If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees… then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the wrath of god. The earth I pass will see me and tremble. Whoever follows me and the river, will win untold riches. But whoever deserts…
~Don Lope de Aguirre
from Herzog’s “Aguirre, the Wrath of God”
Also known as “Aguirre, Wrath of God”, it is (according to Wikipedia) a West German New Wave adventure art film written and directed by Werner Herzog. It was shot in 1972, two years before I was born, and looks like it is a tremendous film … in part because it has inspired Virlyn to create the “Aguirre EP” for the Subterranean Tide netlabel.
The Aguirre EP features four exquisitely detailed instrumental tracks from Virlyn that sit somewhere in the intersection of ambient & neo-classical music. Their use of drones, synths, field recordings, strings, acoustic guitar, and even what sounds like a harp to create the vibrantly dense and overwhelmingly immersive tracks that populate this EP is simply inspired.
In addition to having not seen the film, I have not heard the Popol Vuh soundtrack. Whilst I mean no disrespect to Popol Vuh, I could easily imagine Virlyn’s EP, and music in a similar vein, easily and succinctly replacing their original backing. Virlyn’s expression paints pictures in my head of oppressive natural environments … places and spaces that could easily overwhelm. Fitting, therefore, for a journey down the Orinoco and Amazon River trudging on foot through the lush but unforgiving Amazonian jungle.
There is an eeriness to the music … an unfamiliarity that comes from the unknown … an unfamiliarity that ensures the listener pays attention, it keeps them on edge. I found this eeriness utterly fascinating and intriguing … the EP caught & held my attention through numerous plays on repeat.
In fact, I found the whole EP fascinating. It is a wonderfully vibrant & expressive ambient piece that is right at home with Subterranean Tide, a netlabel whose output to date has been flawless.
I hope you will enjoy this EP as much as I have. I intend to catch “Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes” soon and will put to the test my idea that this EP could replace the soundtrack … however, until I do, I will hold onto this EP with the mental images I have and treasure it for the marvel it is.
~Thomas Mathie, Founder of weareallghosts
Music by Frédéric Vanderlynden
Photography by Kris Germann (kgephotography.com)
Thanks to Cristiane Silva Corten, Joannes Truyens, Gilmard Monte and Emily Ferrell
Get it here: