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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Nov 16th, 2017

John Carpenter: Anthology (Movie Themes 1974-1998)

John Carpenter
Anthology (Movie Themes 1974-1998)
(Sacred Bones Records)

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You might just be a fan of John Carpenter’s movies (Halloween, Escape From New York, Starman, and Big Trouble In Little China to name a few). But do you know that the director writes and performs the music for his films as well? This anthology delivers 13 pieces of music from 13 different Carpenter films, both composed and played by Carpenter himself.

It opens with the heavy guitar-riff-led “In The Mouth of Madness” (one of the few here led by electric guitar). Then we roll through the early work of obviously limited drum machines and early synth ability on, “Assault On Precinct 13,” and even get the overly-spooky, obviously early composing work from his first film, Dark Star.

Mike Oldfield — (“Tubular Bells (Theme from The Exorcist)”) — like piano/key layers inform “The Fog.” If you are going to ‘steal’ from someone why not Oldfield?

“Santiago (Vampires)” has got the usual sweeping slow Carpenter synths, but with a real sadness to the pace, while the snap/plod of “Escape From New York,” and that all-too-recognizable iconic few note arpeggio from “Halloween,” both send chills up the spine.

The harmonica funk sounding “They Live,” is a nice addition here, as is the sweet synth/ string laden theme from Starman, the only movie represented on the anthology that is not a thriller, sci-fi, crime or horror film.

This is a great collection from a man who has not only been making wonderful movies across many genres for decades, but also creates the music for them.

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John Carpenter: Anthology (Movie Themes 1974-1998)