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Popol Vuh - Nachts: Schnee CD (album) cover

NACHTS: SCHNEE

Popol Vuh

 

Krautrock

2.00 | 1 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This release is comprised of remixes of two Popol Vuh tracks. The first is the Mika Vainio remix of "Nachts: Schnee," originally from Popol Vuh's 1987 soundtrack to Cobra Verde. I know very little about Popol Vuh other than the fact that the band eschewed synthesizers after their first two albums. What I know of Mika Vainio is that he was an electronic musician who once said "I have never used computers to make music." So there seems to be an affinity here. The original "Nachts: Schnee" (German for "Snow at Night" or "Night Snow") was less than two minutes long, so at ten minutes, the Vainio remix is over five times the length of the original. In a way it's as much as a modernized extension of the original, rhythmless ambiance track as it is a remix. It's good, although it doesn't really reimagine the original.

The b-side, if you will, is a Haswell & Hecker remix of "Aguirre I," originally from the 1972 soundtrack to Aguirre - The Wrath of God (and also included, with "Aguirre II" and several other pieces, on Popol Vuh's 1975 album Aguirre, which did not feature "Aguirre III" in its original form. So it's complicated). Though they were recorded 15 years apart by different lineups of the band, what connects "Nachts: Schnee" and "Aguirre I" is that both were recorded for films by New German Cinema director Werner Herzog. "Aguirre I" comes from the film Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes ("Aguirre, the Wrath of God"), considered one of the best movies of all time. Roger Ebert, for example, included in his personal top-ten in 2002. Ebert devoted two paragraphs in his original movie review to the soundtrack, which he credits to "Florian Fricke, whose band Popol Vuh?has contributed the soundtracks to many Herzog films." Elsewhere, of course, including on this release, it is attributed to Popol Vuh. Like he original "Nachts: Schnee," "Aguirre I" is largely atmospheric, although it contains other elements at the beginning and end of its seven-plus-minute runtime. The Haswell & Hecker track is much in the spirit of the Vainio remix of "Nachts: Schnee."

While I appreciate both of these remixes, and I recognize that they are every bit as musical as Beethoven, I can't say that I understand the exact purpose behind this release. At least as music separate from the films they were created for, the original tracks were average cinema music, and neither of these mixes add much value to its source material.

patrickq | 2/5 |

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