Friday, 15 April 2016

Popol Vuh - Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts (1978)

In line with one of my most regular springtime listening habits - it's Popol Vuh time.  Paradoxically, then, I've gone for an album that starts out with three minutes of their darkest-hued music - which some of you may recognise from the opening credits of Werner Herzog's Nosferatu, with those eerie images of Mexican mummies.

Herzog had been friends with Florian Fricke for some time, and had already snagged some top-drawer Popol Vuh tracks for Aguirre - Wrath Of God and Heart Of Glass, to great effect.  It's worth making clear, though, that Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts (Brother of shadow, son of light) isn't a straightforward soundtrack album to Nosferatu - in one of (several!) confusing quirks in the Popol Vuh catalogue, there's also a separate Nosferatu album with a different tracklist.  So, anyway...

After the unearthly choral opening to the Brüder title track, the rest of its 17 minutes settle into a stately piano and guitar drone that builds and builds, sometimes with a bit more sitar and tambura here and there, to hypnotic effect.  After the 'Schattens' of the Nosferatu intro, this blissful epic of minimal understatement just bathes you in kaleidoscopic 'Lichts'.

Over on Side 2, Höre, der du wagst (Hear, who dares) gives us a subdued epilogue to the main piece, and the album is then rounded out with two slightly more regular Vuh vehicles between Fricke and Fichelscher.  But that's not to undersell them - even your common or garden Popol Vuh album track still exists in its own beautiful universe miles above anything else in the krautrock canon.

Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts

previously posted at SGTG: 
Die Erde und ich sind Eins


  1. Many thanks for this exquisite LP on a peaceful spring evening. I discovered your blog with your Xenakis postings and I really enjoy your taste in music. Thanks for sharing.
    -eddy johns

  2. You have exquisite taste in music. Don't stop what you are doing. Keep it up - you are bringing great music to our ears. Don't worry if the DL count is low or if few are visiting. You are posting obscure but excellent works. Your karmic value is increasing.

  3. Many many thanks, Eddy & Stuart, v. encouraging!