Thumbs Out

November 19, 2021

Silva Screen Records to release Mark Isham’s original 1986 electronic score for THE HITCHER

Next month, Silva Screen Records will release the horror soundtrack THE HITCHER, composer Mark Isham’s genre redefining electronic score, commercially unavailable for close to 30 years.

The film, a chilling road thriller, has to do with a young motorist (C. Thomas Howell) who escapes the clutches of a murderous hitchhiker (Rutger Hauer) who subsequently stalks him in order to frame him for his own crimes. Critically maligned at the time, over the years the film has built up a cult following and has spawned both a sequel and a remake.

Asked by the producers to compose a copycat score of John Williams’ JAWS, Isham bravely produced the opposite. He steered clear from genre defining sharp orchestral motifs and stabbing dissonances, and instead immersed himself in 80s cutting edge electronics and samples. The result was an emotionally cold and beautiful score, an audio landscape depicting evil and impending doom, the dust and fog of a lonely desert road. With its industrial beats, ambient synth washes and spaced jazzy motifs, the score was on the forefront of a new genre in horror music scoring and has since achieved cult status.

“Technically the music business was in a crossroads and new instruments and new instrument technologies were appearing every day,” Isham said, describing his scoring process. “I availed myself of this ‘new’ technology of ‘sampling’ and brought in two drummers who played only originally sampled drums. I was still using my early system of a Prophet 5, an Oberheim 4 voice and my ARP 2600. To this I added this new keyboard, a Prophet 2000 (sampler). This was the ‘band’!”

The album will be released on December 3rd, and is now available for pre-order from SilvaUK.

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