What Does John Carpenter’s ‘Lost Themes II’ Sound Like?

Andrew Hawkins

John Carpenter is a genius filmmaker and musician. The man is responsible for some of the most memorable stories and characters in genre movie history, and his soundtracks have become classics in the world of film scores. As a composer, very few are able to capture what John Carpenter can do with a synthesizer and a rock kit. Often imitated, never duplicated; the man is a god in his field.

Since his most recent film The Ward was released in 2010, Carpenter has released a full length LP called Lost Themes and a remix album featuring artists such as ohGr, Zola Jesus and JG Thirlwell. Both of these records feature original songs that have no attachment to any film project at this time. The music of Lost Themes is amazing and speaks for itself, and the remixes by other artists are inspired and definitely worth hearing.

The sequel to the original album has been eagerly anticipated by fans and is on the way in just a couple of weeks. Lost Themes II sees John Carpenter return to the art of composing music that falls right in line with what he’s best at. The opening track Distant Dream is a killer piece of electronic music fused with progressive rock and is an excellent sample of what the album has to offer.

Lost Themes II features a ton of recognizable elements from John Carpenter’s soundtracks to include films like Escape From New York, Big Trouble In Little China, Halloween, They Live and Assault on Precinct 13. The songs are chock full of rhythmic electronic bass and swelling synths. Artificial chorus swells and dark ambient soundscapes lay a foundation for sharp melodies. The music transitions from ominous and intense to emotional and fantastic smoothly and makes for a very visceral listening experience.

There are also a lot of influences thrown into the mix here to include nods to Goblin, Tangerine Dream and even Mike Oldfield. Between the grooving and distorted bass rhythms and almost tribal-like drum beats are sequences that would seem perfectly placed next to Tubular Bells and the music from Dario Argento’s Suspiria. At times the work here can shift from unsettling and abrasive to emotional and uplifting. The pacing throughout Lost Themes II is very engaging and songs like Distant Dream, Angel’s Asylum, Virtual Survivor and Last Sunrise make up the best of the lot.

The album is genuinely great on its own and is a must listen for any John Carpenter fan. Co-written and performed with Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies, Carpenter’s son and grandson, this record delves deep into the intense audio landscape that fans are all to familiar with. Listening to this can easily conjure images of Snake Plisken attempting to cross the 69th street bridge, or even Jack Burton facing off against Lo Pan and the three Storms. Lost Themes II is guaranteed to hit the spot for fans who have been waiting to see John Carpenter back in the director’s chair.

This year will be the first time John Carpenter has ever gone on tour with his music. Fans will be able to see live and in person, a show filled with amazing music and visuals created by the master filmmaker himself. Lost Themes and Lost Themes II will likely be featured on this tour, and it’s very likely that fans will be treated to excerpts from earlier work as well. If the energy of these shows is anything like the vibe of this newest record, it will be an event unlike anything we have ever seen.

Andrew Hawkins
Andrew Hawkins is a fan contributor at Fandom. He has been on the fan media scene since 2011. Arriving at Fandom by way of CHUD, GUY.com and Trouble.City; Andrew loves Sci-Fi Horror movies and supervillains. His dislikes include weak plotlines and sky lasers.
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