I got home around midnight last night from my day job and like a kid on their birthday, I tore into my copy of John Carpenter’s Lost Themes. The cover already invoking a horror vibe, I read the linear notes as I usually do with projects like these. The notes written by Daniel Schweiger, immediately remind me of the fifteen films Carpenter has both directed and composed the music for. He brought up the visuals from films like Big Trouble Little China, Halloween, and The Fog. This reminder got me excited as I put the needle to the record thinking of all the monsters, good guys, and anti-heroes Carpenter has given us over the years. And then I read “Lost Themes asks Carpenter acolytes to visualize their own nightmares.” And with a cold beer in my hand I let Lost Themes paint a picture in my dark apartment.
Ultimately, that is what Carpenter wants us the listeners to do. To forget his past catalog, to forget any visual cues from his films, and to let his music to get our imaginations going. Its a bit tough the first time around to not imagine an evil car chasing after you with Vortex or to imagine Snake Plissken trying to escape some alien infested space station filled with cybernetic dinosaurs (I might have an over active imagination). Ultimately the story and visuals are up to you, and that is what is great about this album is that it is fun. Any fan of Carpenter’s work or 70’s/80’s synthesizer rock will enjoy this album. It invokes much from his catalog and takes inspiration from synth-based composers like Goblin with the help of Cody Carpenter (the band Ludrium) and Daniel Davis (I, Frankenstein).
Between the artwork and the single word titles for each track this task is made easier to create our own imagery. This obviously would have been harder if he made tracks entitled Snake Plissken Battles Through Space to Stop the Killer Cybernetic Dinosaurs From Kidnapping the Vice President of Earth (seriously, how isn’t this a movie already?) If I were to compare Lost Themes to any time period of Carpenter’s score catalog, I find it is closer to resembling the scores of They Live and Escape From New York than say Halloween or Assault on Precinct 13. But even when the listener isn’t trying to imagine their own story line the album sounds just as great as his classic scores.
Carpenter wants us to exercise our imagination and helps us with the task by creating his best music since the 1980’s (although I still love the score to Into The Mouth Of Madness). Read any review on the album and you will see how much of a diverse the imagery that is invoked by this hypnotic and atmospheric piece. John Carpenter has proven again that his is a master story teller.
*10. Night (Zola Jesus and Dean Hurley Remix)
*11. Wraith (ohGr Remix)
*12. Vortex (Silent Servant Remix)
*13. Fallen (Blanck Mass Remix)
*14. Abyss (JG Thirlwell Remix)
*15. Fallen (Bill Kouligas Remix)
*Remixes are download only. The LP version does come with a download card
Buy it here:
Or your local record store!