Having directed, produced, written, and scored nearly 40 beloved B-movies, including “The Thing” and “Escape from New York,” prolific quadruple-threat John Carpenter has easily established himself as one of Hollywood’s hardest-working men. It should come as no surprise, then, that at the ripe age of 66 the virtuoso continues to expand his horizons. In February, Carpenter will release his hotly anticipated debut album, “Lost Themes,” a collection of the director’s material from undeveloped films and the his own studio dabblings. The album’s opener and lead single, “Vortex,” is a foreboding jaunt that fits perfectly with Carpenter’s esteemed repertoire.
Weaving punctuated, haunting chords into layers of percolating synthesizers, the track is quintessentially Carpenter: brooding, atmospheric, and completely exhilarating. Like the composer’s other thematic scores, “Vortex” is purely instrumental. However, its combination of a steady crescendo, ominous piano trudge, and tendency to unsettle conveys a message just as well as lyrics would, proving that Carpenter’s innate storytelling abilities extend past a purely visual medium.
When discussing his upcoming album, Carpenter noted that “it can be both great and bad to score over images.... Here there were no pressures.” Because Carpenter’s previous musical work is so iconic, listeners can’t help but associate his songs with their respective films—the first few seconds of the “Halloween” theme immediately conjure up images of a knife-wielding, unyielding Michael Myers, for example. But the inherent appeal of “Vortex,” and presumably “Lost Themes” as a whole, is that there are no visual constraints. Whether it’s a dark and stormy night or a post-apocalyptic nightmare, Carpenter’s latest single provides his audience with the freedom to dream up its own adventure.
“Lost Themes” is out Feb. 3 via Sacred Bones.
"In Harvard, But Not Of It"Though Du Bois was one of Harvard University’s most dedicated advocates and most esteemed graduates, Harvard never quite welcomed him into the fold.
Harvard Square Theater Purchased for $6.5 Million by DeveloperThe AMC Harvard Square Theater, which closed its doors on July 8, has been purchased by Cambridge real estate firm Carpenter & Company, Inc. for $6.5 million.
Sound Installation for Cultural TunesThose walking by the Carpenter Center Thursday afternoon might have heard what sounded like oriental tunes coming from the roof of the building.
A Bauhaus Return to the Carpenter CenterVisual and environment studies faculty members Katarina Burin and Amie Siegel chanced upon a collection of old slides of the home of Walter Gropius, a Bauhaus architect who resided in Lincoln, MA. The slides were recently presented to an audience at the Carpenter Center as a timely return of Bauhaus to the building.
Harvard Today: Oct. 31, 2013