Live at Hollywood Theater
Bsx Records Inc
Alan Howarth is a composer and sound engineer – best known for his work with John Carpenter (as well as several volumes of the Halloween films he has composed and/or performed aspects of the score for Christine, Prince of Darkness, Escape From New York, They Live and Big Trouble In Little China). He’s also composed for TV and film outside and away from his work with Carpenter and has been part of the sound design team for many blockbuster movies (Star Trek and Back To The Future franchises, Hunt For Red October, Total Recall etc).
Over the last decade he’s taken the show on the road, performing parts from the films he’s scored with accompanying images from the movies.
This live recording – featuring Howarth’s guitar, MIDI controller, keys and laptop – was recorded in 2014 and first released as a vinyl exclusive in 2018. It’s now available on CD and via streaming platforms.
Halloween looks large of course with pieces from the first four films in the franchise, including a suite of Carpenter’s music from the original movie and key moments from Halloween II (Haddonfield Streets) and the stand-alone oddity that is Halloween III (Chariots of Pumpkins). Arguably the music was the finest aspect of that film.
We start with a Pink Floyd-ian feel before moving towards Jean-Michel Jarre. And of course it’s very 80s-sounding since that’s where the majority of this music comes from. Certainly Wing Wong White Tiger (Big Trouble In Little China) and Coming To LA (They Live) have classic 80s film score feels.
Yes, Howarth will play the main titles and sometimes that’s the best thing to do (Escape From New York) but this is deep dive stuff – with pieces like Christine Attacks (Christine) and Bank Robbery (Escape From NY) being the firm fan favourites.
I grew up with this music. I still listen to it. I can’t make much of a case for it if you’d unfamiliar or uninterested in the movies that it was made to accompany, but I like to think that these cues stand on their own, away from the images, and that this works as an instrumental album of familiar, sometimes haunting motifs. I love it. But I’m an easy sucker for this sort of thing. Nice to have this now and to be able to hear it. Howarth’s work is seemingly underrated in the world of recent film composition.
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