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John Carpenter

Lost Themes II

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American horror movie director John Carpenter (Christine, The Thing, the "Halloween" franchise) featured his own great minimalist and heavily synthesized songs in his films. As a director, he's a bit of a nerd's nerd. In 2014, a small independent label called Sacred Bones approached Carpenter about unreleased soundtrack material he'd been cranking out in his basement for years. What resulted was 2015's Lost Themes, which for me was a complete revelation.

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Part of Carpenter's appeal is that he sounds like he hasn't really updated any software since the days when MIDI controllers were just coming out and "Magnum P.I." and "Heart to Heart" were making their original runs. Moreover, his riffs are simple, memorable and timeless. Part of what's so special about a John Carpenter tune is that it shows just how important music is in films. The director is known for his suspense, and his music sets the moods of his film arguably more than any other elements. In fact, Carpenter's thrift and lacking budgets are what led to writing and performing his own movie scores. Rather than hindering anything, his work translated to some of the most timeless soundtrack music that's been recorded. Lost Themes II picks up where Lost Themes left off, and it has an immediately cinematic quality. It's both pleasantly dated and also has melodies that could fit in whatever Carpenter decides to do in 2025. I'm completely sold.

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