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Popol Vuh - Seligpreisung CD (album) cover


Popol Vuh


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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars With this fourth album Popol Vuh hits their stride. Conny veit still participates to this album but as a guest but in comes the second most important Popol Vuh member after Fricke"; ex Amon duul II drummer Daniel Fichelscher. Not only will he perform most percussions but he will play guitars also.

As opposed to the previous Hosianna , this is a much more refined and accomplished album that will grow on you at each spinning in your deck. The mystical/spiritual overtones developped in Hosianna are just as strong here but less severe allowing this album to be the perfect make-out-with-your-girlfriend music (for those always stuck with listening to Mariah while getting intimate with the mate , this could be a welcome change;-). Again the highly meditative and contemplative music is very calm and soft on athmospheres but never shallow. The mix between the ethnic (mainly Indian) percussion with fairly solemn but relaxed piano and guitar lines provide a great moment of relaxation. A very even album with no weak spots but no real exceptional track either.

This fourth album although excellent and much recommended is not their best. Go on to the following album and read my review.

Report this review (#31932)
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the best POPOL VUH albums. Everything sounds perfect. The unique and celestial music is relaxed as usual for POPOL VUH. Texts are from the Christian Bible but the music sounds more oriental. Band leader Fricke often had the tendency to fusion Christianity with Oriental spirituality. But this is no new age music. It's folk prog at it's best! Sometimes it also rocks (slightly) thanks to drums and guitar, for example in "Selig sind, die da hungren" but the guitar sound is always clean. Pastoral acoustic passages are very frequent but there is enough diversity to keep the listener satisfied. The only drawback is the album's lenght - only a little less than 30 minutes! However, it's the quality that matters! Recommended for anyone interested in peaceful, pastoral and uplifting prog!
Report this review (#31933)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this album is probably the best prog album I've ever heard. It is very unique and original music, I haven't heard any similar band. Albums original sound consist of interesting piano work, nice electric guitar soloing with clean sound, oboe, cembalo, some acoustic guitar, percussions and celestial german male singing. Oboe is instrument which is rarely heard as an only wind instrument. It fits perfectly. Compositions are evenly brilliant. Album is solid entirety, you have to listen it at the time.
Report this review (#31934)
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is simply celestial. I, being a christian, find this a perfect musical version of the beatitudes. (For those of you who don't know "Seligpreisung" means beatitudes). Even so, if you aren't a christian or a god believer, this is as close as it gets to the music in heaven, or whatever you believe to be a state of total bliss.

In this album we can hear a beautiful clean guitar with nice drumming and the best of all, the oboe. I agree with petterimakiniemi, it fits perfectly.

The only weak point is the length (circa 30 minutes). But then again, if the album were longer maybe it would have some weak points and be a bit repetitive.

Prog desde Guate!

Report this review (#78936)
Posted Sunday, May 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars Great to hear Conny Veit from GILA playing guitar on this one. Florian played on "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" by GILA which was released the same year as this album.This record is the first with Daniel Fischelscher on board, the former drummer for AMON DUUL II, here he drums and plays guitar. Robert Eliscu from BETWEEN adds aboe. Florian would do all the vocals on this one, although there are few. The title of this album means "Songs Of Praise". The players become shadows as it were, so we can all be drawn to God. The music is mainly aboe, guitar and piano melodies.This is the first POPOL VUH album that I ever heard, and having 12 of them now I still feel that this is the best one. It's the one that moves me the most and the one that is the most beautiful.

"Selig Sind Die, Die Da Hungern" opens with piano and cymbals as aboe and reserved vocals come in. I really like the sound after a minute. Percussion comes in. Guitar and drums 3 minutes in. I'm smiling. An absolutely gorgeous track. "Tanz Der Chassidim" opens with a pastoral soundscape that is replaced by a beautiful and fuller sound. Guitar before 2 1/2 minutes to the end. "Selig Sind, Die Da Hier Weinen" opens with piano and aboe. The piano becomes more prominant a minute in then gives way to the aboe. This is moving. The tempo picks up after 3 1/2 minutes as drums and guitar come in. Nice. Vocals 4 1/2 minutes in.

"Selig Sind, Die Da Willig Arm Sind" opens with a dark mood. It brightens as piano, guitar and percussion come in around 1 1/2 minutes. "Selig Sind, Die Da Leid Tragen" opens with ethnic sounds before piano and vocals arrive. Aboe and piano create wonder. Drums follow then the aboe takes the lead as vocals and piano return. Amazing ! Florian starts to sing "Hallelujah" repeatedly. The tempo picks up before 3 minutes. Nice guitar. "Selig Sind, Die Sanftmutigen" is simply transcending. Florian sings Hallelujah over and over as piano and aboe help out. Did you know that Hallelujah means "Praise God" and is the only word that means the same thing in all languages.This is so moving. "Selig Sind, Die Da Reinen Herzens Sind" is mellow with piano and aboe. Vocals come in. It blends into "Ja, Sie Sollen Gottes Kinder Heissen".This does become fuller sounding as drums and guitar join in the celebration to God. The bonus track "Be In Love" features Dyong on vocals and we get some guest violin too.This perfectly fits the theme of this album.

This is one of those rare albums that is able to transport me to a beautiful place. Gorgeous and emotional.Thankyou Florian.

Report this review (#96020)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
5 stars Transcendental kosmische Krautrock

Popol Vuh was actually an old Mayan set of texts surrounding Mesoamerican mythologies and stories much like the Nordic myths that I was brought up with. Personally I feel this ads a great deal of mysticism and originality to a band that really doesn´t sound as anyone else.

Florian Fricke is the main engine behind this band setting the tone and different temperaments with his soft and gentle piano chords- much like a great conductor in front of a vast orchestra. His playing works like a great rhythm guitarist lurking in the background like a comfortable shadow always following you whether you´re running or smoking a cigarette on the corner.

If I was asked to sum up the music of this record in one word, it would be beautiful - however daft and corny that may sound, but this is truly mesmerising in all of it´s splendour. This is achieved largely by democratic ways with all the musicians involved playing TOGETHER as a whole, rather than a great bulk of solos trying to compete with each other. Fluid like a stream, never turning quite simplistic much due to the different layers of instruments, which swirl vividly around like a red dress on Angelina Jolie. I will admit that there is one musician that stands out from the group, and that is Conny Veit who has got to be one of my favourite guitarists. He plays so effortlessly that at times you could swear you were listening to a rainy cloud caressing the strings with a drop or two. Gently gently without ever reducing himself to a fluffy teddy bear imitating Gilmour with a mouth full of churned butter. If you know this guy from Gila (another great kraut band gazillion of light years away from this outing), you might be in for a surprise, as he seems to have dropped his Jimi Hendrix crush for a more mellow and dreamy sound.

I have always had a certain amount of preservations concerning music, that evolves around religion, which is why I don´t care much for Neal Morse. Seligpreisung is indeed a religious album with its Hallelujas and rather celestial aura, but that doesn´t change the fact that is done with such impeccable craftsmanship and imagination, that you could paste it on to anything remotely resembling spirituality, -meaning whether you are a Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Hindu or you indulge yourself in the darker parts of the woods and call yourself a devil worshipper - you´d be hard pressed to NOT feel some sort of soulful attachment.

Seligpreisung is a record that makes you smile. It oozes out of the speakers like giant swooping waves of soothing music, that almost licks your wounds and scars as only your old Labrador from yesteryear could. So beautiful you wanna tear your teeth out.

Report this review (#275738)
Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes. More amazing Popol Vuh. Great melodic, ethereal, meditative, pulsing, cosmic, spiritual music. Interesting mix of Hosianna style meditative ambiance (with Conny Veit's guitar and the clarinet) and more rhythmic melodies characteristic of the direction they were headed (with Daniel Fichelscher's guitar and drumming). Only Fricke's voice here. His voice is nice but perhaps some female vocals would have been nice. Agnus Dei is not quite as good here as on the following Einsjaegar, as it could use more emphasis and fleshing out. The album is beautiful but too short, however, at only 29 minutes!!

Not quite as good as Hosianna Mantra, just slightly less than Letzte Tage Letzte Nacht, about equal to Einsjaeger & Sibenjaeger, and better than Das Hohelied Salomos and Coeur de verre - Herz aus Glas (all of which are amazing).

Let this one grow on you! It had to a bit for me.


Report this review (#286328)
Posted Sunday, June 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Seligpreisung is Popol Vuh 4th album and the 2nd step in Florian Fricke's quest for pastoral beauty and religious spirituality. The beauty is here in places but as it goes with pastoral beauty, it can cause a subdued effect after a while. Also Florian's vocals don't always fulfill their intentions for me. And as to the religious devotion, I'm still waiting for the Holy Spirit to manifest itself.

We're in for a strong start with two excellent pastoral symphonic pieces. The opener rocks slightly more then anything on the preceding album, bringing the slow lazy blues-rock of Pink Floyd's More to mind. Also Tanz Der Chassidim and Willig Arm Sind have stunning moments. And needless to say the subtle guitar playing is wonderful throughout. The second half of the album is dominated by Hallelujahs that don't sound spiritual or divine to me. The music is very gentle, romantic and skillfully arranged, but it just can't evoke the feelings of overwhelming religious praise it is meant to celebrate. It's certainly no match for the preceding Hosianna Mantra.

With an album length of around 30 minutes of which half of the material isn't doing much for me, I can't possibly rate this as Popol Vuh's masterpiece. But I'm clearly alone with this point of view, guess I'm too much of a godforsaken soul to appreciate this work.

Report this review (#308897)
Posted Monday, November 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A musical adaptation of one of the Gospel of Matthew, Seligpreisung is one of the better Popol Vuh albums but feels like a bit of a backward step after the glorious Hosianna Mantra. Florian Fricke takes on the vocal duties himself this time, and although his instrumental work is, as always, excellent as a singer I don't rate him particularly highly. The undistinguished vocal performance is particularly damaging when you consider that Hosianna Mantra had mesmerising vocals from Djong Yun, and I have to say I miss them a lot. Gila's Conny Veit stuck around, however, and does a decent job on guitar here.
Report this review (#506518)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Popol Vuh's Seligpreisung is quite a unique album. I guess I'd say it mostly sounds more similar to their next album Einsjager en Siebenjager than to the previous Hosianna Mantra. It has both somewhat psychedelic "jams" (albeit very natural sounding, with no synths and without much aggression at all) and wonderfully composed melodies complementing each other perfectly. For me Florian Fricke's piano tends to stand out the most, it's constantly so lovely. The occasional oboe adds much beauty, as do the guitars (Conny Veit's solos tend to be understated yet awe inspiring). I get a sense of progression both within each song as each beatitude is being sung (many songs seem to start with just piano and oboe, which are slowly joined by guitars and percussion), and throughout the album, as if with each song the music was slowly ascending towards heaven. The only downside I can think of is that it's pretty short, about 30 minutes, but what a glorious 30 minutes. The bonus track Be In Love is quite lovely as well, with Djong Yun's beautiful voice and a violin, though I don't listen to it as often as I do to the proper album.

All in all, one of the most beautiful albums I've heard. Regardless of the lyrics I would call it a religious or spiritual piece of art, full of a benignant beauty that goes straight to the heart, a masterpiece, five stars.

Report this review (#644786)
Posted Saturday, March 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This book of hours devotes its praises for bliss, continuing partly "Hosianna Mantra"'s musical cycles searching spiritual enlightenment, but focusing now to shorter composed hymns, and also directing more towards European classical musical heritage and psychedelic rock jamming. In my opinion this album also lacks some of the group's potential for epic thematic power, but offers still refreshing moment for willing listeners. Florian Fricke sung on this album as Djong Yun was travelling on time of recording, but she would luckily be returning for the following spiritual music sessions. His voice gives slightly darker tone to the overall sound of the album, but I also found it interesting to hear him to sing. I also felt with my poor German abilities that the lyrics create very important theme to the album, a basis for the music to grow.

The first praise starts with melancholic motives, praising the poor souls suffering hunger and thirst. Florian's skillful piano working is quite on surface here, illuminated by graceful guitar slides. Congas and vocal motives introduce a strong African feeling to the composition, which starts to roll on start of drums relaxingly toward more confident future days. This promise of better world is expressed as sensual dance for loving kindness or piety, however this Hebrew concept should be comprehended. Daniel Fichelscher joined playing electric guitar to this album, and his elegant weeps match perfectly to the near-east resembling acoustic flow of steps, supporting Conny Veit's contribution of creating these unbelievably beautifully sensual sounds for expressionistic steps. Fading out, next praises are dedicated for those who now cry, but shall laugh later. Slightly naďve but sincere melodic themes grow convincingly on emotional levels, proving that in addition of creating ambient textures, Florian was also quite good in composing more traditional classic compositions. Really beautiful oboe solo and characteristically patient maneuvers blow again wind for the sails of more dynamic rock enjoyment, finally silencing with fateful piano chords.

The B-side of the LP start with darker motives, yearning growing from minimalistic shapes towards the heavenly reign. The wanderings trough corridors of mythical ancient forms allowing some powerful monolithic sceneries, but does not lead to any very concrete musical culmination point. However some subtle chiming notes promise solace for those who mourn in their songs, opening gates for rejoicing parade of aural kindness existing rich on the repertoire of involved musicians. This song is also tied more strongly to the following praise of gentle souls, who shall inherit the earth. The change is actually quite unnoticeable trough match of notes on piano and guitar. This mantric piano cycle is along with the second song's dancing the high points for me on the record, separating themselves from the certainly pleasant waving displays of spiritual faith, the caressing constant presence which dominates the album. The praises for the pure hearted observed by god starts the end of the album with quiet anticipations, concluding to the powerful melody theme of "Agnus Dei", ascending the steps of faith to the heavens. This theme is also familiar from the forthcoming carpet closer for the impressive movie Cobra Verde by Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski.

These quite interesting religious songs contain the pleasantness of Popol Vuh's musical language, but some parts of the album do not feel to create very solid flow on sonic continuity. On some moments the album left an impression of kind hymns just bunched together, but on some moments, especially on the first side of the album, the songs produce more coherent dramatic experience. Very well considered compositions and beautiful emotions all together, but not in my opinion reaching the potential of intensity Florian and his friends were able to create on the arena of divine musical epochs. An albumful of spiritual kindness for those needing a refreshing praises, and I guess one can abolish a servant of satan or an average secular cool kid from the house by spinning this record on the turntable.

Report this review (#802618)
Posted Friday, August 10, 2012 | Review Permalink

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