Review: John Carpenter


John Carpenter’s LOST THEMES REMIXED album reviewed

It’s no secret that this writer (and your newly minted editor) is a fiend for electronic-based film soundtracks and, of course, one cannot be a fan of such things without worshiping at the shrine of writer, director, horror film legend and, yes, composer John Carpenter.

It is with the latter credit that Carpenter recently resurrected his career with the stunning solo album of freshly created dark electro LOST THEMES, released via the Sacred Bones label earlier this year to great attention and acclaim (I even put John and the disc on the cover in FANGORIA #340) as well as incredibly healthy sales. Considering the last Carpenter soundtrack release was the brilliant and undervalued heavy metal meltdown score for his equally unfairly ignored 2001 feature GHOSTS OF MARS, fans were thrilled to get a new blast of his signature throbbing, atmospheric sound (goosed by the work of his son Cody and godson Daniel Davies) and almost instantly, requests for both more non-movie soundtrack based work from the genre icon became common.

And while it’s not clear whether or not Carpenter (who in recent years has been anything but creatively prolific) will ever release another collection of original material, Sacred Bones has now revisited the disc with their impending LOST THEMES REMIXED, a deft re-imagining of the otherwise immaculate source materials as post-apocalyptic industrial noise anthems. Amassing a series of artists both contemporary and iconic, LOST THEMES REMIXED is revisionist but respectful and an essential sidebar to the immaculate original album. Some of these tracks were included in the deluxe edition of LOST THEMES but REMIXED is the first time they have been available on vinyl (the album will also be released on CD).

Let’s take a look at the album, track by track:

PURGATORY (Prurient Remix): A nightmarish way to open an album; Prurient’s PURGATORY strips down the elegant original and renders it a smoldering, bloody incinerator with power tool sounds and scraping metal. Unpleasant and epic.

NIGHT (Zola Jesus & Dean Hurley Remix): The minimalist original gets a steady 4/4 industrial beat pulse placed over it and slowly weaves in a Lana Del Rey-esque vocal wash. Said vocal (complete with enigmatic lyrics) take a few seconds to get used to, but they’re ultimately rather beautiful. In many respects, this is the most daring remix on the disc.

WRAITH (ohGr Remix): Legendary electro musician and Skinny Puppy frontman Ogre and his band OhGr treat WRAITH to a spastic and typically weird hard-drive scissoring, resulting in this springy, playfully evil remix. Ogre’s acid-gargled vocals are buried in the mix, while Mark Walk hacks the rhythm around like an epileptic with a razor blade.

VORTEX (Silent Servant Remix): Indeed, LOST THEMES opener and lead track VORTEX is so perfect, it hurts to hear it tampered with. But Silent Servant make it interesting, sucking the mix into a vacuum leaving only a tinny beat and a Jan Hammer-esque analog synth pulse.

VORTEX (Uniform Remix): A standard techno wash that compliments not obscures Carpenter’s arrangement. This is a very sexy and appropriately retro remix that may be the best track on the album. It’s certainly the one closest to Carpenter’s vision.

FALLEN (Blanck Mass Remix): Blanck Mass give FALLEN a harder, slinkier, percussion-based edge that is minimalist and elegant.

ABYSS (JG Thirwell Remix): This rethink of ABYSS is respectful of its source, spacey and very Tangerine Dream-ish, appropriate considering JC is an unapologetic fan of the famous German electro-soundtrack outfit.

FALLEN (Bill Kouligas Remix): As dreamy as the album opener is nightmarish, this strange and beautiful track ends the party with not a bang but rather with the sound of a system crash; a slow, almost sad surrendering to death.

Sacred Bones will release LOST THEMES REMIXED on October 16th, 2015, just in time for Halloween. There’s even been some gentle rumors that JC may do a small tour as well at some point. We won’t hold our breath but…one can dream, no?

Visit the official Sacred Bones website for more information and preview the LOST THEMES REMIXED opening track PURGATORY by Prurient below…



Marvel and DC