John Carpenter’s Lost Themes

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John Carpenter
is one of Science Fiction and Horror films all time masters.

Carpenter’s a master not just because his films are obviously spectacular or terrifying (which they are) but because his films move at a particular pace. From Assault on Precinct 13 to Halloween to Escape From New York, Starman to Big Trouble in Little China to Christine, all of his great films (regardless of genre) are essentially built around chases. Action movie or Horror movie or Sci-Fi/Romance, indie or big budget, Carpenter turns them all into late 70s Matinee Thriller material. And they’re pretty much always the better for it.

As an early independent filmmaker, Carpenter decided to supply the music for his films. A bold and tricky proposition, considering that he’s a self-taught musician, every single one of his movies ran the likely risk of being a flat out “turkey” as they say.

But, instead, this singularity of vision and frequent collaboration with musical partner Alan Howarth, resulted in galvanizing the Carpenter aesthetic. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s precisely because of his music that his films AREN’T “turkeys.”

His score formula is tried and true, driving arpeggiated synths, shredding guitars and a steady syncopated drum pattern. His themes are chuggy and have been of notable inspiration to the folks behind labels like DC Recordings, Death Waltz and Crimes of the Future and artists like Principles of Geometry and Trevor Jackson.

Now, after years of creating intentionally cinematic music, the Sacred Bones label has seemingly coaxed Carpenter into releasing his first collection of music.

Lost Themes was recently announced and initial reports gave the impression that the collection would be unreleased bits of music that had remained in the vaults, but truth is much more exciting as the album will be all new compositions by the master.

The first taste of Lost Themes, “Vortex“, is streaming now and finds him flexing all the right muscles, doing exactly what makes his scores bump.

Set to come out January 2015, its a mighty fine reason to look forward to the new year.