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Popol Vuh - Kailash CD (album) cover


Popol Vuh



3.07 | 8 ratings

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3 stars The legendary Kraut band POPOL VUH was practically a moniker of one musician and composer, Florian Fricke, who passed away in 2001. This posthumous set of two cd's and a dvd contains a selection of solo piano tracks recorded between 1972 - 1989 and an unnarrated travelogue film shot in Tibet by Fricke and Frank Fiedler, plus its soundtrack.

I'll start with latter, the title work Kailash, subtitled Pilgrimage to the Throne of Gods. Strangely I don't find anywhere on this set the information revealing WHEN the film and the music were done, but it really is timeless, in a way. Listened to individually without the film, the music for Kailash (named after a Tibetan mountain) makes one think how spiritual person Florian Fricke must have been. The instrumental music, at times coloured by local chant-oriented music, is in a word meditative. The Austrian artist Gandalf has done rather similar sort of New Age-y, spiritually felt music. Safe to say that a listener without any sympathy towards New Age music will get pretty bored if not falling asleep.

The 53-minute film is mostly a work of amateurs and it's not attempting to be any fancier than it is, with a bit shaky camera runs and such. It's a harmonic and unhurried view on Tibet, its nature and people who undoubtedly live the way their ancestors have lived for centuries. Nature, harmony, divinity. Without personally wishing to visit there, I must admit the local people seem to be quite happy and free of social troubles. Speaking of the music (other things heard on the film are minimal, for example no speaking at all), it becomes somehow more trivial and almost unnoticed. I borrowed the set from library and I have no interest for a second viewing or listening.

The first disc featuring eight solo piano pieces is musically more enduring and satisfying. According to liner notes, "with the background of a classical composer, it was one of Florian's late wishes to release 'piano only' recordings". The pieces are very calm and introvert. They have a spiritual simplicity comparable to the music of Arvo Pärt. Perhaps Erik Satie could be mentioned too, although Fricke's spacey minimalism is less melodic and much more serious and introvert on mood. Some pieces are studies for Popol Vuh tracks on albums such as Hosianna Mantra (1973). This set can be recommended to a dedicated fan, but its musical appeal remains very minor for others.

Matti | 3/5 |


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