I owe an awful lot to John Carpenter. His films were woven into my aesthetic sub-conscious ever since I began watching after-school films like Big Trouble In Little China and The Thing on a weekly basis.
I probably related to their video game-like narratives; the sort of end-of-level, super-human ‘bosses’ and the re-spawning, endlessly grotesque characters, from the flying Boglin (or whatever it was) and Lo Pan himself in Big Trouble, to the hybrid multi-headed husky monster and countless others in The Thing… That and the flame-throwers, the kung-fu, the comedy deaths, the all-American brawn, Kurt Russell in vests etc.
To The Thing I do, in fact, owe countless, thematic and aesthetic fixations. I’m already in debt with an entire song – based on Morricone’s pulsating score, its theme inspired by the ‘alien body’, or the sense of ‘other’ within us.
And to another of my favourite Carpenter films, The Fog, I owe staging aesthetic (the image above was inlcuded in my staging spec sheet for the first few shows), and the lesson of ‘how to create slow, relentless dread in musical form’.
And so I reach the purpose of this post – a chance to sing the praises of Deathwaltz Records, a UK label who are set to release the soundtrack to The Fog this June.
From concept to manufacture, they really reflect an individual, devoted fan behind the products, and that is Spencer Hickman.
So with this release comes exclusive artwork by Dinos Chapman and a special screening at the launch event on 7 June at a semi-derelict church in Islington which resembles, very closely, the location in this awesome ending scene of the film <<SPOILER>>. It’s the kind of detail that really makes all the difference and why it appeals so much to me personally.
As a young teen, it was Brad Fiedel’s soundtrack to The Terminator and Terminator 2 and the slow, cold analogue pulses of John Carpenter’s film scores which first introduced me to the cold yet alluring world of electronic /dark ambient / drone / musique concrete (or whatever genre suits the reader best). In the same vein of analogue murk, but with a far more introverted facade, I’ve slowly been listening my way through the work of Bruce Gilbert.
In his back catalogue of albums, soundtracks and other projects, I’m beginning to discover a black pool of industrial, gloomy delights from his solo work, as well as uncovering the work of one of his former bands, Dome (pictured above). Wikipedia tells me that they used to perform in art galleries with objects, or instruments made from found objects on display for the audience to interact with. This reminds me of the sound art of UK-based, Sicilian-born artist, Seb Patane, and his sonic project, Frontier, Frontier! which occupies similarly odd DJ-meets-performance-art terrain utilising masks and beekeeping costumes – worth noting too, that Gilbert’s DJ moniker is DJ Beekeeper.
My favourites of the Bruce Gilbert collection so far, perhaps due to the regular introduction of pulse, are his 1996 album Ab Ovo, and This Way To The Shivering Man (1990) both of which must have inspired the majority of sonic ideas in The Knife’s 2009 album, The Colouring Of Pigeons. I also hear much of Gilbert’s influence in Richard Russell’s impeccably restrained, and I would go as far as to say perfect production on the late Gil Scott-Heron’s I’m New Here – my favourite album of 2010 by a long, long way. If you ‘do’ Spotify, you can listen to Ab Ovo and This Way To The Shivering Manit in their entirety.