Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Popol Vuh - Coeur De Verre ("Singet, Denn Der Gesang Vertreibt Die Wölfe") (1977)

Or indeed, 'Herz aus Glas', or any of the other permutations of the title over the years...  The original name for this 1977 album, which translates as 'Sing, for the song drives out the wolves', was put aside when Werner Herzog once again tapped Florian Fricke for some new Vuh music for his latest beautifully bizarre movie, and it was decided to market the album as a soundtrack.

As my memories of the Heart Of Glass film are a bit hazy (and to be honest, still would be if I'd just finished watching it five minutes ago - it's a bit hard-going even by Herzog's standards), let's just focus on the music.  As the follow-up to Letzte Tage - Letzte Nächte, Popol Vuh were still in rock mode, with Daniel Fichelscher's guitars up front and centre.  And top, bottom, sides and background too.  This album has often begged the question - is Florian Fricke even on it?  He's credited with piano as usual, but is so far back in the mix as to be virtually inaudible.

If Coeur/Herz/Wölfe is very much the Fichelscher show then, that's no bad thing, as he's on fine form, letting his chiming layers of guitar and ringing lead lines create another minor masterpiece in the Popol Vuh canon over the drums and percussion (also played by Fichelshcer).  Al Gromer Khan drops by on sitar for Das Lied von den hohen Bergen to round out the album's majestic first half on a nice mellow note, before things get even more amped up.  Hüter der Schwelle and Der Ruf in particular are the rockiest this band ever got, but the closing Gemeinschaft with its guest flute part points towards their progressively mellower future.

mega / zippy

4 comments:

  1. The entire cast was allegedly under hypnosis, resulting in everyone stumbling around and dropping things for the duration of the film. Herzog's strangest after "Even Dwarfs Started Small". This is the first time I've heard the soundtrack, great stuff, thanks.

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    1. oh yeah, I'd forgot about the 'hypnotized cast' thing... would certainly explain a lot about Heart Of Glass. If true, that's Herzog for you!

      I'd plump for Kasper Hauser as a personal favourite Herzog. Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh actually cameos in that one, as a blind harpsichord player IIRC.

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    2. Incredibly boring as well. I like some of Herzog's slower-paced films (Fata Morgana comes immediately to mind) but this one was a challenge to sit through.

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    3. Fata Morgana would def be #2 for me - the whole Koyaanisqatsi-a-decade-early thing with Leonard Cohen's first album is endlessly watchable.

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