The full album of David T. Little's film opera Black Lodge is released on June 2 by Cantaloupe Music with Timur and the Dime Museum and Isaura String Quartet.
“My Childhood,” the first single from composer David T. Little’s modern opera Black Lodge, is available today from Cantaloupe Music on all digital services. Featuring libretto by celebrated poet Anne Waldman and performances by Timur and the Dime Museum and Isaura String Quartet, Black Lodge is set in a nightmarish Bardo, a place between death and rebirth, where a tormented writer (identified as the “Man”) confronts demons of his own making in search of escape. With music and libretto created first, Black Lodge was later reverse-engineered into an episodic art film by director Michael Joseph McQuilken and Beth Morrison Projects, which premiered at Opera Philadelphia’s Festival O22 in October 2022.
> Watch the "My Childhood" Music Video
“I think this is a piece that everybody can have their own experience with,” Little says. “As an audience, you have to meet this piece halfway – engage with it on its terms, and let it tell you what it’s got to tell you. And that will be different for everybody."
In the first single, “My Childhood,” we find an off-kilter sense of empathy and connection with Black Lodge’s tortured protagonist, voiced by Timur . This haunting yet spellbinding track – channeling and quoting filmmaker David Lynch – mixes a mournful sense of longing with an undercurrent of dread, as though at any moment a rift could open up and swallow the Man whole. The sense of foreboding peaks as a menacing, disembodied voice (also Timur) suddenly growls the words “Look closer: pitch oozing out. Always pitch underneath. Millions of red ants crawling all over. Look closer.” Our connection with Timur’s character sharpens as our shared dread opens a window into the dark forces arrayed against him.
Drawing on the complex mythologies of such artists as William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch) and David Lynch (Twin Peaks), Black Lodge fuses industrial metal and punk with classical string quartet and opera to create something wildly vivid and new. Writing on the premiere of the art film adaptation, The New York Times’ Zachary Woolfe commented that “…the music embraces Little’s longstanding interest in the grittier side of pop, the dark, pounding industrial ‘nu metal’ style of (I’ll date myself) Slipknot, Korn and System of a Down.” Others will pick up influences ranging from Nine Inch Nails and The Cure to Monteverdi, Mozart, and Mahler.
While Black Lodge echoes the dark, existential feel of previous David T. Little projects –Dog Days, Haunt of Last Nightfall, Soldier Songs– this new work pursues a new element that Little describes in his album notes. “I was seeking something beautiful in Black Lodge,” he writes, “though deep down I still believed Burroughs’ notion that ‘you have to live in hell to see heaven.’ I now see that I had both written myself into and out of that hell. In going through it, I found a new and healthier way of being that I didn’t consciously know I was seeking — a resolution the Man in Michael Joseph McQuilken’s artful screenplay is not granted.”
> Pre-order the Black Lodge album
> Further information on Work: Black Lodge
Photo: Courtesy of Beth Morrison Projects
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