Escape from New York [Expanded Edition]

Escape from New York [Expanded Edition]

by Alan HowarthAlan Howarth


John Carpenter is a rarity among film directors in that he is also a composer who writes the musical scores for his movies. Carpenter's 1981 film Escape from New York was a kind of genre hybrid, a science fiction crime thriller with suggestions of a spaghetti Western thrown in. Set in a near future when Manhattan has been converted into a no-man's-land prison, the movie needed an appropriately futuristic soundtrack, and Carpenter came up with a score for synthesizer that he played with his sound designer, Alan Howarth. Despite the instrumentation, however, the composer retained a style familiar from such earlier works as Halloween. He favored simple, repetitive keyboard figures, generally two per sequence, set in a fast-slow counterpoint. The Escape from New York score had a few changes of pace, notably a borrowing from Debussy and an ersatz Broadway show tune, "Everyone's Coming to New York" ("Shoot a cop with a gun/The Big Apple is plenty of fun"), written by Nick Castle, but most of the music sounded like earlier Carpenter scores, similarly creating a tense, ominous tone much of the time. The high-tech sound was sometimes at odds with the bombed-out sets in the film, but it helped maintain a tense mood in a movie that sometimes threatened to become comical because it was so stylized. Two decades later, when the soundtrack was reissued on an expanded CD, the synth sound was no longer futuristic but very much of its early-'80s time. Howarth, who had constructed the original 37-minute LP, re-edited and retitled the previously released material and came up with an additional 20 minutes' worth of cues and excerpts from the film's arch dialogue. There was music from two cut scenes and an unused closing-credit theme, all of it in a consistent style with the previously heard material.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/04/2005
Label: Silva America
UPC: 0738572301620
catalogNumber: 3016

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Alan Howarth   Primary Artist,Synthesizer
Pamela Smith   Keyboards
Tommy Wallace   Guitar

Technical Credits

Joey Alves   Production Design
John Carpenter   Director
Claude Debussy   Composer
Alan Howarth   Engineer,Liner Notes
Nick Castle   Composer,Writer
Ford A. Thaxton   Producer,Liner Notes
Colin Parker   Art Direction,Illustrations
Dean Cundey   Cinematography
Larry Franco   Producer
Debra Hill   Producer
Garry Zink   Special Effects
Reynold da Silva   Executive Producer

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