ko.yaa.nis.katsi (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.
Koyaanisqatsi is a groundbreaking 1982 motion picture essay which looks at modern life and its imbalances.
It was directed by Godfrey Reggio, with music composed by Philip Glass and cinematography by Ron Fricke. The movie was a cult hit and has proven to be very influential, vaulting Glass to a peak of public awareness and establishing a audiovisual language that’s been mined by others ever sense.
It was the first film in a trilogy which was followed by Powaqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002). The trilogy depicts different aspects of the relationship between humans, nature, and technology.
Music credits, beyond Philip Glass include: Kurt Munkacsi, who produced & recorded Koyaanisqatsi; conductor Michael Riesman; and Music Director & Additional Music Michael Hoenig.
Koyaanisqatsi is one of Glass’s classics. He established a new vocabulary for scoring films, demonstrating that minimalist music could be accessible and create a wide range of textures, moods and emotions. Glass also incorporated synthesizer into a classical ensemble in subtle ways that sound as good now as they did in 1982.