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


Popol Vuh



3.98 | 176 ratings

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4 stars Legendary progressive title, essential to a good collection

Truly an important recording both in the history of progressive music and the personal history of Popol Vuh. Two breathtaking side-long pieces of complex and compelling music are presented which balance the electronic genre with organic percussion and also contrasts feelings of oppression with those of peacefulness. You will often read words like "droning" or "hypnotic" in reviews of this album and while I understand the choice of words, the music here has enough going on to keep me in focus. It's not quite meditative to me in the way Eno's a slightly different space that never wants to let you get too comfortable. I certainly understand Micky's comments about the difficulty in reviewing this album as it is really tough to find the words to describe the experience; it just has to be heard.

In The Gardens Of Pharao: Water. Darkness. Motion. Tranquil unease. The contrast of peaceful environmental sounds with the eerie, unpredictable electronica sum up this monstrous space electronic recording. These strange other-worldly synth sounds remind me a bit of the feelings I get watching "2001 A Space Odyssey" in that they convey such depth and mystery. The piece unfolds not unlike Eno or Schulze tracks with seemingly repetitive structures, but then pulls it straight to Earth with the amazing percussions so you end up with a little tug of war over direction. Later in the piece Florian adds the e-piano lending the latter portion a touch of brightness. It's a marvelous adventure in musical motion that should thrill fans of early space/electronic music.

Vuh: The sound of spirit. Huge, awe-inspiring sustained organ you don't just hear, you feel. Recorded in a Cathedral the effect is very dramatic, stunning, and difficult to find words for. Mysterious voices and other distant samples are present along with intermittent percussion and cymbal washes. This track is less peaceful than the first because the percussion becomes so intense almost as if there is some great battle taking place. When it finally breaks after many minutes there is a palpable sense of relief as you get a break before it returns for a bit more. The great organ has never simply radiates for 20 straight minutes and yet is never boring. That is the real beauty of this track: it is active listening music that allows those paying attention to simply lose themselves in the maze. In the final minutes the percussion and cymbals cease for good and you hear the strange voices again as the piece fades. Truly a spiritual experience.

One of the greatest of the Popol Vuh cannon and essential to a thorough progressive music collection. There are Japanese minis of these classic PV albums which are well worth your time and cash. This one is a great place to start.after this Fricke would alter the sound by dropping the electronics. As great as the later stuff is, it is sad that he turned his back on this kind of experimentation. As someone noted on another site, Florian immersed in spirituality after this album spending years trying to capture his faith in music.the irony being that this "pre-religion" work is perhaps his most spiritually fulfilling album. Over 4 stars.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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