6

Philip Glass: Visitors

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Philip Glass: Visitors One of the most important, interesting and intriguing relationships in the world of film is the one shared by a director and composer. As is known, music is an important component of cinematic identity where many film makers that are considered to be "authors" would have lost their recognizability and allure if they didn't work with the same composers time and again. One of the most celebrated working relationships between a director and a film composer is that of director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. Reggio and Glass have worked on four films together, creating some of the most enduring match-ups of image and music, the Qatsi trilogy and Anima Mundi.

Especially with Koyaanisqatsi (1983, Antilles/Island), this mix of somber vocalize and bubbling electronics perfectly suited Reggio's blend of panoramic nature photography and speeded-up images of modern urban life. The film was an examination of the predatory attack of the civilized world without the use of dialogue or narration. Glass's music was a key part of the film's impact and the soundtrack album was a powerful work in its own right. Eleven years since their last joint effort Naqoyqatsi (2002, Orange Mountain Music), there comes another masterpiece titled Visitors.

Godfrey Reggio is a genius who approaches film making in a special kind of way that elicits different and thoughtful magic experiences for the viewers. Visitors is a black-and-white portrait of humanity viewed through the eyes of another animal, in this case a lowland gorilla named Triska. The film forces the audience to look at themselves as they watch the film, and to see how humans are just as strange from an outside perspective as other creatures are to us. And Reggio manages to convey meaning and simultaneously hold people's attention only by using images, editing and music.

Glass' score, as seen before, creates magical empathy with the images, and in a very direct way it illuminates Reggio's vision. Since he has been working closely with the director for many years, his music is inseparable from the breathtaking images the director has created throughout the years, and for this film Glass received a credit as a co-author together with Reggio and Jon Kane, the film's producer.

The soundtrack bears many of Glass' easily identifiable traits and signatures, but it is more atmospheric and ethereal than his previous scores for Reggio's films. The themes in these six compositions evolve slowly, and the orchestra plays long sustained melodies with occasional repetitive motifs and slowly evolving variations on a theme. There is plenty of activity in the undercurrents where melodies seductively float in and out of audibility. As with any other Glass composed soundtrack, so does Visitors stray far from traditional scoring. Still, it is a very soothing listening experience that easily holds the attention for so long.

This music easily stands up on its own merits when divorced from any association to the film itself. On one hand it is an example of soundtrack craftsmanship at its finest, and on the other, it is another great chapter in Reggio and Glass' thriving creative partnership.


Track Listing: Novus Ordo Seclorum; The Day Room; Off Planet, part1; Off Planet, part 2; Gone; The Reciprocal Gaze

Personnel: Kurt Munkacsi: music and soundtrack producer; Michael Riesman: conductor; score performed by Bruckner Orchester Linz

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Orange Mountain Music | Style: Classical


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Fierce Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Fierce Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "We Are The World" CD/LP/Track Review We Are The World
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Brass Tactics" CD/LP/Track Review Brass Tactics
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Vortex Generation Mechanisms" CD/LP/Track Review Vortex Generation Mechanisms
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "Pomona" CD/LP/Track Review Pomona
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!