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John Carpenter – Lost Themes II
On Halloween 2014, the director and composer John Carpenter introduced the world to the next phase of his career with “Vortex,” the first single from Lost Themes, his first-ever solo record. In the months that followed, Lost Themes rightfully returned Carpenter to the forefront of the discussion of music and film’s crucial intersection. Carpenter’s foundational primacy and lasting influence on genre score work was both rediscovered and reaffirmed. Carpenter’s first recording of non-soundtrack work achieved numerous international milestones, including NPR First Listen; features in dozens of press outlets including the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Guardian; three magazine covers; and Top 200 chart success in the U.S. and the U.K. The album was also a milemarker in its label’s catalog being one of the best selling albums in Sacred Bones’ eight-year history. So widespread was the acclaim for Lost Themes, that the composer was moved to embark on something he had never before entertained – playing his music live in front of an audience.
2016 will host the first ever John Carpenter tour and in true Carpenter spirit, a sequel to Lost Themes: Lost Themes II. The follow-up brings quite a few noticeable changes to the process, which result in an even more cohesive record. Lost Themes’ cowriters Cody Carpenter (John’s son) and Daniel Davies (John’s godson) both returned. Cody was recently also heard as a composer for Showtime's Masters of Horror series (Cigarette Burns and Pro-Life), and NBC's Zoo. Davies was a composer for NBC’s Zoo, as well as the motion picture Condemned. All three brought in sketches and worked together in the same city, a luxury they weren’t afforded on the first Lost Themes. The result was a more focused effort, one that was completed on a compressed schedule — not unlike Carpenter’s classic, notoriously low-budget early films.
The musical world of Lost Themes II is also a wider one than that of its predecessor. More electric and acoustic guitar help flesh out the songs, still driven by Carpenter’s trademark minimal synth. This manifests itself brilliantly in songs like lead single “Distant Dream,” which hitches a familiar Carpenterian beat to an expressive drum performance and rides it to a thrilling conclusion. The eerie “Angel’s Asylum” lets an ethereal synth line command the first three-quarters of the song, before turning over the melody to an acoustic guitar, and “Virtual Survivor” delivers a blast of the sci-fi menace that characterized his great scores for films like Assault on Precinct 13 and They Live. Lost Themes II delivers eleven compelling new tracks for which fans can continue to score the movies in their minds.
Keep your eyes peeled for John and his co-writers to hit the road next year performing both lost and newly found themes, in addition to retrospective work from Mr. Carpenter’s multi-generational career. Lost Themes II will be released on April 1st, 2016 on Sacred Bones Records. Long live the Horror Master.