Zombie Zombie - Plays John Carpenter - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Zombie Zombie - Plays John Carpenter

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2010-11-01

Let's be absolutely clear: it's about time John Carpenter got some serious props for his contribution to music. The director's film scores throughout the 70s explored minimalist, funky-yet-taunt electro at a time when no one outside Germany and David Bowie's inner circle showed any interest in doing the same. His score for Assault on Precinct 13, in particular, is a thing of dark, creeping majesty and, unsurprisingly it provides the highlight on this tribute by French duo Zombie Zombie.

In fact, throughout this EP Cosmic Neman and Etienne Jaumet do excellent service to the auteur's musical legacy. Carpenter's compositions often had a feel for empty space which was almost dubby and, thankfully, the use of live drums on these reworkings doesn't diminish that. Instead, both 'Assault...' and 'The Bank Robbery' retain their desolate, almost melancholy quality, although Zombie Zombie find inventive ways to bring out the dance elements in both. In the case of 'Assault...', this is particularly welcome as Carpenter's own dance reworking of the theme, released in 1983, was misjudged, robbing the original of its parched and spooky brilliance. Here, what it loses in glacial glory, it gains in expansive, proggy experimentalism. The tension between the live drums and analogue synths puts one in mind of Three Trapped Tigers. No bad thing. Even the bongos at the end work a treat.

Elsewhere, 'Escape from LA' gains a stuttering tribal intro which soon develops into full-on Neu! motorik. It's an interesting reworking, but it's too busy, too frantic and, by the time an elemental guitar workout rolls round, the somnambulist, loping genius of the original has been obliterated. Their reading of 'Halloween', on the other hand, stays pretty faithful, adding a soupcon of funk with some loose drumming and squelchy, spacey synth. It shouldn't work but it does. And, suffice to say, their version of The Thing's main theme is enough to remind Soundblab why said film scares us shitless.

Overall, this EP is a triumph. If you're a fan of the man or his films, buy this release at once. If you've yet to discover the Carpenter ouvre, go and watch Assault on Precinct 13, Escape from New York, Halloween and They Live... And then buy this!

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