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Popol Vuh - In Den Gärten Pharaos CD (album) cover


Popol Vuh



3.98 | 177 ratings

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4 stars Next to ADII Popol Vuh probably would be the KR group that really grabbed me on my first explorations into that sub-genre. Letzte Tage ~ Letzte Nächte is my favorite from the group but here I wanted to try a review of a recent addition to my collection, this one.. Fricke's 1971 album In den Garten Pharaos. A difficult review for me to do for lack of experience with this kind of music. While Popol Vuh is in Krautrock.. this is an electronic album. A field of music I have had little experience with outside of TD and a few assorted album being a bit of rock and roller myself. Nothing gets me off like a treble jacked Rickenbacker bass.. and something tells me that electronic prog wouldn't be my cup of tea. Anyway sometime back. .my friend Victor (Ricochet) recommended a Klaus Schulze album to me. So in practice for that upcoming review.. I figured I start with this album. Will probably do a couple TD next before tackling Schulze.

What drew me into Popol Vuh were the heavy 'ethnic' world music influences that Florian Fricke incorporated into his music. Here on their 2nd album it is done in the arena of electronic music. The original album consisted of two side long tracks.. the 2004 remaster adds 2 previously unreleased bonus tracks..roughly an additional 24 minutes of music to the original album. I notice this album page does not reflect that and will update it after I post the review. Anyhew.. the album begins with the side long title track. Christ is this stuff hard to review. Nice percussion.. bongos or other ethnic percussion type instruments. Some long droning atmospheric moog segments. Much like I can say of several of my Battiato albums.. nothing you will put on while getting revved up for a hot date with that 6ft blond with big tits. More music for kicking back with a smoke in a darkened room or curled up with a good book on a rainy day. Around the 11 minute mark though I did like the change in tempo brought on my the percussion and the nice Moog and synth section there. Was nice after beginning to drift after 10 minutes. The rest of the piece I did like.. especially the electric piano section near the end. Jury rules: not bad .. not bad at all ..but where is the Rickenbacker? hahha. The second piece on the original album is called Vuh. A much more interesting piece to start. It starts with cascading cymbals and what is that.. a droning church organ. Micky loves him some church organ. Well that beginning.. that is what you get for the next rest...well the rest of the track pretty much. The track has a hypnotic trance like quality that is actually quite endearing. Honestly though, if not prepared in a way by the works of Franco Battiato (though different musically obviously) I probably would have never enjoyed either of these pieces of music. There is an art to building an extended piece of music on a simple chord.. note.. or melodic line. Battiato was my introduction to that. Instruments aside.. that is what Fricke and Popol Vuh did here.

The two bonus tracks are called Kha-White Structures 1 and 2. They are said to have been previously unreleased. I have no idea via the liner notes the background on this music. The time-frame recorded.. but obviously.. considering the electronic nature of them. Probably recorded around the same time as the original albums. Structures 1 has a distinct arabic feel to it.. definitely Fricke's world music influences coming to the fore on this. In fact... I really do think I found this one to be my favorite of the album.. even more than the original tracks. Much more going on here... and do like the more obvious world music influence on this one. Structures 2 is a bit more grating on the ears and didn't really dig too much. A high pitched oscillating same pitch synth or Moog tone dominates the track.. for nearly the length of it hahah maybe the studio left the record button on while Florian stepped out for a smoke. Who knows hahaha.

As far as rating the album. For the site.. that is a difficult one... as far as historical import.. Fricke and Popol Vuh were amoung the first to really explore electronic based music so this album does have a certain historical edge to it. However to be blunt.. I know little of the ebbs and flows of electronic music and will hedge my bets and go 4 stars on this. I don't think this album will appeal to many proggers.. but then again.. maybe it will. This group, this album, this kind of music gets little discussion on our site in favor of more 'popular' fare like the pseudo prog of PT or the lite prog of Genesis and Camel. But to be honest. if you think that Genesis was the epitome of prog.. you may not be adventurous enough to dig this music. Though I've love to be proven wrong.. review it.. and tell me what you think. For me 3 stars. Not bad.. enjoyed some parts quite a bit.

Michael (aka Micky)

micky | 4/5 |


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