New John Carpenter music? Hell yeah!
Last year John Carpenter released Lost Themes , his first full album of original music (which I reviewed here). After spending a year or so with it, I can honestly say it was probably the best album I picked up last year. It was everything I love about John Carpenter music, pulsing synth’s, mixed with rock guitars, and drums, but he was able to draw out the songs longer and expand things from what you would normally get from his soundtrack stuff. It’s an amazing album. So of course I was beyond stoked to hear he was following it up with a sequel and a tour. The tour I probably won’t get to, but the album is and has been in my ear-holes a lot lately.
Lost Themes II is leaves no doubt that this is a Carpenter album, but it’s a tighter album than the first one. Carpenter, along with his son and godson, craft something that feels much more like a great, dynamic band playing together. It’s everything I dug about the first album, but leaner, meaner, and more focused. Do I like it more? I’m not sure. I need to spend more time with it. Is it a good album? It’s fantastic.
John Carpenter, while often discussed as a filmmaker, and his scores do come up in those conversations, is not as discussed as much as he should be for what he most certainly is, one of the most influential and significant electronic musicians and composers of the 20th century. Period. His minimalist style cuts to the absolute core of the atmosphere of what he wants to convey. Very few people can do as much with as little as Carpenter, even when he expands things a bit, it is all in service of that feeling.
What works so brilliantly about this album, and the previous album, is that with the songs being originals, you aren’t tied to the movies they are from. You are free to be be carried along in your mind in the hands of a master. Carpenter is a storyteller, not just a filmmaker. And he is so good at what he does, he can cut the visuals out entirely, while still creating full scenes, telling stories, and leading the listener to fill in the pieces themselves. If that isn’t some kind of genius, I don’t know what is.
Perhaps I’m not the most objective person to review his music. Carpenter has been a huge influence on me. As my steadily expanding garage studio/synth cave can attest. (Or for that matter, some of the stuff on my SoundCloud)
Lost Themes II is available from Sacred Bones Records, on Bandcamp and can be also be streamed via Spotify or Google Play or however you want to listen.