John Carpenter: Lost Themes

The horror director’s first non-soundtrack release ‘drips pulsing dread’.

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The legendary director of a raft of horror and sci-fi staples such as Halloween, Escape From New York, The Thing and Assault On Precinct 13, John Carpenter was also the brains behind their dark, atmospheric soundtracks.

He’s always worked predominantly with synthesisers, and his scores also found favour with electronic music fans. Lost Themes sits nicely alongside much of his earlier work, but it is in fact his first release not tied to a movie. As a result, the album lacks the coherence of his best film scores, but for lovers of old school electronica, there’s a lot to like. Carpenter’s single self-imposed criteria was to “make it moody” and he’s certainly done that. From the opening track Vortex – in cinematic terms a tense stand-off – to the closing Night (Carpenter’s video for this track is well worth a look), Lost Themes simply drips pulsing dread. You’ll find yourself running little flicks in your mind’s eye, but maybe skip Domain as it admittedly comes across like a dodgy Tangerine Dream outtake. Although an all-digital recording – analogue would have been more appropriate – when no less than Jean-Michel Jarre posts praise on social media, you know you’ve done something right.