Wednesday, December 21, 2005

der Zorn Gottes

This is the account of how
all was in suspense,
all calm,
in silence;
all motionless,
and the expanse of the sky was empty.

At the end of the 1960s, Florian Fricke formed Popol Vuh in Munich. Named after an ancient Mayan scripture tome, their music very much fit into the same realm as Tangerine Dream of the era. What seperated them, though, was their strong spirituality to their music. More trancey, and what I hesitate to say could be pre-worldly-new-age. And definitely one of the strongest arms of the krautrock movement.

By the late 60s, Werner Herzog had already been making films for nearly a decade when he first worked with Fricke. My favorite Herzog movie, and also a collaboration between the two is 1972's Aguirre: the Wrath of God. Starring the always unpredictable Klaus Kinski, its story is the chronicles of an ill-fated 16th century Spanish quest for El Dorado and the madness that the jungle drives them into.

The score is gorgeous. Fricke embraces a wide spectrum of music yet manages to easily make it all heartfelt and captivating. From the plaintive Spirit of Peace pieces (which I swear I hear the rumbling of Arvo Pärt's prepared piano Tabula Rasa piece, which came a few years later), to the swirling choirs of holy heatstroke and the dancing flute jig of a native mountain musician and Takoma-esque guitar figures.

Fricke was the first one to show to a whole musician's generation (electronics or not) how to transfer ancient sacrality into modern popular music using the rigour of classical music.

Popol Vuh - Aguirre I
Popol Vuh - Spirit of Peace (Part 2)


At 8:04 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

nice one! I've been meaning to write a post about PV and the Fitzcarraldo soundtrack, another great melange of orchestrations and ethno-percussion.


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