Mutant Video “Head Scan- Part 2” (2012, Iron Lung Records, Seattle, WA)

Mutant Video “Head Scan- Part 2” (2012, Iron Lung Records, Seattle, WA)

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.

Stefano Torossi- “Feelings” (1975)

Stefano Torossi- “Feelings” (1975)

This is one of the most sought-after “library music” records, one that for decades was nearly impossible to find until recent years, where Itunes has offered a $7.99 digital download and Light In The Attic Records reissued it in 2016 (already sold out). If you are already familiar with the common attributes of this genre, then expect the same funky beats and basslines, sensual orchestral arrangements, wah-wah guitar riffs, crisp flutes and horns, an audiophile-like production, and an overall cinematic atmosphere. And it was recorded in the mid-70s’ of course, the golden era for this type of production music, which at the time was really only meant to be used in future television and film programing (quite a different time from today!).

One special attribute to this record is how well it has aged. Every track glistens with a sheer beauty, all the while covering a wide range of emotions, from joy and melancholy, to suspense and playfulness. The recording of the bass guitar and drum set is pristine, with the deep resonating notes of the bass sounding borderline contemporary. The drummer used for the sessions sounds absolutely rock-solid, and gives each track a deep, in the pocket groove that is to die for.

But overall, this is an album that must be heard to be believed, in coercion with all the hype it gets. It has the rare quality of leaving an extremely strong impression on first listen without any effort at all.