-like melodies are entrenched in a thick, squelchy puddle of bubbling mud. Slow-moving vapors and a recurring semi-tone interval bring back the truly frightening score of Jaws.  It’s a creepy place at the best of times, with the peaks dissecting the distance and unusual, eccentric characters peppering the streets. No one is out at this hour. Everyone is either asleep, dreaming of dark things, or otherwise engaged in their own prepared darkness of an elicit affair. Viewers will soon be relocating back to a small town veiled in nothing but mystery and dark, murderous harbors. Laura Palmer, or her spirit, prophesied the return at the end of the second series when she said,’I’ll see you again in 25 years’. The music sloshes around nicely, trapped in a cup of damn fine coffee. (James Catchpole)


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