Over the past year, renowned director, screenwriter, producer, editor and composer John Carpenter has become a mainstay artist on this site, after the critically and commercially successful release of his first album of non-film score material Lost Themes. Collaborating with his son Cody Carpenter and his godson Daniel Davies, Carpenter’s 2015 release confirmed how powerfully influential and forward-thinking his sound and aesthetic have been as a number of contemporary artists including Red Traces, Umberto and a long list of others have sounds that are deeply indebted to Carpenter.
Interestingly, during that same period in which Carpenter became a JOVM mainstay, he has managed to be rather prolific: Carpenter closed out last year with the release of Lost Themes Remixed, an album that featured remixes from the likes of Zola Jesus, Silent Servant, Foetus‘ JG Thirwell, Skinny Puppy‘s ohGr, PAN Records‘ Bill Kouligas, and Uniform. And earlier this year, the famed director released Lost Themes‘ highly-anticipated sequel and follow up, Lost Themes II. The material on Lost Themes II is inspired by a change in the collaborative trio’s writing process that had Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies and the acclaimed producer and director writing, working, revising and recording in the same studio at the same time, and the result was much more nuanced yet muscular compositions that incorporated acoustic guitar, electric guitar and live drumming.
Lost Themes II‘s latest single “Utopian Facade,” is a moodily atmospheric and cinematic composition consisting of throbbing and insistent bass, cascading layers of shimmering synths, and a staccato, string-based sample in what may arguably be Lost Themes II‘s most haunting and eeriest single while nodding at Carpenter’s imitable and familiar sound.
Produced and directed by Gavin Hignight and Ben Verhulst, the recently released video for “Utopian Facade,” is the story of an android’s nightmare, hidden in dark, murky forests, set in an uneasy yet relatively near future that feels and looks dimly familiar. As Hignight explains in press notes “We were instantly haunted upon hearing ‘Utopian Façade’. It conjured images of jagged tree branches, dark woods and things that go bump in the night. Our goal was to explore these feelings combined with the visuals of the electronic synth driven world established in the ‘Night’ video from the prior album.” Unsurprisingly Hignight and Verhulst manage to further emphasize the slowly creeping dread and horror within the song, while hinting at the dystopian future that seems almost inevitable.