Rafael Anton Irisarri describes The North Bend as being inspired by the Pacific Northwest of the United States, the same terrain as explored by David Lynch in Twin Peaks. Irisarri is quick to distance himself from the obvious “rainy, gloomy skies’ climate of the region, although there’ plenty of that, whilst acknowledging the debt to Lynch. Rather, The North Bend describes a terribly sad place, less defined by portentous otherworldly Lynchian horror than by the barren aftereffects of such menace, the bleak alienation of a world emptied of hopes and dreams.
Track titles also reference Lynch: “Blue Tomorrow’ is a dense wall of foreboding synth pads, crackly gently like a cleaner version of Gas; “A Great Northern Sigh’ is similarly hazy, like William Basinski covering Love Will Tear Us Apart. “Passage’ meanwhile is frigid in winter, creaking ice floes and sad strings all circling, lost, in endless loops. Irisarri uses classical instruments here and there throughout The North Bend to lend gravitas to an already weighty recording (he previously recorded a version of Arvo Part’s Fur Alina) but it sits closer to electronic drone works, like labelmate Janek Schaeffer’ In the Last Hour. This is dark fearsome stuff.