John Carpenter has been responsible for much of the horror genre's most striking soundtrack work in movies he's both directed and scored, such as Dark Star (1974), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981), Christine (1983), Starman (1984), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987) and They Live (1988) to name a few.
The themes that drive them can be stripped to a few coldly repeating notes, take on the electrifying thunder of a rock concert, or submerge themselves into exotic, unholy miasmas. It's work that instantly floods his fans' musical memory with imagery of a menacing shape stalking a babysitter, a relentless wall of ghost-filled fog, lightning-fisted kung fu fighters, or a mirror holding the gateway to hell.
Composers before him had used minimalism to create terror, whether it was two piano notes for a killer shark or the stabbing strings of a mother-obsessed psychopath, but it was Halloween's brilliantly interwoven synth melodies that truly took genre scoring to a new, more sinister level.
In February 2015, John Carpenter released his first solo record of non-soundtrack music, Lost Themes, on Sacred Bones Records, to overwhelming critical success. Recorded with his son Cody Carpenter, and his godson Daniel Davies, John Carpenter proved that not only could he perfectly score his own films - he could also score the movies in your mind. Lost Themes debuted on both the US and UK top 100 charts and garnered extensive and glowing coverage in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Times (UK), Uncut, The Wire, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, Pitchfork, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Artforum, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and countless other music, horror and lifestyle magazines.