2011 five CD collection from the German Krautrock band containing their soundtracks to five Werner Herzog films (Aguirre, Heart of Glass, Nosferatu, Fitzcarraldo and Cobra Verde) housed in a high-end limited edition box. In addition, this exclusive box set contains a 96 page-strong booklet designed by International DoubleStandards Berlin including unseen footage and images, conflating the world of both Popol Vuh and Werner Herzog through the soundtracks to some of Herzog's most acclaimed early feature films.
The story goes that composer Carter Burwell owes his fortuitous, ongoing collaboration with the filmmaking's Brothers Coen to one crucial requirement: he worked cheap. But the Coens' low-budget film noir debut, Blood Simple (which also launched the career of cinematographer-turned-director Barry Sonnenfeld), certainly got the best of the bargain, a wonderfully less-is-more score highlighted by a compelling solo piano theme. For the Coens' next film, Raising Arizona, a darkly goofy kidnapping-themed comic vehicle for Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter, Burwell veered bravely into the ozone, mixing heavily Gothic organ, soaring sopranos, bluegrass banjo, whistlers, synths, yodelers, and samples of what sounds like a tin can being kicked down the longest hill in the world into a delightfully heady farrago that recalls Morricone at his most mischievous.
This two-fer release from Varèse Sarabande pairs two of the more influential and interesting horror soundtracks of the slasher-film era. Charles Bernstein's score to Wes Craven's 1985 slasher cult classic A Nightmare on Elm Street is very much a product of its time, eschewing traditional orchestral approaches while employing state-of-the-art synthesizers and sound effects to convey the horror of Craven's suburban dreamscapes. Bernstein's unsettling cues utilize technology to strong effect, creating sinister atmospheres that effortlessly communicate the threat posed by the film's ghoulish antagonist, Freddy Krueger. The inorganic, dehumanized tones produced by the composer's synthesizers underscore the narrative's detachment from waking reality. That said, taken on its own terms the music is more than a little dated. While the best Hollywood scores boast a timelessness that transcends their origins, A Nightmare on Elm Street is immediately recognizable as a product of the mid-'80s, and whether that's a positive or a negative is left to the listener to determine.