3104100 Naqoyqatsi
Produced by Kurt Munkacsi
Released on October 1, 2002
US CLASSICAL CHART POSITION #6
Find it at GEMM
3104100 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

T he first Qatsi’s the deepest. This, the third in a trilogy from director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass, bounced off my eyeballs and never got under my skin. The scenes, while visually stunning at times, lack continuity and suggest a random pastiche of images. Apparently, the word “Naqoyqatsi” is Hopi for “We spent the NEA grant money on beer and strippers and only had enough left over for video editing software.” Mind candy kaleidoscopes of DNA strands and loops of military goosesteps are tiring after nine minutes let alone ninety. What helped me get through this was the music from Philip Glass. Although it’s not completely synchronized to the images on screen, the music illuminates the themes (war, digital communications, sports, smiles, our own biology, etc.) and underscores the commonality, interchangeability and even the inevitableness of all things. In between are solo cello sections from Yo-Yo Ma, which were likely included more for the drawing power of the cellist than any inherent synergy with the imagery. Naqoyqatsi might be one of those rare soundtracks that works better as an audio-only experience. The film itself is an onanistic orgy of pop culture images: celebrities, wax figures, digital imagery and photoshopped news footage. Using his familiar arpeggiated blocks and luminous lexicon of sounds, Glass connects the images on screen to the human experience, bridging what might be simply a burst of images into a tactile experience. The score, at once alien and familiar, places everything you see in a new and different context that forces you to re-examine it. However, you’d have to be pretty high to stay glued to this for 90 minutes. There are a handful of “a-ha” moments, as when the altered images of West Point cadets transform their chin straps into maniacal smiles, but no big picture emerges from Naqoyqatsi.

TRACK LISTING

  1. NAQOYQATSI
  2. PRIMACY OF NUMBER
  3. MASS MAN
  4. NEW WORLD
  5. RELIGION
  6. MEDIA WEATHER
  7. OLD WORLD
  8. INTENSIVE TIME
  9. POINT BLANK
  10. THE VIVID UNKNOWN
  11. DEFINITION

    All music by Philip Glass

CREDITS

YO-YO MA -- cello solos
MEMBERS OF THE PHILIP GLASS ENSEMBLE -- instruments
MICHAEL REISMAN -- keyboards, conductor

return to PHILIP GLASS discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US October 1, 2002 Sony Classical CD SK-87709  
US October 14, 2003 Buena Vista DVD 3104100  

 

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