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Popol Ace / Popol Vuh - Popol Vuh CD (album) cover

POPOL VUH

Popol Ace / Popol Vuh

 

Crossover Prog

3.75 | 45 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars True gem from the 70s .

I always feel excited whenever I'm listening to music which was written in the 70s which practically most of them has some prog elements in it. At that time I did not know the term "progressive" yet and any rock music was just "rock" - no further categorization which one fall under which category. I just accepted whatever flew into my ears and try to digest it. As for the case with Popol Vuh, I was not aware about this album at that time. The first time I knew about the band was a compilation cassette produced by our local music magazine which was very famous, i.e Aktuil. The cassette was labeled "Rock Vibration 2" with the opening track "Music Box" by Popol Ace. Wow! This track had blown me away at first spin. I started to wonder who this band was and found practically nothing. Hello, it was 70s, my friends! There was no internet and information was not distributed in proper way. Only decades later - I think it was 2000 or 2001 I found this album. Oh, finally I found vintage band Popol Vuh / Ace!

As a classic album, my first impression about listening to this one was the quality of "sound" that really represents the true sound of the seventies: high mid range, truncated bass and treble sound. This kind of sound is of course sub-standard as compared to modern recording technology like Porcupine Tree's albums, for example. But this classic sound creates a unique touch of the past.

Classic Rock meets Symphonic Prog

"Hunchback" represents the band experimentation with combined styles of classic rock and symphonic prog. The opening part reminds me to the music of Khan "Space Shanty" backed with excellent vocal of Jahn Teigen which is similar to John Lawton (Lucifer's Friend, Uriah Heep). This also uses mellotron / long sustain keyboard as background. What surprises me is that this track has excellent flute work as excellent as Thijs Van Leer of Focus. The interesting part of this track is when there is a narration just before the song ends. The music of this album is very similar in nature from one track to another. "All We Have Is The Past", for example, is in similar style with others. Performed in relatively slow tempo, the interlude part reminds me to the structure of King Crimson's "I Talk To The Wind". I think the flutework that makes me think that way. The vocal style reminds me also to PFM especially in "Chocolate Kings" album.

This band also good in combining various instruments to build a compelling nuance of the music created. "For Eternity" may fall into this category. With nice introduction of acoustic guitar and keyboard, this track moves in crescendo from long acoustic guitar - keyboard duets. The opening part reminds me to the psychedelic adventures, supported with ambient and nice melody. It also gives symphonic nuance that brings beautifully into lyrical verses. The first singing part gives a nuance similar to seventies music like Trapeze (Glenn Hughes band prior to joining Deep Purple). I like the interlude part with two guitars play intertwiningly with the support of mellotron work. Oh yeah, you might sense an influence of King Crimson as well right here with this track.

Do you know Dutch blues band Livin' Blues who had its glory days in seventies? Or Climax Chicago Blues Band? If so, listen to track 4 "Leaving Chicago" and you would have a great joy of the seventies music. The combination of rock'n'roll singing style, southern rock guitar sound (which sometimes being played in sliding technique) and piano work gives a nice harmony in happy-go-lucky mood. It's a simple track with nearly no prog elements at all - but it's enjoyable.

If you really love vintage rock .

.this album is definitely yours. You would get everything you might expected: the sounds of the seventies that you might have been longing for; especially if you never heard this album before. You would be brought by the music into the seventies nuance and it might reminds tyou to bands like King Crimson, Livin' Blues, Climax Chicago Blues Band or even Trapeze (especially "Medusa" album). If you get used to modern prog music, you might still be able to enjoy this album. I leave it up to you to decide but I humbly say that this album is an excellent addition to any rock music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |

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