Synthtracks: Contact Playlist, Part 1: Paul Lawler

Because synthesizers are awesome, and movie soundtracks are awesome, we asked the duo of British film composer Paul Lawler and American drummer AE Pattera (Zombi/Majeure), collectively known as Contact, to put together a playlist for us with their favorite soundtrack tunes and some words on each. This week, we have Lawler’s picks; check back next week for Pattera’s. Not exactly metal, sure, but it’s not like metal folks don’t love this stuff. Check out the title track of their debut LP, First Contact, below, and then brace yourself for some 80s awesomeness.

Firestarter by Tangerine Dream 

I could list many soundtracks by Tangerine Dream from the 70-80s that have influenced my work. Firestarter is a typical example of the melancholic, mood laden music Tangerine Dream became famous for in the 80s with the Froese, Franke, Schmoelling line-up. Unsurpassed today.

Rambo (First Blood) by Jerry Goldsmith 

This is an incredible score by Jerry Goldsmith, technically dazzling with inspired orchestrations, and a mood setting recurring theme from the song ‘It’s A Long Road’. My favourite orchestral score to this day, and a huge influence in my writing.

Assault on Precinct 13 by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth

One of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth’s great electronic film themes. Typically simple yet haunting melody, backed with sparse analogue synth and drum machines. One of the first tunes to have a big impact on my passion for Electronic Music. I used to listen to this on my way to school while other kids were listening to the top-10.

V (Miniseries) by Barry De Vorzon

Another classic synth TV theme from the 80s by Barry De Vorzon. Again it’s simple, driving, and instantly memorable. The 1980s with its fast developing synth technology was a gold mine for classics like this.

Hammer House of Horror by Roger Webb

Possibly my favourite TV theme tune of all time. This encapsulates everything that was wonderful about TV music from the 70s-80s with it’s instantly memorable and haunting theme. This was from a time where a strong melody was paramount, and the music was written by people who could actually compose and orchestrate music.


Sky Ride by A. Bunny 
Although not technically a soundtrack, this was from the b-side of the LP “Close Encounters of the Third Kind & Other Great Space Music” from 1978. The 4 tracks credited to ‘Systems Music’ were my first exposure to synthesiser music as a 7 year old, and undoubtedly steered me towards electronic music. Even today this music is timeless, and some of the best synth music ever written.

***First Contact is out now courtesy of Temporary Residence Limited. You can order it here. Follow the band on Facebook here, and keep track of what Lawler is up to here.