Since 2015 John Carpenter has been on a tear creatively. After releasing his Lost Themes with Sacred Bones Records Carpenter has kept the creative mojo running, releasing a classic single series, Lost Themes II, Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998, as well as scoring David Gordon Green’s Halloween. Carpenter even took the songs out and toured, with his son Cody Carpenter and Godson Daniel Davies backing him(they also are his go-to collaborators in the studio.) For a director that seemed all but burnt out and beaten down by a movie system that never truly appreciated just what he brought to not only the genre of horror, but filmmaking in general, this artistic re-awakening has been a rather beautiful thing to this longtime fan.
Besides working on the scores for Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies have been hard at work on non-film score work as well. Yes, the trio have been working on tunes for Lost Themes III. So as to satiate our Master of Horror appetites, the Carpenter crew along with Sacred Bones Records are throwing us fans a bone, if you will. They have just released the single “Skeleton”, with b-side “Unclean Spirit”. These tracks are bloody rare and waiting for you to sink your teeth right in.
Both tracks fall well into the Carpenter canon, touches of grand Gothic grandeur and shadowy melancholy. “Skeleton” is a slithering heavy electronic track. Propulsive electro rhythms are layerd over with tasteful piano, synth strings, and Davies’ buzzing guitar lines. I feel this is the most modern sound the Master of Horror and his crew have delved into yet. It has some modern Tangerine Dream vibes.
“Unclean Spirit” is the dark horse here. Pure Gothic dread that seems to have escaped a crypt from 1973. Part Hammer Horror, part classic Carpenter, and part Satanic incantations in a cobblestone castle in the British countryside. I’m absolutely floored by this. It’s darkly beautiful and drips with shadowy elegance like blood from an alter.
As I sit here and ponder what things are gonna look like in two weeks after the backyard barbecues, pool parties, and cramped, sweaty fireworks displays on Independence Day, 2020, I can at least ponder that future doom with some new John Carpenter music. And what gorgeous, dark new music it is.
John Carpenter’s “Skeleton” will be released as a 12 inch single with Sacred Bones Records on August 28th in both Bandcamp exclusive “Hemoglobin Red” and standard “Blood Red” preorder. You can listen to and buy the singles now over at Sacred Bones Bandcamp page.
I said now, so go do it.