Ennio Morricone, composer of this soundtrack to John Carpenter's masterpiece of interstellar horror and creeping paranoia "The Thing", understands his craft: grasps almost intuitively, instinctively, that the most powerful music is painted on a palette of Silence.
His work is painted against a backdrop of the inaudible Howl of the Lonely Spaces, of the Wilding Lands, of the Frigid North or the forsaken South, and his soundtrack to "The Thing" is no exception.
There is this kind of keening flatline sound at the outset of one of the primary themes, the sort of noise that reminds me of camping in the high desert, or in the wild, cold, desolate spaces of Alaska. The sound of absolute, primal stillness.
The kind of stillness where a restless, aggressive, ancient Evil can work its will.
Morricone has always had a fevered, impulsive command and flair with a sort of music, atonal and melodic, that captures and calls up the loneliness of the wild, untamed spaces: whether he was dealing with the vast stretches of sixgun-tamed badlands in the American West in the Man with No Name trilogy, or the yawning gulfs of Antarctic loneliness that encompass the doomed research station---and ultimately serve as a springboard for global invasion---of "The Thing".
The supreme compliment to Morricone is that the score to "The Thing" serves as a character in itself, hinting at alien atrocities as yet unveiled: it is absolutely impossible to think of the movie without conjuring up snippets of the score, which evokes the stark, icy isolation of the Antarctic, underscores the fearful loneliness and crawling paranoia of the men at the base, and exudes a palpable sense of mystery and deep malice.
Morricone has borrowed extensively from the sere and barren stillness of the Earth's high places and wind-blistered expanses, and this rich treasure trove has infused his work---particularly this score---with a kind of barren, forlorn wildness.
Music of the Spheres---certainly not. Music of the Silent Spaces? Most definitely.