Photo by Sophie Gransard

John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies have just shared the second single from their forthcoming album ‘Lost Themes IV: Noir’, set for release on May 3rd via Sacred Bones Records.

In addition to streaming release on all DSPs, the trio have unveiled a visualiser by acclaimed animator and longtime collaborator Boneface. The freakish and high contrast visuals underscore the noir-ish atmosphere of the instrumental, that instills a sense of impending danger via a menacing guitar riff that slices through the core of the song’s spectral electronic pulse.

He Walks By Night follows last month’s lead single, My Name Is Death, and accompanying mini-Noir music video, starring Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood), Staz Lindes (The Paranoyds) and Misha Lindes (SadGirl).

It’s been a decade since John Carpenter recorded the material that would become ‘Lost Themes’, his debut album of non-film music and the opening salvo in one of Hollywood’s great second acts. Those vibrant, synth-driven songs, made in collaboration with his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies, kickstarted a musical renaissance for the pioneering composer and director. In the years since, Carpenter, Carpenter, and Davies have released close to a dozen musical projects, including a growing library of studio albums and the scores for David Gordon Green’s trilogy of Halloween reboots. With Lost Themes IV: Noir’, they’ve struck gold again, this time mining the rich history of the film noir genre for inspiration.

Like the film genre they were influenced by, what makes the songs on Lost Themes IV “noirish” is sometimes slippery and hard to define, and not merely reducible to a collection of tropes. The scores for the great American noir pictures were largely orchestral, while the Carpenters and Davies work off a sturdy synth-and-guitar backbone. The noir quality, then, is something you understand instinctively when you hear it. “Some of the music is heavy guitar riffs, which is not in old noir films,” Davies notes. “But somehow, it’s connected in an emotional way.”

It helped that they grew up in a musical environment. Daniel’s dad is The Kinks’ Dave Davies, and he would pop by the L.A. studio – the same one the Lost Themes records are made in today – to jam, or to perform at wrap parties for John’s films. That innate free-flowing chemistry helps ‘Lost Themes IV: Noir’ run like a well-oiled machine—the 1951 Jaguar XK120 Roadster from Kiss Me Deadly, perhaps, or the 1958 Plymouth Fury from John’s own Christine. It’s a chemistry that’s helped power one of the most productive stretches of John’s creative life, and Noir proves that it’s nowhere near done yielding brilliant results.