One of America’s greatest living directors and electronic music innovator, John Carpenter has produced images and sounds that are indelibly etched in my brain. Even so, I’ve probably collectively watched the films of John Carpenter more than any other single director. I own all the classics, have watched all the extras, have listened to and read multiple interviews, and I still can’t help but sit engrossed whenever I stumble past them on TV. I re-watch multiple Carpenter films at least once a year and never tire of them. If someone I know hasn’t seen them… oh shit, it’s on: John Carpenter marathon! Seriously, how can you deny the genius of Assault On Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, and They Live, not to mention the less recognized, yet still fantastic, Dark Star, Christine and In The Mouth Of Madness? Not liking John Carpenter films = deal breaker, pure and simple.
It’s also gratifying to see that Carpenter is finally receiving his due as a composer. His scores, often in collaboration with Alan Howarth, are not only perfectly tailored to his visuals, but are independently worthy and powerful pieces of music (although I will admit that I do immediately visualize his worlds when I hear any music that reminds me of his style, which is, in fact, a massive bonus). His Halloween theme is as recognizable as Bernard Herrmann’s score, during the shower scene in Psycho, if not more so. His use of synthesizer was, and is, wildly influential in the electronic music scene and no less of a Hip-Hop pioneer than Afrika Bambaataa acknowledged the influence when using the End Theme of Assault On Precinct 13 as the source for “Bambaataa’s Theme”. Now, For the first time in his career, Carpenter has set out to create music without the constraint of visual accompaniment or it’s attendant time schedule, and will be releasing his first non-soundtrack album, Lost Themes, in less than one month. Based on the two currently released tracks, it will be the perfect companion for the rest of your Carpenter collection.
clearly influenced by the sound of the Spaghetti Western
An anomaly in the Carpenter cannon, a vocal theme
And the new cuts…
and both Assault on Precinct 13 and Big Trouble In Little China are streaming on youtube, and AMC had Dark Star, for the moment
and I had to include THE fight