Within the past ten years there has been a resurgence in the influence of legendary horror director/composer John Carpenter’s work, but especially in his excursions into music, where many of his own films were scored and performed by himself, sometimes with the help of Alan Howarth. Carpenter’s iconic scores for films like the Halloween franchise, They Live, Escape From New York, Big Trouble In Little China, etc. featured Carpenter’s iconic style of layering minimal synthesizer patterns in a heavily stylized way that was very much reflective of the aesthetic of the late 1970s and 80s when the films were produced. The average American is sure to recognize the haunting, paranoid main title theme to 1978’s Halloween, with its pulsating sprinkler-like beat and malevolent piano riff pounding on top.
Mutant Video were a short-lived project from Seattle, Washington that may have produced some of the most interesting John Carpenter tribute music. This album, “Head Scan- Part 2”, features what sounds like loose, improvised basement jams that have more in common to the modern American noise and drone scenes than other Carpenter inspired acts like Umberto (or Carpenter’s recent two solo albums, “Lost Themes I & II”). Made up of of just two guys, Nic Schmidt and John Lukeman, they utilize only synths, a drum machine, and a bass guitar, but that bass guitar is really the what makes this act sound fresh and worthwhile. Nic Schmidt plays long, sustained drones on his bass that sound mournful, distant, and grotesque all at the same time. Often he jams his way into pure sludge oblivion underneath Lukeman’s pulsating layers of synths and drum machines. Imagine The Melvins or Godflesh performing lo-fi improv jams inspired by old VSH horror films, then the tapes getting sent to DJ Screw to well, screw them up.
This cassette-only release is sold out, but you can download this 70 minute tape for only 4 bucks on the bandcamp page of Iron Lung Records! Absolutely Worth it.