Philip Glass, Koyaanisqatsi

17 febrero 2009 | |

Ko.yaa.nis.qatsi (from the Hopi language), n. 1. Crazy life. 2. Life in turmoil. 3. Life disintegrating. 4. Life out of balance. 5. A state of life that calls for another way of living.

I had happened upon Philip Glass, strolling along upper Broadway, and he invited me in to hear some new music. He dropped the cassette into his player and turned up the volume. A solemn passacaglia scored for the deepest registers of the organ began, gradually augmented by churchy arpeggios. Finally, an impossible dark, sepulchral voice began to sing/croak the Hopi word Koyaanisqatsi (Ko-YAWN-is-SCOTS-ee).
I was impressed; it was like nothing else I'd ever heard, not even from Glass. "This is music that might conceivably have been written at any period in history," Glass explained as the movement progressed. "I find this sort of 'ahistory' very interesting. The harmonies are spare and consonant, the arrangement is starkly simple. And yet it's new, don't you think?"

Tim Page

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