What would contemporary music, particularly electronic music, sound like if John Carpenter had resigned himself to just being a director? The composer's soundtrack work is as iconic - if not more so - than the films they are created for. From the chilling piano melody and atmospheric strings of the Halloween soundtrack (particularly on 'Laurie Knows') to the thick, industrial bass synth of Assault On Precinct 13's main title, Carpenter has created music that is as evocative, as thrilling, as terrifying as the films themselves. Of course, it's impossible to separate a film's score from the images it accompanies. Our impressions of the music are always informed by what we witness on celluloid - whether that's a white-knuckle chase scene or a grotesque transformation.

Last year, Carpenter set out to defy that rule with the release of Lost Themes. Whilst there were a few missteps - the somewhat exuberant 'Domain' leaning a little too easily on schlocky bombast - Lost Themes showed that Carpenter's music could be just as visceral without imagery to support it. Its follow up, Lost Themes II (yep - a numbered sequel) might not exactly escape the failings of its predecessor, but ultimately is a far more cohesive record.

Lost Themes II opens with 'Distant Dream', a neon-tinged nightmare with a bass line in the vain of Carpenter's Assault On Precinct 13 titles. Unlike the original Lost Themes Carpenter opens the record in a far more extroverted way - there's no time for subtlety on 'Distant Dream' with the opening notes being an abrasive saw synthesiser accompanied by the physical pulse of bass and percussion.

Subtlety is in short supply on Lost Themes II, with soaring guitar solos, industrial synthesisers and violent percussion throughout. Even a track like 'White Pulse' which starts with an arpeggio of icy chimes, mutates into a piece filled with pitch-shifted vocoder lines and ominous bass swells. It's a rarity on the record, which instead has more of a rock thrust than the original Lost Themes. 'Angel's Asylum' pairs a galloping synthesiser with a steady guitar solo, whilst 'Dark Blues' focuses its rhythm on a guitar riff that chugs along with a pulsating synth.

The main point of difference between the two Lost Themes records is that the follow up feels like it's composed more of actual songs as opposed to medleys. Many of the tracks here have a very traditional verse-chorus structure, which the previous record largely seemed to eschew in favour of treating to more of an overview of an imagined film. That and the more consistent tone make for a more album-like experience - often the songs feel less like soundtrack pieces and more like instrumental electronica in the vein of the artists Carpenter has inspired.

The album's strongest moments come towards the end. Here's where you find the slow-build of the almost elegiac 'Bela Lugosi', blurring strings with sharp synths and a moody undercurrent of bass. It's followed by one of the quieter tracks, 'Last Sunrise', which shows how much more affecting Carpenter can be when he reins it in. The haunting piano that plays out over the atmospheric backing, conjuring more nightmarish visions than any abrasive lead synth could. When it shifts gear it does so in a way that maintains the feel of the opening moments, building slowly, gradually introducing guitar chords and more percussion to brighten the track in a way that feels like a story is being told to us. That's when Carpenter is at his best, when he's using the music to create mood, atmosphere and narrative, not just thrills.