In the late 90’s and early aughts, internet video capabilities like Real Video and Quicktime were expanding, proving the early prophecy that ‘anyone would be able to have their own television channel on the internet’ was indeed coming true. After the critical success of Mulholland Drive, director David Lynch doubled down on the medium, funneling virtually all of his time into personally animating, filming, and scoring content for his own internet destination: davidlynch.com. It was fertile and limitless ground for a creative like Lynch, allowing him to return to the days of his experimental film roots, where it was actually possible for him to have his hands on every element of the process.
It was out of this newfound digital freedom that the early seeds of Inland Empire were born, evolving and fissuring from an internet-bound experiment itself, into something much more expansive. The film collated a variety of ideas and working methods that the recent web paradigm had nurtured in Lynch, one of which was an increased frequency of his own solo music productions. Having finished constructing his own personal recording studio in 1998, he was no longer tethered to the scheduling and high premiums of rented studio time and was free to accelerate his musical experimentation without constraint. As a direct result of this was a unique shift in Lynch’s musical trajectory; a shift that would eventually bear multiple albums and a short film featuring a lounge-crooning monkey. In the first weeks of 2005, Lynch would record a blues instrumental and instead of getting someone else to sing on the song, he would sing, via a formant and pitch-altering piece of equipment known as the Boss VT-1. It was because of the davidlynch.com animated series “Dumbland” that the director had discovered the device that would enable him to be ‘any character he needed.’ With “Ghost of Love,” Lynch was experimenting with bringing those ‘characters’ into his own musical compositions. In true Lynch fashion, it’s difficult to know which inspired which: did “Ghost of Love” birth a scene in Inland Empire, or did the film’s ideas birth the song? Just as “In Heaven” had served to encapsulate Eraserhead, “Ghost of Love” managed to encapsulate Inland Empire allowing its listener to close their eyes and immediately channel the film’s images and mood onto the screen of the mind.
“Ghost of Love” is backed with “Imaginary Girl,” originally released via CD single in 2006 are now finally seeing their vinyl and digital release for the first time in celebration of Inland Empire’s 2022 theatrical re-release. Both are signature cinematic Lynchian classics that feature Lynch on guitar and vocals, accompanied by his long-time collaborator and Sacred Bones staple Dean Hurley on bass.