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Film Soundtracks - Released October 20, 2017 | Sacred Bones Records

If you like John Carpenter as a director, you’ll like him as a composer! The horror and action films expert belongs in fact to these directors that compose the music of their own movies, like Charlie Chaplin or Clint Eastwood. Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 is a somewhat peculiar compilation in that he has recorded again for the occasion his most famous themes. In order to do this, Carpenter surrounded himself with collaborators he had worked with on his two solo albums (Lost Themes and Lost Themes II): Daniel Davies (the son of Dave Davies from the Kinks!) and Cody Carpenter (his son). The compilation opens with In The Mouth Of Madness, whose guitar riff is now performed by Daniel Davies (in the 1994 soundtrack, it was performed by his father). The track reminisces of the atmosphere from Metallica’s Enter Sandman, whose lyrics evoke childhood nightmares. This is one of the director’s favorite songs, which is not surprising as his most famous movie (Halloween) tells the story of a serial killer obsessed with the crime he committed as a child. The captivating and minimalist theme of the latter movie has of course a place of honor in this anthology, in an interpretation rather close to the original. You’ll also find many other pieces taken from Carpenter 70s/80s era, in particular the disturbing and melancholic piano from The Fog or the heavy synthesizers from Assault on Precinct 13. But sometimes John Carpenter takes his composer hat off, and he had the good idea to include The Thing, when this soundtrack was composed by the Italian maestro Ennio Morricone. This rather complete overview of Carpenter’s musical and cinematographic career shows both his love of synthesizers (which he uses as much for repetitive melodies as for distressing ambience tracks), but also of a rather heavy rock not devoid of lyricism. © NM/Qobuz

Electronic/Dance - Released April 15, 2016 | Sacred Bones Records

Though his filmmaking career slowed in the 2000s and 2010s, John Carpenter's influence as a composer only grew. Along with Tangerine Dream, his immediately recognizable sound -- full of pulsing synths and ever-ratcheting tension -- inspired a new generation of acts like Zombi, Majeure, Umberto, Espectrostatic, and Geoff Barrow's Drokk project, among many others, so the timing couldn't have been more perfect for Carpenter to release new music when Lost Themes arrived. Despite that title, these songs aren't attached to any films; instead, they offer a multiplex worth of possibilities for listeners to soundtrack their lives. As Carpenter gives fans exactly what they want -- those ominous synth arpeggios appear less than a minute into the opening track, "Vortex" -- he also engages them on a slightly different level, allowing them to put their imagery and stories to his music for the first time. Soundtrack geeks will also enjoy connecting Lost Themes to his previous work: the power chords that slash through the album call to mind his later, guitar-oriented scores like Vampires, and the intricate keyboard counterpoint that begins "Mystery" shares more than a little of Halloween's sparkling menace. However, it's not necessary to be a Carpenter expert to enjoy "Domain"'s brassy duel between danger and victory. Throughout Lost Themes, Carpenter -- aided by his son Cody and godson Daniel Davies -- uses a more-is-more approach that sets him apart from his followers, most of whom focus on tastefully taut atmospheres. The fun he has expanding his music is almost palpable, particularly on the eight-minute "Obsidian," which spans moments of action, horror, discovery, and victory in its suite-like sweep (it's also a synth lover's dream, with rippling arpeggios, crystalline pads, and a tone that sounds like flowing water). Similarly, the dogpile of synths that closes "Purgatory" is both a throwback and oddly timeless. A big part of Lost Themes' brilliance lies in Carpenter's refusal to update his aesthetic -- the more '80s it is, the more vital it sounds. As he leaps from one thrill to the next, he evokes his past without rehashing it, delivering a complete and immensely satisfying portrait of his music along the way. ~ Heather Phares

Alternative & Indie - Released October 31, 2014 | Sacred Bones Records


Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2001 | Varese Sarabande


Film Soundtracks - Released August 22, 2017 | Sacred Bones Records


Film Soundtracks - Released June 17, 2016 | Sacred Bones Records


Alternative & Indie - Released February 3, 2015 | Sacred Bones Records


Alternative & Indie - Released October 16, 2015 | Sacred Bones Records

When John Carpenter issued his first non-score album, Lost Themes, it felt like another acknowledgment of just how influential his music had been on generations of electronic artists. Some of those performers return the favor on this remix collection, which takes the album's tracks in several different directions. Lost Themes Remixed is bookended by abstract interpretations courtesy of Prurient, whose noise-damaged reworking of "Purgatory" evokes a netherworld even more vividly than the original thanks to the distortion charring its spectral tones, and Bill Kouligas, who delivers a simmering take on "Fallen." Other artists hew more closely to the traditional purpose of a remix: to make a song more danceable. ohGr adds an industrial groove to "Wraith," while Silent Servant's version of "Vortex" maintains an atmospheric, soundtrack-like vibe even as it emphasizes beats. Carpenter's Sacred Bones labelmates contribute some of the more attention-getting remixes, with Zola Jesus and Dean Hurley transforming "Night" into an inspired collaboration that balances Nika's sweeping vocals and Carpenter's signature keyboard arpeggios perfectly. Meanwhile, Blanck Mass' Benjamin John Power builds on the anthemic "Fallen" with his own shock-and-awe tactics. However, the brightest highlight belongs to J.G. Thirlwell, whose remix of the Lost Themes standout "Abyss" is even more gloriously over the top than the original, incorporating orchestral thrills with maverick creativity that echoes Carpenter's own genre-defying approach. ~ Heather Phares

Film Soundtracks - Released September 13, 2017 | Sacred Bones Records


Alternative & Indie - Released September 1, 2017 | Acid Bird


Alternative & Indie - Released August 18, 2017 | Acid Bird


Soundtracks - Released October 16, 2012 | Silva Screen Records


Electronic/Dance - Released March 9, 2016 | Sacred Bones Records


Electronic/Dance - Released February 17, 2016 | Sacred Bones Records

Pop - Released November 28, 2008 | ZYX Music

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