Julee Cruise: Floating Into The Night (1989)
Floating Into The Night includes primarily music written and recorded for the series (as well as some music from David Lynch's Blue Velvet). Composer Angelo Badalamenti wrote the music, with lyrics by Lynch. And while the songs are terrific, haunting and hypnotic film noir torch songs, due credit has to be given to vocalist Julee Cruise, who gives the songs a suitably ethereal touch.
Although the album's association with Twin Peaks gives it added emotional resonance for fans of the show, I think it stands on its own as a beautiful piece of work. (Granted, it's a little hard for me to evaluate it objectively, so you'll have to take my word on that.) I'd place it alongside Mazzy Star as post-psychedelic late night mood music, with shades of Cocteau Twins-esque early dream pop, perfect accompaniment for the still darkness. (And I think there's a worthy addition to the genre in the recent release of Case/Lang/Veirs from Neko Case, K.D. Lang and Laura Veirs.) It's the sort of thing I play when I'm struck with insomnia and need some help drifting off, or just need some soothing music to get me through a sleepless night (well, when I'm not reaching for Brian Eno).
"Falling" is vocal version of the Twin Peaks theme song and, again, while it's hard to divorce it from the original context, I think it's pretty damn gorgeous regardless of whether you've seen the show. "Floating" and the insanely delirious (and marginally more upbeat) "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart" have a nostalgic 50s throwback sound, definitely working that film noir vibe; and while much of the rest blends together into a narcoleptic ambient haze, songs like "Into The Night" and "The Nightingale" are pretty damn breathtaking.
Here's the (Twin Peaks-filled) video for "Falling":