John Carpenter – Lost Themes

Album Review by Dave Kerr | 28 Jan 2015
Album title: Lost Themes
Artist: John Carpenter
Label: Sacred Bones
Release date: 2 Feb

Semi-retired from the film industry, Hollywood’s loss becomes your record collection’s gain as The Master of Horror – long considered a profound influence in the realm of synthesised music – brings a new bogeyman to life in stereo.

Dating all the way back to his low budget 1974 debut Dark Star, Carpenter scored the films he directed mostly out of economic necessity, striking upon a knack for minimal, pulsating motifs equipped for the very specific purpose of evoking a heightened state of dread and suspense in his audience. Recorded in collaboration with son Cody and godson Daniel Davies, the endeavour of a lifetime becomes a family affair on Lost Themes.

In a series of improvised sequences that morph from doomy harbingers (Abyss) into Vangelis-like dreamscapes (Wraith), the trio manipulate the foreboding aesthetics of those late 20th-century thrillers rather than find themselves enslaved by them. The mercurial likes of Obsidian – a pulse-quickening chase down a darkened hall – make for the ultimate in late night headphone experiences, whichever decade you’re in. If Carpenter has come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, then surely he’s all out of bubblegum.