Thursday, 28 January 2021

Nosfera-Vu

Herzog's Nosferatu came up in a conversation on FB last night, and the notion was put forward on how the film might have played had Tangerine Dream wrote the score. It was an intriguing idea (and one I had not previously pondered on!) and while the kind of music Tangerine Dream wrote for Sorcerer would have been ill-fitting for Nosferatu, the film might have worked very well with music from Tangerine Dreams's earlier albums on the Ohr label - namely Alpha Centauri, Zeit and Atem. But I digress.... With the film fresh in my mind, I’m sinking my teeth into Popol Vuh’s soundtrack courtesy of this 1992 CD on the Italian High Tide label, which collects all the music from the two soundtracks Popol Vuh recorded for the film, that is the Brüder Des Schattens - Söhne Des Lichts album, and On The Way To A Little Way (Soundtracks From "Nosferatu"). All needlessly confusing, but if you want all the music Florian Fricke wrote for the film, without the edits done to the 18min title track on Brüder Des Schattens - Söhne Des Lichts – the centerpiece of the film’s soundtrack, this CD is the one to seek out. To the best of my knowledge, the High Tide edition is fully authorized by Florian Fricke, but the Popol Vuh back catalogue is such a mess that one is never quite sure. Reissues on CD have been poorly served over the years by the absence of original tapes and much of the core albums are taken from needle-drops and have been subjected to noise-scrubbing mastering. So much so, anyone looking to put together a collection would be best advised to seek out the early CD releases…

1 comment:

  1. Re: Nosferatu and Tangerine Dream, I'd guess the synth pieces used in the film all date from the early 70s when Florian still had his big Moog (later sold to Klaus Schulze, I believe). The original vinyl release of the Aguirre soundtrack contains a very minimal side-long synth piece, Vergegenwärtigung, which doesn't feature in the film at all, and which I always regard as the fifth side of the Zeit album. It's a source of continual annoyance that this piece has never been released as it was. The subsequent reissues all feature passages where the choir-organ of the Aguirre theme gets faded in. Par for the course with Popol Vuh, as you note. Trying to follow their discography in the 1980s was a nightmare when there was no proper documentation of the different releases. And it took a while for the CDs to settle down. I have a Spalax CD that purports to be the Aguirre album but which is more like a compilation album: Aguirre I followed by the whole of In Den Gärten Pharaos (!) then the three Spirit Of Peace solo piano pieces. Good to have but…it's not Aguirre!

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