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POPOL VUH

Krautrock • Germany


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Popol Vuh biography
Florian Fricke was born by Lake Constance in 1944. From 1959 till 1963 he studied music in Munich, where he was a pupil of Rudolph Hindemith (Paul Hindemith's brother). At the age of 25 he became acquainted with the Moog synthsizer which leads him to form his band POPOL VUH. This name and inspiration come from the holy book of Guatemala's Quiche Indians. Historically, Popol Vuh's "Affestunde" (1970) is the first experimental rock release entirely built around the Moog Synthesiser (with the add of percussions to provide a mystical flavour).

In 1971, their second album "In Den Garten Pharaos" keeps on fusing ambient electronic textures with traditional, ethnic instruments, but put the stress on spiritual themes. In 1972, "Hosianna Mantra" marked a turning point in POPOL VUH career by rejecting electronic instrumentations in favour of acoustic elements including a lot of oboe, konga, tamboura accompaniment and female vocals (the Japanese soprano Djong Yun and later Renate Knaup, front woman of AMON DÜÜL II)

In 1974, after the departure of the guitarist Conny Veit (the founder of GILA), Daniel Fichelscher (former drummer of AMON DÜÜL II) becomes an active member of POPOL VUH ethereal and spiritual adventure. Florian Frike's POPOL VUH was also known from a larger audience thanks to the collaboration with the German director Werner Herzog, providing the soundtracks of many of his classic films, notably the hypnotic and reflective "Aguire, Wrath of God", "Heart of Glass"...In 1978, Florian Fricke founded the "working group for creative singing" and became a member of the society of breathing therapy. He holds lectures all over the world on his work in this field.

: : : Philippe Blache, FRANCE : : :

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In Den Garten PharaosIn Den Garten Pharaos
Remastered
Spv U.S. 2004
Audio CD$11.59
$10.99 (used)
Einsjager & SiebenjagerEinsjager & Siebenjager
Extra tracks
SPV 2004
Audio CD$11.59
$7.98 (used)
SeligpreisungSeligpreisung
Remastered · Extra tracks
SPV Recordings 2004
Audio CD$12.47
$12.99 (used)
Hosianna MantraHosianna Mantra
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
SPV Recordings 2004
Audio CD$11.59
$11.52 (used)
AffenstundeAffenstunde
Extra tracks · Import
Hunter 2004
Audio CD$11.59
$17.29 (used)
Das Hohelied SalomonsDas Hohelied Salomons
Spv U.S. 2005
Audio CD$9.71
$16.49 (used)
Bruder Des Schattens: Sohne Des LichtsBruder Des Schattens: Sohne Des Lichts
Spv U.S. 2006
Audio CD$9.70
$9.99 (used)
AguirreAguirre
Spv 2004
Audio CD$11.47
$26.64 (used)
Tantric Songs / Hosianna MantraTantric Songs / Hosianna Mantra
Celestial Harmonies 1992
Audio CD$14.22
$7.93 (used)
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Best Of Popol Vuh Werner Herzog Never Played RARE CD US $9.98 Buy It Now 2h 50m
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POPOL VUH shows & tickets


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POPOL VUH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

POPOL VUH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 53 ratings
Affenstunde
1970
3.97 | 131 ratings
In den Gärten Pharaos
1971
4.22 | 195 ratings
Hosianna Mantra
1972
4.11 | 94 ratings
Seligpreisung
1973
3.98 | 87 ratings
Einsjäger & Siebenjäger
1974
3.70 | 64 ratings
Das Hohelied Salomos
1975
4.15 | 91 ratings
Letzte Tage - Letzte Nächte
1976
2.65 | 22 ratings
Yoga
1976
4.00 | 110 ratings
Aguirre, The Wrath of God
1976
3.77 | 35 ratings
Herz aus Glas
1977
3.96 | 65 ratings
Nosferatu
1978
3.48 | 42 ratings
Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts
1978
3.83 | 26 ratings
Die Nacht der Seele
1979
3.45 | 24 ratings
Sei still, wisse ICH BIN
1981
3.34 | 15 ratings
Agape-Agape Love-Love
1984
2.78 | 9 ratings
Spirit of Peace
1985
2.98 | 12 ratings
Cobra Verde
1987
2.61 | 10 ratings
For You and Me
1991
2.63 | 7 ratings
City Raga
1995
1.74 | 10 ratings
Shepherd's Symphony
1997
2.56 | 9 ratings
Messa Di Orfeo
1999

POPOL VUH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

POPOL VUH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

POPOL VUH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.07 | 34 ratings
Tantric Songs
1981
2.53 | 10 ratings
Fitzcarraldo
1982
3.88 | 5 ratings
Music from the Werner Herzog Films
1982
2.00 | 3 ratings
Gesang der Gesänge
1988
4.84 | 6 ratings
The Best of Popol Vuh
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
Florian Fricke
1991
3.88 | 18 ratings
Hosianna Mantra / Tantric Songs
1991
2.59 | 7 ratings
Sing, for Songs Drive Away the Wolves
1993
3.00 | 3 ratings
Best of Popol Vuh
1993
3.00 | 2 ratings
Movie Music
1994
3.00 | 2 ratings
Soundtracks For Werner Herzog
1996
3.95 | 6 ratings
Nicht Hoch Im Himmel
1998
2.50 | 2 ratings
70s Progressives
2006
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Werner Herzog Soundtracks
2011

POPOL VUH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

POPOL VUH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In den Gärten Pharaos by POPOL VUH album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.97 | 131 ratings

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In den Gärten Pharaos
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars After introducing the world to the possibilities of the Moog synthesizer and the spaced out sonicscapes on their debut album "Affenstunde," Florian Fricke led his unique band POPOL VUH to continue that sound and put out another even more spaced out sprawling two song epic album on IN DEN GÄRTEN PHARAOS (In the gardens of Pharaoh).

What we get here is an ambient morphing sonic sprawl that defies description really. This is highly experimental and consists of only African and Turkish percussion and the Moog synthesizer organ. No guitar, no bass, no weird exotic instruments. The title track has a more energetic percussion line serving as the backbone of the music while the mood of the Moog is simply to simulate a dream state where one is riding the clouds or something. The second track simply titled "Vuh" is a more placid affair but still takes you on a tripped out ride through the ethers.

Despite this album having very little in what I would call musical structure, for some reasons it works quite well. I find that pure ambient albums can be boring more often than not, but the subtle changes that occur on this album seem to be thought out and strategically placed to maximize listening pleasure. I do declare that it works out to be an astonishing success. After this album POPOL VUH would move on to a piano based compositional style and pass the baton of spaced out electronic music to Klaus Schulze who would continue and evolve this ethereal ambiance even further.

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 The Werner Herzog Soundtracks by POPOL VUH album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
2.00 | 1 ratings

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The Werner Herzog Soundtracks
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

— First review of this album —
2 stars A fairly luxurious boxset that features Popol Vuh's music for the different Werner Herzog films that were made over the course of 25 years. Of course, the relation between the Florian Fricke dates from the 60's (they met at art school), but it wasn't untim Aguirre in 76 when the two started an official colaboration, though there were a previous experience in the late 60's. Having four of the five movies which are "featured" here, this writer can more or less judge how pertinent the music was to the movie, whether the OST are fideland relevant to what's to be heard in the actual movies (not very often the case in my experience) and how much of it is really up to Fricke/Popol. Past the lush box that opens from the bottom (hence the risk of dropping the content on the floor), a second desappointment quickly appears... The five booklets of the five individual didipak Cds are exactly the same, thus driving the price uselessly high. For that matter, the content of this booklet is included in the luxurious other booklet, which is much more complete, and talks of Popol Vuh's entire discography until Cobra Verde (their last film together), but nothing going deep.

Aguirre : Of the four Herzog/Popol films I have seen, this one is my fave, but let's face it: Spanish Conquistador speaking German in the middle of the Amazon tropical forest in the early XVIth C does not give much credibility to the film. Otherwise, I've been left with such a lasting impression from this movie that makes it useless to ever see it again. This is the only PV OST that I've ever owned historically, and I was kind of curious when buying it, because the movie was very silent and oppressively so. So I recently revisited the movie, and still haven't found most of the music on the OST. To be quite honest, when I revisited the CD of this boxset (my vinyl was long gone), I still don't know where this music comes from and I don't find it particularly apt to fit the movie itself. The opening celestial-sounding Aguirre could fit the intro and descent into the Green Inferno of the film, the short Inca flute piece could find its place as well. While the Morgengruss piece is close to what Popol was doing on their studio albums, it bears little sonic relation to the Conquistador's flight to extermination of the movie. The second Aguirre piece is starting as celestial, but slowly develops to the usual superb Popol music developped in the official albums. There is nothing oppressive about the music (quite the opposite) that would match the movie's sinister (but hypnotizing) ambiance and storyline. Even the album's artwork bears nothing resembling the movie's universe. The only piece that nears the oppressive and sinister ambiances of the movie is the 16-mins Wärtigung, that sounds more like their early works of Affenstude or In Den Garten. The bonus third Aguirre track returns to the celestial layers of the opening track.

Heart Of Glass: One of the most boring movie ever made, but t least the Euiropean setting for the German-speaking movie is not nearly disturbing as its predecessor. However, this real visual bore happens also to be an immense yawner as far as sound is concerned. Again, the flim features little music - whether part of the story or in terms of ambance setting. So the actual music featured on this "OST" seems to come from unknown heavenly origin (the movie is shot in severe or dastic protestant circles of the XVIIIth C, if memory serves), but we're not far from Fricke Fichelser's usual trippy jammy music with sitar or tambura. Nothing pertinent to the movie, and as the French would say: "du n'importe quoi" (anything goes) or even "du foutage de gueule" (face- screwing scam), IF the music wasn't the usual Popol quality.

Nosferatu : the only movie that I haven't seen in this boxset (never a fabn of dumb vampire myths anyway), so it will be difficult for me to judge , espcially that there is miore than one version of this album, the second being released under the Brüder Des Schattens album of the following year. Don't expect from me a judgment of valor on this album, since I have too little background, but the music is very Popol-esque, though sometimes very slow and calm. Again, most of it is happy and serene, a bit the contrast of the movie's sinister gloom and doom (says the booklet). I am tempted to believe that this OST is like the previous two, not faithfully repecting the movie's sonic reality. But then again, the music is so much better on these first three OST than in the movies (when there is any at all) that one may not care that the it does respect those movie's sonic characteristics or not.

Fitzcarraldo: the first Herzog film I saw at theater release time, and maybe the most accessible of the five here, but again a ggod part of the movie is spoken in German in the heart of the Amazon forest, which causses credibility issues. As for the music on the OST , it's the first time that it is true to the movie's sonics, but there is fairly little of Popol's music in there. Indeed, we're given most of the movie's operette music , even sometimes reprocing the scratchy 78 RPM record player. By this time, Popol's line-up featured three Amon Duul 2 member, including the now-old addition of Fichelscher, but also Renate Knaup and Chirs Karrer; but it's not like you'll be notocing their contributions much, because there is maybe four, max five, tracks (out of 15) that are Popol's. Fitzcaaldo's OST is of little relevance to Popol fans, but much more in Herzog's sphere. This disc is the weak link inside this boxset's about the Popol universe.

Cobra Verde: This might be the last Herzog movie I saw in the theaters, and it was a long mother...er too; and it was mega-ambitious too, if only by the huge crowds featured in the story. Not as accessible as Fitzcarraldo to the mainstream crowds, it again features German text, this time in Africa as well as Brazil. And again, the OST is not really fitting the movie's overal sonics (except for one track called Ziavi), as we're missing all of the tribal dances (which didn't bear Popol's paws anyway). Most of the music from Popol is almost new-age/ambient type, which contrasts with the sometimes very intense and violent and poignant scenes of the movie. Again, this soundtracks doesn't reflect faithfully what I remember from the movie (last sen partially five years ago on TV), but unlike Fitzcaraldo's OST, this is more of a real Popol album.

In conclusion: If you except for the outer packaging, this boxset (released in '11) is nothing new in its content. Indeed, outside the big booklet, the five digipak CDs are the one that were released in '04 to '06 on SPV, and just crammed into this dark blue package to sucker unaware fans into buying the whole thing at once. But once again, this is nothing new as it is again obvious that Popol's musical oeuvre has neen often messed with (re-worked as some would pompously say), and I am kind of totally lost (and disgruntled) by these sometimes dishonest tamperings. Better avoid if you already own the classic Popol album, there is not much new under the sun that these OST can bring to PV's musical universe.

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 Das Hohelied Salomos by POPOL VUH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.70 | 64 ratings

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Das Hohelied Salomos
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by agla

4 stars The band was created thanks to one of the most important figures of Teutonic music, Florian Fricke (who died in December 2001 at the age of 57 years old). The artist is pervaded by spiritual influences, due to travel to the Far East and India, a spirituality that you find in sacred sounds but also classical and Rock. Florian Fricke studied the piano and subsequently made ​​his debut in the musical world with an album of electronic music titled "Affenstunde", but the Popol Vuh born in 1969 in Monaco and it takes three years to compose this first lp.

With the next "in Den gaerten Pharaos" the author moves away from that kind of music, to get into spiritualism human, recording the song along even in a cathedral, followed by other works of Rock religious to reach in 1975. This disc concept inspired by "Song of Solomon" and since the cover you can savor the atmosphere in India which come out in all their splendor, thanks to the siter by Al Gromer and Tabla by Shana Kumar.

This is considered one of the high points of his career Fricke, later also dedicated to the soundtracks of films and film productions.

The tracks on the CD are twelve all imbued with dreamy atmospheres and positive, sometimes attributable to Pink Floyd of "A Saucerful Of Secrets" as the initial "Steh Auf , Zieh Mich Nach Dir" Overall it is a trip of thirty-eight minutes and it's a pleasure to be carried away by the gentle acoustic notes and by the voice of Shana. Who loves Pink Floyd will be fascinated listening to "Du schönste Der Weiber" and "Du Mich Mit Tranke Deinen küssen" but it really is all about the cd that captivates.

A jewel that will delight those who see music as a means of transport, towards spiritual shores where only love reigns and peace of mind.

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 In den Gärten Pharaos by POPOL VUH album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.97 | 131 ratings

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In den Gärten Pharaos
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

5 stars Germany beckons

Florian Fricke is mostly known for the haunting soundtracks he provided for the legendary German film maker Werner Herzog, but what most people fail to realise is the impact he had on the early progressive electronic scene. He would of course never admit to this, but then again Florian never thought his early experimentations with the Moog lll were any good. This was also the main reason for him shapeshifting into the acoustic spiritual powerhouse he became after the release of this bewilderingly stunning album.

In den Gärten Pharaos was thus the last real electronic album of Popol Vuh, before the big Moog responsible for all the magic mayhem and alien sounds, got sold to Klaus Schulze, completely unaware of the awaiting space voyages it was to undertake. On this album you face the instrument in a warped embryonic state. Sharp and electrically chirping around the edges, Florian puts as much emphasis on the jittery quality of the Moog, as he does the beautiful yearning drones that lie waaaay in the back of the chords. Compared to say a vocalist, it would translate into a strange enigmatic form of gargling.

Entrancing, hypnotising and infinitely tribal in their expression, the African drums accompanying the title track do exactly nothing to soothe the avantguarde nature of the synths. Although starting with the most gorgeous watery sounds, it quickly turns into a huffing and puffing beast of cacophonous Moog splashes and galloping rhythms. At this point your subconsciousness has probably left the building, and you're now sweeping deliriously back and forth in a fire-storm of trance inducing music. The real part of the genius though, happens when this raucous unfiltered commotion reaches its final border, the place where music seizes to exist and turns into noise; right there and then a soulful Fender Rhodes releases the piece from all its tensions, and like a colossal mountain of relief the atmosphere elegantly loosens up and develops wings - taking the remainder of the track into unknown heights of beauty.

This is however not an easy listen. The time it takes for you to get to that monumental moment where the waters shift, and you suddenly get melody and concord, - that amount of time will have even the most seasoned music fan growing nervous and unwieldy(that is the point though). I have come to love the bulky tribal feel of it, but first after I realised what it really was: Western raga. This album basically revolves around the same principles as the Indian raga. It's that same insisting tangential force, where music develops as it goes - metamorphosing in the hands of the musicians.

The second cut Vuh is no stranger to this endearing trait, although it comes off decisively more silky. Without the atonality and bumps of the first side, the music now has the opportunity to branch out in these floating airy constellations. Flirting around with the hovering presence of a church organ, Florian guides the listener on a journey through the clouds and beyond. The infusion of a gong and the subsequent addition of dreamy cymbals and subdued tribal drumming, makes the track become otherworldly. This could very well prove to be music from the ancient civilisation of Atlantis...

A lot of different badges are associated with Popol Vuh. Devotional Krautrock, holy music and psychedelic folk are all stickers I've seen thrown at this band, yet Florian himself often used the term Shamanism music. I think I prefer his explanation...

There's no bass, no guitar, no song and, at times, no concord whatsoever. Now how on earth does this album then continue to captivate seekers of experimental music from across the globe? I think it's the trip, pure and simple. It's very seldom you find albums that are all about the trip. Often they get watered down, and re-recorded in order to be more approachable and 'normal'. In den Gärten Pharaos is anything but normal though, and I thank my lucky stars for that. Listening to this record sends me on a thrilling adventure through mind and body. It puts me in a deep trance, and summons all of my most illustrious images of life, nature and the universe - culminating in short glimpses of ecstasy, where goosebumps wash over me like a series of rough tidal waves.

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 Yoga by POPOL VUH album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.65 | 22 ratings

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Yoga
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This album was released without Florian's authorization, recordings being captured from casual playing with Indian musicians in the studio, and pressed to European market's with Popol Vuh name. Sometimes this kind of voyeurism to the recording processes can be interesting, though violating the autonomy of artists record releasing policies. I understood same kind of trick was done for Vangelis on "Hypothesis" recording, revealing some casual playing results outside the context of carefully considered thematic work. This forbidden peak to the Florian's studio reveals two long raga's with delightful sitar and tabla conversations and charming female vocalist's singing, Florian contributing with quite small emphasis through his keyboards. The long durations are not borne however from very long mantric performings, but are edited together from shorter sequences. The classic Indian music tapestry should fit well for casual search of Hinduism feelings or as background music for enjoying vegetarian curry dish. Would have been interesting to hear what Florian might have been able to accomplish with more dedicated project with the anonymous musicians, though this album is quite charming also with the lovely cover arts and everything. Thematically it lacks however the sharp aim found from the earlier official recordings of Popol Vuh.

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 Letzte Tage - Letzte Nächte by POPOL VUH album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.15 | 91 ratings

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Letzte Tage - Letzte Nächte
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by 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.

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 Das Hohelied Salomos by POPOL VUH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.70 | 64 ratings

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Das Hohelied Salomos
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Popol vuh returns to biblical themes by drawing inspiration from the Song of Songs. These ancient love poems were at some point combined to the myths of King Solomon, and thus this Hebrew tradition heritage also as a part of the Old Testament. Musically Florian's and Daniel's piano & guitar driven core is supported again by Djong Yun's voice, and is also strengthened by Indian sitar-tabla duo, creating wonderful world music fusion tapestries for this adorable song from Middle-Eastern legacy. Though these texts can be interpreted from different religious and political viewpoints, I believe Florian approached them as ultimate dedications for human loving. The blossoming album covers introduce well the theme of earthly paradise for man and woman, relating with its visual appearance to the Garden of Eden of Genesis, and also containing both allegorical and concrete sceneries of vineyards and nature's fertile richness.

On the first side "O fairest of women" standing forth for being observed, is revealed with powerful mystical sonic displays, leading to a romantic hymn of weaving guitars trough the more vividly twisting amplified opening track. The vocal presence is also now stronger than on the earlier record "Einsjäger & Siebenjäger". Oriental sound textures merge wonderfully to the guitar and percussive driven sounds, allowing glimpses to similarly holy and sensual visions. Both album sides culminate to an impressionistic still life of King Solomon, centralizing as the kind king reining the kingdom for supreme praises of feminine adorations. The first evocation of the Son of Salomon is encircled by some sort of visions of moonlit alleys. I believe these parts describe the dreams of poem's maiden searching her lover from the nocturnal streets. On the first dream she finds him, the wedding progressions leading to first encounter of the son of David, and the second dream denies her lover's discovery, leaving her alone with the city guards. The first vision of Solomon flows with most sacred solemnity, reaching ultimate heights of sanctity trough weeps of guitar and divine singing, the night visions around him being first quite fearful, second run escaping to joys of on drum supported rock melody explorations, thus possibly studying the tale from reverse chronology.

On the second side of the album the winter has passed after the night's dream sequences, the rains being over and gone. Indian tabla and sitar dialogue is introduced here to the music, exploding as really euphoric all-loving tonal art expression. The blossoms of poetic genius bloom on the descriptions of lively vineyards, representing the fair woman appreciated; "How much sweeter is your love than wine", these lyrics hovering on the wings of truth towards the infinity. The second apparition of King Solomon might be seen as governor of these vineyards and lands, the holy grandiose theme studied now both trough the licks of the sitar and full presence of the orchestra repertoire, embodying as a powerful mythic oriental colossus, protecting the gardens of love with firm soul of kindness. Instead of governing vineyards and the lands, the mortal male character of the poem is satisfied the vineyard being the woman of his love; "You drink me with your kiss", closing the record with the ecstatic determination of rolling forward on the path of life, blessed with gift of love's bounds.

I consider this clearly thematic album as musically masterful accomplishment, culminating the spontaneous musical ideas to more concrete end result than on the few earlier recordings. It can certainly be rejoiced as earthly or spiritual sensation, still in my opinion honoring the ancient traditional concept aiming to the kind loving aspects of mankind, refreshingly instead the usual mad violent dreams of megalomania. Also the minor discontinuity of spontaneous musical realizations through fade-ins and outs flow here more smoothly than on the earlier record, maybe due more powerfully dominating presence of loving adoration on the sonic aims, the general calmness of the whole album, and by support of clearer record theme. I would recommend especially this album along with "Hosianna Mantra" from Popol Vuh's wonderful album repertoire for those in need of healing freely flowing progressive rock music.

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 Einsjäger & Siebenjäger by POPOL VUH album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.98 | 87 ratings

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Einsjäger & Siebenjäger
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This album is practically a duo work by Florian Fricke and Daniel Fichelscher, both portrayed together in the back side of the LP, Djung Yun visiting only in few occasions for the celestial vocal parts. I understood from an interview that the recording methods with Daniel grew to a philosophy of having only one take for the songs, and mixing all singular recordings to the album. If so, I guess this would capture the true intuition of the playing moment to the records, but might also partly explain the slightly fragmentary feeling left from the first side of the album. The characteristic musical reference to the ancient cultures shimmer powerfully from the short war fanfare opening, which sticks in repetitive mantric loops of guitar and keyboards. The music on the album is transcendental as ever, but the themes are not drawn from religious vocabulary, but instead directing to Greek mythology, in spite of the record's Japanese-styled archer drawing on the cover. The sonic presentation of King Minos is positive and delightful exploration in quite rock-basis emphasized flight over royal pastures of Crete. Powerful crashes of cymbals give interesting divine shimmer to the rhythmic pulse, strengthened by more subtle percussions, and forming a fine basis for the multilayered guitar driven improvisations circling around the solitary key note. "Morgengruß" greets the dawn with gentle acoustic guitar layers, caressing a tender solo from amplified guitar, and setting the scenery for gambling sequence of "Würfelspiel". Piano and flute are emphasized on this track balancing the guitar presence, having also lovely melodies and fine rhythmic arrangements with drums. I also believe that in spite of the stronger rock association of drums, there is no bass guitar on the album, lower notes being played from the piano, and this giving another peculiar tone to the record's sound. The first side closes to slow grandiose visions of Promised Land, its illuminations carefully lingering on the piano keyboards, leading to the familiar ascension theme from previous "Seligpreisung" album's "Agnus Dei", this being certainly some sort of leitmotiv of spiritual climax for Florian.

The title track of the album occupies the whole B-side of the LP, and conjures an epic tale with Djung's vocals uniting the beautiful piano chords and waves of drum plates on the soothing opening sequence. The still scenery starts to wave with motion, and guitars join this delightful quest for sounds with the tom drums. I think the rock elements which burst on bloom on the earlier album have merged here pleasantly to the ethereal acoustic charms discovered on the monumental masterpiece "Hosianna Mantra". This synthesis of sounds wander here relaxed from one theme to another, flowing with prosperous logics and allowing the mental states flying on the wings of angels, being along with second album's "Vuh" one of the personal major highlights on Popol Vuh's recordings. I tried to decipher the possible meaning for the name of this wonderful song and album title with the clue from King Minos. Following the tales and myths related to him, one hunter could be Theseus, sent among seven men to the labyrinth of Minotaur, and slaying this mythic beast. Other possibility might be Orion, whom Zeus, the father of King Minos, set as seven stars to heavens for forming this singular star constellation. I most possibly go wrong with these guesses, but studying these matters from the history books might be one pleasant activity whilst listening to this enlightening album. Also anybody allergic to religious references can approach this album more easier than several other Popol Vuh albums.

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 Seligpreisung by POPOL VUH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.11 | 94 ratings

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Seligpreisung
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator 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 naïve 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.

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 In den Gärten Pharaos by POPOL VUH album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.97 | 131 ratings

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In den Gärten Pharaos
Popol Vuh Krautrock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars On time of writing, this is the earliest album of Florian Fricke's Popol Vuh recordings which I have managed to find, so I have not been able to observe the complete musical development of the late master behind these mystic spiritual compositions. The A-side of the record is the residing place for the title track; The archaic melodies on nature soundscapes and ambient tapestries "In den Gärten Pharaos" illustrate a psychic landscape, leaning more to primitive abstractions than the forthcoming more concretized and firmly shaped compositions. However even here, in my opinion characteristically, with subtle melodies and tonal textures Florian achieves similarly melancholic and sanguine feeling, correlating with religious context of his work. Holger Trülzsch's ancient drumming increases the associations with mythological visions of ancient Egypt, and the sound collage has calmness and duration allowing pleasant meditative listening. Also as African drums were an element on early Jade Warrior records, people liking them and open sound expressionism escaping rock context might enjoy this song. The later moments of the song conclude to relaxed gliding on electric piano's soothing notes and electronic shades.

The B-side's "Vuh" was the culmination point of this album for me, and as a solitary musical work a masterpiece. I read from an interview that this song was performed in a church, capturing the grandiose of pipe organs and proper energies for artwork creation. Similarly I understood that realizations with the sounds from Moog experimentations and this song's organic creating method gave Florian impulse to search the divine beauty from acoustic instruments. According the following records which I have heard, I believe he found a prosperous path, and these grandiose melodic maneuvers rise firmly with singular melodic basis and with massive force as to lift up the pillars of heaven. The experimental approach for music morphs the structural classical harmonic procedures of classic European tradition as misty shades of the creation, building bridges of yearning from today's underground ambient movements to the ancestral origins of ancient raw power. Synthesis of contrasting artistic methods may allow possibilities for birth of new charming directions, and the classical music background merging with tribal archaism in the scene of German electronic ambient days offer this shapeless gem for our adoration. The aspect of ancient heritage is mostly shimmering trough vast layers of cymbals and percussions, working as integral element instead of minor sound color provider. Though the first side of the LP did not impress me totally, the second side certainly has grown to my most sacred musical experiences on the personal voyage of listening, and which possibly was a part of sincere search of truth trough the methods of music.

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