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Popol Vuh - Hosianna Mantra CD (album) cover


Popol Vuh



4.17 | 337 ratings

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4 stars 4.5 stars. The third album in Popol Vuh's discography is a sudden left turn compared to the previous two albums, Affenstunde & In Den Gärten Pharaos. For Hosianna Mantra, band leader Florian Fricke decided to ditch the synthesizers that made up their previous albums and move to more natural instruments. What made him do this is still unknown, yet it's a welcome change.

Instead of being electronic, Hosianna Mantra is more like twentieth century chamber music. It is made modern by its use of electric guitar. Conny Veit from the band Gila provides twelve-string and electric guitar, and his playing is very impressive, especially on the title track (it is because of this album that I listened to Gila's first record). Of course Florian is as great as ever, opening the album with the energetic piano piece, "Ah!". From this first track, it is obvious that the album will be taking on a classical influence. "Kyrie" introduces the soprano vocalist, Djong Yun, who has an ethereal voice. She unfortunately only sang on a few albums with Popol Vuh and only one single release of her own. After that, very little is known about her. It's a shame because she is immensely talented.

Next is the title track, a 10-minute journey. Here is where Mr. Veit's guitar shines, with accompanying vocals, piano, and oboe. The song ends similarly to how it begins, with a solo played on cembalo. These first three tracks make up side one of the album, known as "Hosianna-Mantra." If listened to on Vinyl, you would flip over to side two, titled "Das V. Buch Mose." Here the mood is more meditative. "Abschied" starts the medley with guitar and oboe. It is a very beautiful piece that evokes morning when the sun is rising. It is as much a morning song as Edvard Grieg's "Morning Mood." The next track, "Segnung" opens with a short motif that is repeated later on as "Andacht." After this intro, the track soon resembles side one, with its instrumentation. There is not much I can say about "Andacht" other than it serves as an interlude between songs.

Next is "Nicht Hoch Im Himmel", with a ghostly lead voice and piano. Here is where Djong Yun is really able to show what her voice can do. This song is less eventful in comparison, and is also quieter. By this time, the album has slowed down. I can appreciate the atmospheric quality, but I find myself not returning to it as much. The reprise of "Andacht" ends the original album, however, there is another track that I think is essential to this album. The single release of Djong Yun contained "Du Sollst Lieben" & "Ave Maria." The latter is included on the 2004 CD reissue, and is an amazing piece of music. This song brings the album to a spiritual high-point that "Andacht" just can't do.

I know I have written an essay on this album so far, but it must be done. This music is meditative without being sappy. Spiritual without being preachy. The only downside I can think of is that you kind of need to be in the right mood for something as "New Age" as this. If you're a lover of Ambient music, that shouldn't be a problem. I won't say Hosianna Mantra is essential, since it is for a niche audience. It is however, a highly recommendable recording of music for fans of Ambient, Classical, or even World music.

thebig_E | 4/5 |


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