Published Jan 30, 2015The idea of John Carpenter having some lost theme songs kicking around in the vault from the many films he made and didn't quite make seems very plausible, but according to the 67-year-old filmmaker and musician, there is nothing left over that he didn't use. For his debut album, he set out to make brand new music.
While he always made music to images in the past, Lost Themes is a purely aural experience that he says allowed him more freedom than ever. Working with his son Cody and composer Daniel Davies (I, Frankenstein), Carpenter may have had more gear and space to work with, but Lost Themes doesn't sound all that different from his previous film scores with Alan Howarth.
Still composing with a synth-dominant setup, Carpenter's songs can't escape the structure of the film score. It's almost impossible not to think of some ghoulish horror or austere post-apocalyptic backdrop as chimes rain down and power chords strike in "Fallen," any more than it is to try to envision anything but credit sequences rolling onscreen as the startling opener "Vortex" and the bleak, undulating finality of "Night" unfold.
When Carpenter teased opening track "Vortex" online with a montage of his old films he demonstrated — whether he meant to or not — that his music just naturally fits visuals. That said, it doesn't need to, and that's the beauty of Lost Themes: It's a brand new soundtrack that doesn't require a film. Carpenter knows exactly how to appease his fans, and with Lost Themes, he has given them just what they want. (Sacred Bones)