John Carpenter Synths

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John Carpenter Synths

Post by computron » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:46 pm

I love John Carpenters music and films form the 80's.I know he used a prophet, a Quadra ,and a Elka Synthex in alot of his works. Anyone have any Idea what this synth and arp could be ?? I am thinking a jupiter series maybe?



I love this film where many Carpenter fans do not.I love the music and the story.Krazy guy with robots wants to kill all the childern just because.This one scared me when I was young.This very music did ! It's different then the other Halloween scores.They are remkaing this great movie into garbage with nick cage like they remake all his good movies into s**t. The fog ,Assault on precinct 13 , and halloween ect.

I love all his movies with synth sounds.The thing ,The Fog, They live,Prince of darkness,the halloweens's ,Escape from NY, Assault on precinct 13.I love ALL the theme's and synth sounds in the movies he did.So much so I never could pick a fav.These films first got me into synth sounds at a very very young age.
THANK YOU MR.CARPENTER!!!

Anyone have a idea what he could have used in this Vid :?:
This second vid from the opening sounds like the same synth without arpeggiator sequences ?

Last edited by computron on Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:43 am, edited 13 times in total.
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by Syn303 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:10 pm

Ask Micke, he is a leading authority on the music and synths used by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth.
Carpenter also used ARP Avatar's, an ARP sequencer and the Odyssey.
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by Kraig0078 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:19 pm

It was the prophet 5,prophet 10 and arp avatar with arp sequencer that were the main instruments on the soundtrack.
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by swisstony123 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:52 am

John Carpenter and the often un-praised Alan Howarth are masters. They both have had a massive influence on me and my own stuff. I've seen John Carpenter in a pic somewhere using his ARP sequencer for that soundtrack... I'm almost sure of it. Infact I often listen to the Halloween 3 soundtrack when I go to bed at the moment ad wake up feeling quite disturbed when it reaches "happy, happy halloween, silver shamrock". I like that film its a pleasent break from the others.
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by computron » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:19 am



"Chariots of pumpkins" is the name.Upon listening to this again it sounds like two synths layerd and arpeggiator sequences.

excellent info here http://www.theofficialjohncarpenter.com ... 3strk.html

The arpeggiator was indeed done by the ARP Sequencer.Those came out the year before I was born and are very high priced these days.What would someone recomend close to it as a arpeggiator ???


Yes Alan Howarth was right there with Carpenter .I am just coming to find this out. After watching this recently and having seen it many times I come to the realazation that Carpenter Howarth are one of the biggest reasons I love Synths to this day. The seed was planted then along with all the crazy synths from classic Dr.Who.
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by Eddy » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:35 pm

and he used the SCI Prophet VS

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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by Micke » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Nice to see a thread about one of my favorite movie directors/composers.

The repetitive 16 of 8 note stuff on Halloween III was the ARP sequencer/ARP Avatars. Any larger sequences were with the sequencial circuits sequencer that was attached to the Prophet 5 & 10 systems. The SCI 700 was used on one of the Avatars as a programmer and sub-sequence, and the Linn LM-1 was driven from a tape track and used as a master clock for all sequencing.
Says Howarth: "This worked well, but you had to always go back to the start of the cue to get the proper clock lock. You could not start in mid cue like today with smpte and midi."

To the best of my knowledge Carpenter & Howarth never used an Elka Synthex. The Prophet VS debuted on the soundtrack to "Big Trouble In Little China" (1986). Actually, this score was recorded in early '86, several months prior to the release of the VS. However, Howarth was able to trade Sequential some of his own programs for use of a prototype VS, which he used for a lot of the "Chinese" sounds.
Alan Howarth (interviewed in the Oct '86 issue of Keyboard): "I'm not a real DX-7 fan...I never warmed up to it, and along came the VS. It gave me some pretty neat sounds. The digital waveforms were nice and bright, and they gave me all the Clavinet and Rhodes things, and I could still deal with it in an analog fashion, which is what I'm most familiar with. We got a lot of great sounds out of it."
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by rharris07 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:44 pm

Damn Micke - you're input on this is awesome!

This stands as one of my favorite movies ever. Its terribly cheesy, and I don't know anyone else among my friends or family that can stand to watch it, but for some reason I can't ever get enough of it.

I've been asked many times why do I love synths, and I typically say because of John Carpenter among a few others. This movie is a perfect example. I watched these movies as a kid and the music is always what stuck with me afterwards.

Heh - when I do talk to a horror buff, they'll ask my favorites and I include Halloween I thru III, and they try to correct me "oh, you mean I, II & IV...right?" NOPE. Everyone wants to leave this movie out, but I thought it was an awesome way to pause the michael meyers story, tell something totally off the way, and then return.

I refuse to buy any of these movies on DVD though, I have them all on VHS still - my original copies from childhood at that. They're just so much better that way!!

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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by Micke » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:32 pm

Thank you for the kind words, rharris07 :)

Speaking of HIII; it's just about the only Halloween movie I haven't seen...go figure!
I like the score a lot though.
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by Zarith » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:12 am

Talking about John Carpenter...

Ennio Morricone is credited as the soundtrack composer of The Thing, but I always wondered if he actually worked on this movie. The main theme can't have been made by anyone else than John Carpenter himself. It sounds soo similar to what he did on Escape from New York or Halloween.

Ennio Morricone composed 500 movie soundtracks... That's way to much for a single man. In 1972, he delivered 31 soundtracks, one every 10 days. We all know that Bruno Nicolaï did at least half of them.

Could it be possible that John Carpenter did the majority of the The Thing soundtrack?

Anyone know more about this?

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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by Micke » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:58 am

Oh yes, Morricone did compose a complete score for The Thing, incl. the main theme. However, only parts of the score was used
in the movie. The synth drones in the opening, before the main theme kicks in, plus some other low-key stuff heard in the movie
was apparently done by Alan Howarth all by himself.
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by computron » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:07 am

Micke wrote:Thank you for the kind words, rharris07 :)

Speaking of HIII; it's just about the only Halloween movie I haven't seen...go figure!
I like the score a lot though.

Its a good one Micke very moody like the soundtrack.See it before you see the remake .I cant believe they are remaking one of my favorite movies again into complete c**p. Anyone see the fog remake compared to the first?Next thing you know they will remake Big trouble in little china and Escape from NY or LA.

Thanks for all your valued information Micke its very much appreciated




I don't know where I read that carpenter used a Elka and Quadra . Do you know if he did in fact use the Quadra and if so on what film?
Zarith wrote:T
Could it be possible that John Carpenter did the majority of the The Thing soundtrack?

Anyone know more about this?


I too think this sounds like Carpenter maybe he told Ennio what he wanted or worked with him. The thing is one of the best movies ever!! For its time the FX were the best of the best To bad it came out when E.T. was out or maybe more people would have seen it in the movies,A cult classic like all of Carpenter's films. The dogs face opening and the blood test scene had huge impact on my young mind.Oh this one has is being remade but as a prequel to the thing. What went on at that Norwegian base after they took the thing out of the ice how did they know it was there ? This one I am dreading the most of the remakes the THING is my all time fav and I will take it personal if its s**t.
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by Micke » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:10 pm

You're welcome, Computron

Yes, they did use an ARP Quadra on Escape From New York and Halloween II. Not sure why Howarth ditched it
after that, maybe he felt it was somewhat superfluous...I dunno.

Howarth: "Quadra wan in several cues. In the opening titles of EFNY as part of the chord pattern and also in the arpeggiated riff after the body of the cue. Quadra is also in the DUke arrives and the president at the train. The
final cue, across the 69th street bridge is also a stack of quadra and avatars and prophet on the main melody."

"The BIG lead line on the Halloween II is a stack of overdubs from the SCI prophet 5 &10. Remember, this was 24 track
analog stuff, so before MIDI and all the computer sequencers, I had to overdub. The other Halloween part, the 1/8 note stuff is from the ARPs. There were 2 ARP Avatars (Really Oddsseys) that were driven by the ARP sequencer. The Quadra was also overdubbed as the BIG line. I used the Linn Drum as the master clock for everything and it had a FSK tone that I
recorded to track 23 of the 24 track tape. This way I could sync the sequencer to the tape for overdubs."


The reason the 'Main theme' from The Thing sounds like Carpenter is most likely because he asked Morricone
to "emulate" his style and Morricone is/was very good at that. Afaik they did not work together for this score,
Morricone wrote and recorded the music in Italy with his usual orchestra.
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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by rharris07 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:05 am

Micke - you might know the answer to this question more than anyone...

on the final track "The Shape Stalks" on the official vinyl release of the halloween soundtrack, there are strings used that sound like they're breathing in/out with the bass drum, which i know sounds like the idea of side chaining/pumping...but is that what he was actually doing with it to get it to sound that way? Or was it doing something different? I'm curious because it doesn't sound as obvious as what all the electro-dance guys are doing these days, but the way he does it sounds very cool...it breaks up the solid string lines a bit. Steve Moore has done the same on one of his tracks on the Gutterballs soundtrack. Any ideas on how Carpenter achieved that sound?

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Re: John Carpenter Synths

Post by Angstwulf » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:24 am

Halloween III with Nick Cage? Are the studios contractually obligated to put him in every third remake released??? Sheesh.

Oh well, I'll survive so long as they leave my two preciousesss alone: Prince of Darkness (another excellent soundtrack) and In The Mouth of Madness (I'm not always a fan of his guitar stuff, mind you).

They Live should never be remade. Ain't no two men on Earth manly enough to do Roddy Piper and Keith David's roles any justice.

Now, Vampires, that's another story. I mean, if they remade it and had Nick Cage mass murdering a bunch of sparkly teenaged vampires while trying to do a James Woods impersonation, they'd have a frikken' classic on their hands.

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