POPOL VUH Aguirre (Ohr)

The first time I heard the music of Popol Vuh was over the hallucinogenic opening scene of Werner Herzog's remarkable film "Aguirre, Wrath Of God", a drifting, wispy, repetitive keyboard piece that suggested that the accompanying soundtrack album would be well worth investigation. Hearing more of the German band's work accompanying Herzog's equally fine "Fitzcarraldo" just about had me convinced of their worth, and listening to their music without the distraction of the accompanying visuals suggests those first impressions were entirely correct.

Predominantly instrumental, "Aguirre" shifts imperceptibly between sleepy Mellotron pieces and chiming, cyclical acoustic guitars, with the odd interjection of pan pipe music which, in a modern context, sounds alarmingly like the South American buskers from "The Fast Show"! Restful and soothing without lapsing into the dreaded background muzak trap, and signposting, to a degree, the sort of ambient experimentation Professor Eno would be conducting a few years hence, "Aguirre" easily stands up as an exceptional suite of music in its own right, something very few film soundtracks manage to achieve.