Album review: John Carpenter – “Lost Themes”

Film director John Carpenter (“Halloween”, “Escape From New York”, “The Thing”) is renowned for writing the music to  many of his own movies. That haunting odd-timed theme to “Halloween”? That’s his. The cool Snake Plissken theme for “Escape From New-York”? That’s his too. I’ve always been a huge fan of his music (and his movies), and I must admit it has had a huge influence on my own early music writings.

Despite that, I almost skipped his “Lost Themes” album that was released last month. An album of “film themes not tied to any film” seemed like a dubious experiment at best. But boy am I glad I changed my mind!

The themes on this album all bear the famous John Carpenter musical trademarks (with contributions from his son Cody and composer Daniel Davies): sparse instrumentation, vintage synth sounds, throbbing obstinatos, simple melodies and spooky atmosphere. It’s a lot of fun to just close your eyes and try to imagine the movie that could exist with these tracks (and the one word titles leave much to the imagination). It sounds like vintage Carpenter, but with updated sonics.

Your enjoyment of this album will of course depend on your fondness for his quirky musical voice, but if you’re a fan, go for it. It’s really cool. The digital version offers 6 remixes that I thought failed to provide any interesting insights to the music, but if someone finds the originals too vintage, they might appreciate those better.

[star rating=”8″ max=”10″]






Jean-Frederic Vachon
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