The Way of Darkness: A Tribute to John Carpenter
John Carpenter – not only an influential filmmaker but a hugely influential musician. In fact, in the horror genre it’s really him on the top of a synth-mountain. With Tangerine Dream perhaps scaling the final peak just behind eh…
And Carpenter’s been having a great run as musician again recently – actually forming a band, his son assisting him with the development of new music and building a show to tour that features the ‘hits’ from the old scores and the new music he’s been making which is designed to sound like old film cues (his Lost Themes series now totalling three volumes).
So the timing is great for this tribute album which wastes no time in bringing out the big guns of its own, opening track a version of Halloween by no less than Claudio Simonetti, film score composer himself and as a member of the band Goblin.
We move around in Carpenter’s chronology but the mood is nicely built, Matthew Ghost Story from The Fog is next, performed here by Claus Larsen’s EDM/industrial outfit, Leæther Strip. The Fog’s theme takes from Halloween and builds on it, so to have them in this order makes perfect sense. And so it continues. Christine (Simulakrum Lab) and Night – from Lost Themes (performed here by Mythical Vigilante) are up next. Night sounding so ready to mingle with this herd, to be heard as one of the rightful progeny – and then we go back to Halloween for arguably its most famous piece, Laurie’s Theme. The piano ostinato is here played by Ketvector more in the style of its appearance in Halloween II, the synth lines oozing out from under the keys.
Code Elektro rides the banging groove of Assault on Precinct 13 for all its worth – big 80s drum-sounds and vamping keyboards. Motion Kapture goes proggy-as neo-classical for The Fog. And rightly. Keith McCoy has fun with Chariots of Pumpkins, even referencing the annoyingly catching ad-jingle motif from Halloween III ahead of Tibia’s rendition of The Thing. All creeping doom and eerie loveliness.
And then we bookend with Claudio Simonetti’s 1997 Fuga da New York (Escape From New York).
Look, it’s so Carpenter that if you’re arriving at this with only the films to go on you might think these are close enough to the originals. But if you’d done the listening you’ll spot these as loving tributes. They’re different but not so different. No one is here to radically rework them. This is about hitching the wagon. Raising the flag. Mixing the metaphor. And all the while bowing down to the horror soundtrack master.