Last week, spaced-out synthpop cult favorites Chromatics shared their video for the new single “Black Walls” and announced that their long-anticipated album Dear Tommy would finally arrive this fall. But before we get to that, Chromatics mastermind Johnny Jewel has something new for us: An hour-long mostly-instrumental album called Themes For Television, which he just dropped on us out of nowhere, with no warning.
There’s nothing much disco about Themes For Television. Instead, it’s a collection of moody, evocative instrumental pieces — including a new version of “Windswept,” which appeared on the score of David Lynch’s 2017 television experiment Twin Peaks: The Return. Regular collaborator Desire guests on one song, but otherwise it’s almost entirely made up of instrumental tracks that could score imaginary TV shows. (Chromatics, as you may recall, performed at the Roadhouse on Twin Peaks: The Return, in addition to that song on the score.) And along with the album, Jewel has also shared a noirish, black-and-white video that director Radka Leitmeritz made for the album track “Red Door.”
Of the new album, Jewel says:
I was about a year deep into recording what would become [the 2017 unreleased-material collection] Windswept when I heard that David was making Season 3. It’s been a year since Chromatics performed at the Roadhouse. With disintegrated memory through the haze of television snow, I wanted to share a glimpse behind the red curtain.
The project began as a sonic exploration of the sounds I was hearing in my nightmares. I wanted to find my way out of the maze by focusing on beauty over fear — like the way the fractured sunrise looks in a dream.
Below, stream Themes For Television and check out the “Red Door” video.
Themes For Television is out now on Italians Do It Better.