You have to wonder why it took John Carpenter so long to get round to doing this. With his soundtracks revered as much as the films he made them for, and recent re-releases from Death Waltz Records (I got the orange vinyl Escape From New York and the marbled edition of The Fog) his impact and influence has possibly never been greater.
The record he's put out, in collaboration with his son Cody and godson Daniel Davies, displays all the hallmarks of a classic Carpenter soundtrack, but with the benefit of today's modern equipment and recording standards. To be honest, I think a lot of people would've been happy if he'd just gone into the studio and re-recorded some of his 'greatest hits' so we could hear them in a better quality, nut I think it's great to have some new output from him, even if there's no film to go with it.
I've read that these tracks grew out of jam sessions between John and Cody, but you wouldn't know that to listen to them. Some, like opener 'Vortex', are crisp, focused and recognisably Carpenter while the sprawling tracks like 'Obsidian' and 'Domain' go to a number of different places and are almost like mini soundtracks in themselves.
The album as a whole is brilliantly put together so that it doesn't feel like a collection of pieces but instead actually works like a soundtrack to a film he never got round to releasing - the tension ebbs and flows, the moods change subtly and the whole thing comes together in a way that encourages you to picture the scenes in your head. You might argue that at 67 he's got no business making a record at all, but which would you rather have - some 20 year-old in his bedroom making second rate pastiches of his work, or something new from the master himself?
It's worth noting that when I downloaded the mp3 files that came with my vinyl copy there were six bonus remixes from the likes of Zola Jesus and Blanck Mass on top of the nine tracks - I hadn't seen this mentioned anywhere so it was a nice surprise!
- Night (Zola Jesus and Dean Hurley Remix)
- Wraith (ohGr Remix)
- Vortex (Silent Servant Remix)
- Fallen (Blanck Mass Remix)
- Abyss (JG Thirlwell Remix)
- Fallen (Bill Kouligas Remix)
PS I'd love to remix some of these tracks myself, so if any of you know Mr Carpenter can you get him to throw the stems my way?