Monday, October 22, 2012


Popol Vuh 

Nothing even remotely frightening or disturbing about this lush soundtrack. Just pure ritual drone with vaguely ethnic influences courtesy of Germany's pioneering kraut rock experimentalists Popol Vuh. Legend has it this would have been their next album, to be titled On The Way To a Little Way, but when Werner Herzog heard it while filming his stylish but mostly faithful re-make of F.W. Murnau's 1922 Nosferatu (which was itself swiped from Bram Stoker's Dracula and unceremoniously re-titled to avoid lawsuits when they couldn't secure rights to the novel) he insisted that it be used for his film and my Egg Records pressing has both titles on the cover. There is a very calming raga-like tonal quality to this record that is very suitable for introspection. In fact, side one is bookended with Mantra I and Mantra II (revisited on side two with Zwiesprache Der Rohrfloete Mit Der) which would not be entirely out of place on a Pandit Pran Nath record with what sounds like electrified sitar and tombak. To translate that into terms you patch-jacket types can understand, I don’t know much about Necros Christos but I wouldn't be surprised if this record had some small but powerful influence on their instrumental interludes and tendency to arrange songs into numbered themes. Just a theory. Side two opens with the ghostly theremin dirge of the title track followed by Through Pains to Heaven II which might well have influenced Coil a few years later and apparently Opeth had the good taste to employ as intro stage music. The whole tasteful shebang is wrapped up with closer Zwiesprache der Rohrflote which is the closest we get to a straightforward jam and which somehow beautifully pulls together the album's disparate elements in one totally satisfying prog-rock doobie smoker. Exhale. Sunrise. Incinerate.