Glint­ing and chill­ing like a blade

John Car­pen­ter Oct 19, Bar­row­lands, Glas­gow

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Culture - MU­SIC by Na­dine McBay

There it is – a chord so omi­nous, so thick with doom, that a twinge of anx­i­ety gnaws at the stom­ach; tiny beads of sweat form on the brow. But re­mem­ber: it’s only a movie – or, more to the point, it’s only a movie sound­track. This is The Shape Re­turns, a fresh re­work­ing of Hal­loween’s main theme. It was the first track to be re­leased from John Car­pen­ter’s sound­track to David Gor­don Green’s new film of the same name.

Cleaner and sharper than the orig­i­nal, the mu­sic glints and chills like a blade. You’ll hear it your­self at the Bar­row­lands later this week when Car­pen­ter per­forms a rare live show – his first ever date in Glas­gow.

This is why John Car­pen­ter is the le­gend he is; he has the abil­ity to hi­jack a lis­tener’s emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence. Of course, Car­pen­ter doesn’t just do this with mu­sic; as the di­rec­tor of the likes of Es­cape From New York, As­sault On Precinct 13, Big Trou­ble In Lit­tle China and They Live, he’s one of the most mem­o­rable film­mak­ers in mod­ern genre cin­ema. Mu­si­cally, his in­flu­ence is un­quan­tifi­able, with shards of his at­mo­spheric min­i­mal­ism and creepy disco be­ing heard across gen­er­a­tions of

artists from dance and elec­tron­ica to post-rock and metal. With its spi­ralling, mad­den­ing 5/4 piano re­frain, sev­eral ver­sions of Car­pen­ter’s theme to his 1978 hor­ror clas­sic serve as the sound­track to Green’s film. It sees Jamie Lee Cur­tis re­turn to the role of Lau­rie Strode, the young woman who four decades ago nar­rowly es­caped be­ing mur­dered by Michael My­ers – here played by orig­i­nal “boogey­man”, Nick Cas­tle.

Green’s di­rect se­quel ig­nores the last nine films in the fran­chise, which is largely for the best. Though hardly a teenager any more, Strode has been wait­ing 40 years for My­ers to es­cape. It’s no dread­ful clanger, with crit­ics say­ing that though Green’s film lacks the orig­i­nal’s el­e­gance, in ty­ing up the ends of Car­pen­ter’s mythol­ogy and giv­ing au­di­ences the fi­nal con­fronta­tion they sus­pected they might never see, it should go down well with fans.

It’s Car­pen­ter’s first in­volve­ment with the fran­chise since 1982’s Hal­loween III, and saw him serv­ing as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, cre­ative con­sul­tant and sound­track com­poser. The sound­track is re­leased on Fri­day – the same day the film is re­leased and Car­pen­ter plays his de­but Glas­gow show at the age of 70.

He was a late-starter to the stu­dio al­bum, re­leas­ing his first, Lost Themes, in 2015. The roots of that record went back to see­ing For­bid­den Planet in the 1950s as a young boy. Shot in Cine­mas­cope, the space odyssey’s sound­track was com­pletely elec­tronic. “The way the sounds and im­ages were mar­ried to­gether, I can­not tell you how pro­found that was,” Car­pen­ter told an in­ter­viewer.

Re­leased on hip Brook­lyn la­bel Sa­cred Bones, Lost Themes was a col­lec­tion of sound­tracks to films and im­ages still locked in Car­pen­ter’s imag­i­na­tion.

He col­lab­o­rated on that record, like its 2016 fol­low-up, with his son Cody Car­pen­ter and god­son Daniel Davies. The trio col­lab­o­rated again on last year’s An­thol­ogy: Movie Themes and on this re­booted Hal­loween sound­track. On this tour, they are joined by John Spiker on bass, John Konesky on gui­tar and Scott Seiver on drums. “I had a lot of free­dom in cre­at­ing the score and get­ting into the di­rec­tor’s head,” says Car­pen­ter. “I was proud to serve David Gor­don Green’s vi­sion. Film mu­sic is re­ally dif­fer­ent be­cause it’s cou­pled with an im­age, which is what gives it its power.”

John Car­pen­ter, cen­tre, with son Cody Car­pen­ter and god­son Daniel Davies col­lab­o­rated on the re­booted Hal­loween sound­track

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