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Popol Vuh - Letzte Tage - Letzte Nächte CD (album) cover

LETZTE TAGE - LETZTE NÄCHTE

Popol Vuh

 

Krautrock

4.15 | 91 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album focusing its concerns of the "Final Day - Final Night" moves drastically from the overwhelmingly peaceful elevating territories of earlier albums towards darker moods. "Der grosse Krieger" counterbalances the small war opener of "Einsjäger & Siebenjäger" with a much greater conflict, illustrated trough dramatic weaving of guitars from several channels, knitting a melancholic memorial carpet of collapsing cities. Heavier assault from drums and vast instrumentation layers enforce the impact of this great apocalyptic scenery, and also introduces harder musical approach to the lighter acoustic tones dominating earlier records. The confrontation scene leads to dual compositions contemplating "How near is the path below" and "How far is the path above". First impression to this perspective is granted trough mythic orientalism from dark shades of archaic percussions. Fatalistic theme of guitar creeps closer, persisting quite long on the stalking phase, until released to glide to the vast lands of imagination, allowing optimistic choices being seen in the horizon for the first time. Second illumination introduces the album's key mantra "Haram dei Raram dei Haram dei Ra", which I believe might refer to "The most sacred holy sanctuary of sun" (or something similar). The chant borne from tribal acoustic textures opens as wonderfully rolling acid rock passage, signaling an unchangeable fatalistic truth from its monolithic persistence. The first album closes to more calmer hymn "In Your hands", returning to the more soothing light orientalist fusion sounds familiar from the earlier 1970's recordings of Popol Vuh, and giving promises of hope with its elevating closing chords.

The second side of the LP starts with "Kyrie", not repeating the melody from "Hosianna Mantra"'s similarly named composition. I believe the singing is started here by Djong Yun and later joined by Renate Knaup, together forming a chorus which starts rising powerfully from the beginning's piano basis, shifting emphasis to guitars and gaining unearthly power for its call. Return to the "Haram Dei" mantra leads to a visionary sight, guiding towards the correct path in darkness trough the shimmer from krautrock treadmills of drum enforced evangelistic assault. The conclusion of the final day rolls guided by the faith familiar from the first side's closing, fulfilling the healing potential of the marvelous group, and leading to the universal answer of love. The lyrics from the few last songs are also sung in English, though the titles are written in German to the album sleeve. So though the record's theme is about the absolute end of earthly existence, it however leads towards spiritual hope of continuity, relying on promises of unseen lands, the potential of loving and the justice of holy creator. Musically the record is also more harmonious than some of the earlier Fricke / Fichelscher albums, and reaches ultimate climaxes of spiritual experience from heavier approach, which was earlier succeeded from more quiet paths of piety on "Hosianna Matra". I got an opportunity to hear the bonus tracks of 2005 released SPV CD version, which provide pleasant glimpses to possible omitted takes and longer edits from the album sessions, being interesting, but not necessary for the core experience of the original album. An album, which I consider along the finest recorded by this extraordinary group, enlarging also the mental and tonal palette of Popol Vuh by introducing heavier approach to the musical language of Florian and his musician friends.

Eetu Pellonpää | 5/5 |

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