ON LOCATION

Andrea Covington reviewed the Times Zones Festival 1998 in Molfetta, Italy for The Wire.
Here she writes about the performance by Popol Vuh: 

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The festival opened in rural seaside Molfetta with Florian Fricke’s Popol Vuh performing a sound/vision installation titled Good Rooms 1-5. Popol Vuh’s soundtrack work for film directorWerner Herzog and their early Moog explorations might have changed shape, but the primary ethos remained firm in the Good Rooms piece.
Fricke’s unwavering interest in sound frequencies and the human response they produce here translated into the installation’s philosophical textures and atmospheres. The Good Rooms theme derives from Fricke’s interest in the Orpheus legend and Julian Jaynes’s discovery of a neural lobe, whcih is sensitive to frequencies between 2000 and 5000 hertz - the frequencies of singing cicadas and bees - though it is practically dormant in modern man.
Transforming the ancient casbah surrounding Molfetta’s byzantine church into ‘rooms ‘, the installation was designed to stimulate the hallucinatory centre, as the audience proceeded through the streets at night, experiencing the series of projections and sounds (all programmed to within 2000-5000 hertz). The piece was designed to emphasise the lobe‘s potential rebirth through heightening the senses. “You have to listen very hard to understand, what is this?” Fricke said. “With the visual loops there’s no direct story so you have to look! We want to sharpen your vison and audio senses.”
Above the cobblestone streets, video monitors screened images of larvae and Orpheus (represented in a projected fresco surounded by the insects in Jayne’s research) scored with the sound of cicadas and bees. Culminating in a church courtyard, the final confrontation was with Fricke’s 50 piece Human Race Choir, which hummed vocal lines derived from the composer’s research. The setting and the intentions couldn’t have been more atmospherically engineered, but the crowd’s confusion negated the sensory confrontation Popol Vuh were aiming for.

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From: The Wire, 177, november 1998