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Popol Vuh


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Popol Vuh On The Way To A Little Way album cover
3.99 | 99 ratings | 8 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mantra I (6:14)
2. Morning Sun Rays (3:20)
3. Venus Principle (4:39)
4. Mantra II - Choir (5:22)
5. The Way (4:49)
6. Through Pains To Heaven II (3:37)
7. To A Little Way (2:32)
8. Zwiespräche Der Rohrflöte Mit Der Sängerin (3:42)
9. Die Nacht Der Himmel (4:03)
10. Der Ruf Der Rohrflöte (3:21)

Total Time: 41:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Daniel Fichelscher / electric & acoustic guitars, percussion
- Florian Fricke / piano, Moog

- Alois Gromer / sitar
- Robert Eliscu / oboe
- Ted De Jong / tamboura
- Münchner Kirchenchor / chorus vocals

Note: These credits are partially unconfirmed

Releases information

Werner Herzog's classic horror movie only uses about a quarter of the material on this LP

LP Egg ‎- 900 573 (1978, France)

CD Spalax - 14212 (1993, France) Different track running order

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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POPOL VUH On The Way To A Little Way ratings distribution

(99 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

POPOL VUH On The Way To A Little Way reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is not exactly the soundtrack of Herzog's Nosferatu. It contains some extracts from the movie score but for me it's simply a great compilation of previous and unreleased works of the band. We can find very contemplative and repetitive tunes that can remind sometimes the Indian instrumental raga with its transcending and peaceful effects... a kind of mantra, a music from the inside (Mantra, morning sun, Venus principle...). It represents the acoustic side of the band with a lot of sitar, guitars, and tablas. The other part of the album is dedicated to the band original sound in the style of In den garden pharaohs (creepy, celestial and monotonous melodies played on the big Moog...). If you like all the sides of the band from meditative to prog and space-electronic rock, this one is for you.
Review by oliverstoned
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another superb Popol vuh album, similar to « Die Nacht der Seele » in the way that it's partly made of themes from previous albums, such as « In den Gärten Pharaos » or « Einsjäger & Siebenjäger », in excellent alternate versions. The album's mood is very spiritual and eastern-inspired -like usual with Popol vuh- with some ragga interludes. One can expect something dark from a soundtrack of the « Nosferatu » movie, but instead it's a luminous ethereal work, in the mind of their best 70's releases.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This POPOL VUH album is part of the soundtrack to Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu" movie. Funny but some of these songs don't sound like they would belong in a vampire movie. Lots of Eastern and Indian passages and some uplifting songs as well. There are six out of these ten tracks that are dark and spacey and give an eerie and haunting mood. No drums on this one as Daniel is confined to acoustic and electric guitars only.

"Mantra 1" is an Indian flavoured tune that opens with sitar that comes and goes while another ethnic instrument is played in the background. These are repeated over and over. "Morning Sun" is a Fichelscher composition and the only song that Florian didn't help create. An acoustic guitar melody is played over and over throughout. A joyful and uplifting song. "Venus Principle" is another Indian styled song with sitar and percussion early. Guitar comes and goes briefly each time. "Mantra 2" is rather melancholic and dark, quite haunting. "On The Way" really sounds like mellotron choirs but is apparently really a male choir. Very haunting and dark indeed.

"Through Pain To Heaven II" opens with a humming sound that builds quickly. Guitar comes in around a minute and comes and goes throughout. I really like the guitar here as it gives us a brighter, uptempo sound compared to that dark humming that continues throughout. Cool song. "To A Little Way" features Florian on these lonely sounding synths throughout. "Zwiesprache Der Rohflote Mit Der Sangerin" opens with sitar before a melody comes in before a minute. I like it ! The electric guitar is fantastic ! "Die Nacht Himmel" is very spacey and dark with synths reminding me of "Zeit" by TANGERINE DREAM. "Der Ruf Der Rehrflote" continues the same mood from the previous song only it's not as loud. Very dark and lonely though.

I like this one a lot. I like the variety and the contrasts of good and evil, dark and light. I don't know if Florian could make this all dark and eerie even if he was asked to. It's not what was in his heart and soul. Thanks for the light Florian.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is - and is not - the soundtrack of Herzog's film of the same name. It contains most of the music that was used in the film but not all of it. The missing tracks appeared on another 1978 release Brüder des Schattens Söhne des Lichts. There's also quite some material here that has nothing to do with the film at all. Confusing... Luckily, there's a 2004 Nosferatu reissue that combines (almost) all music from both albums.

Just like Aguirre, the Nosferatu album has both electronic music from Florian's pre-1972 vaults and a selection of more recent acoustic and ethnic music, all of it compiled from various sources. By consequence the album is rather incoherent. On the other hand it can serve as a decent introduction to the band. Actually it was my introduction as well some ages ago.

The pieces that appeal most to me are the beautiful melancholic Indian sitar music of Mantra I & II and Through Pains To Heaven. Also the eerie Aguirre-alike choirs of On the Way should not be missed. More spooky early electronic music of varying quality follows on Die Nacht der Himmel, Der Ruf der Rohrfloete and To a little Way. The remainder of the pieces sound like remakes and outtakes from previous Popol Vuh albums. Mostly good but nothing essential.

I wouldn't give more then 3 stars to the original album release, but the 2004 re-issue adds some excellent material from Brüder des Schattens Söhne des Lichtsand it has the beautiful original film poster as artwork. There's also a couple of pages with liner notes that you could read to kill the time should you decide to actually watch the movie!

Review by Warthur
3 stars The other collection of tracks from the sessions that produced the Nosferatu soundtrack has a richer sound than the first (Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts), and the emphasis on shorter tracks ensures that songs do not drag on nearly as long as they do on that piece. Still, it feels as though something is missing from Popol Vuh sound here. Once again, Fricke and cohorts end up producing an album which sounds alright but - unlike most Popol Vuh pieces - fails to evoke any emotion in the listener. It's possible this was deliberate, of course, an intent to evoke the dulled and inert inner life of the vampire, though I doubt it - Klaus Kinski's performance in the movie was packed with emotion. Decent, but hardly the best thing they've ever done.
Review by admireArt
4 stars Although it seems like Werner Herzog's Nosferatu's soundtrack (1979), this is not exactly true, but all in all, it really does not matter as a listening experience solely. Excerpts of the whole work were actually used for the movie and if you watched it (as I did, many years ago), it will almost be impossible not to build, in your own mind, a mixture of imaginary and the real movie vampire story.

Market wise Popol Vuh opened themselves to new audiences via art cinema in the hands of Herzog's fantasies, they already have worked with him in AGUIRRE (1975).

Ok enough with the movie talk. Dark menacing symphonic like musical structures counterpointed by Popol Vuh's multi-national bright/dark instrumentation. The compositions are sparkled with minimal drone like and highly attractive and visual passages. Its dynamic and well thought song distribution, as well, tells its own vampire story.

Another virtue this release holds is its natural approach to mid-ages european folklore but sounding atemporal the same way (which is in fact one of Popol Vuh's constant compositional lines).

To expect Krautrock (or Rock to that matter) will not happen, but that in itself is why Popol Vuh's musical language is so unique and the fact of being so obscure in its styling charges the music into a then not explored territory by this ensemble.

****4 PA stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars REALLY: 4,79 (ESSENTIAL!!! The masterpiece of Prog Music!!! ESSENTIAL IN EVERY DISCOGRAPHY!!!) Not conventional album for the rock. Very difficult to listen to. It finds very interesting songs, almost hypnotic (the two "Mantra"), special effects (you see "On The Way") and a sole almost conv ... (read more)

Report this review (#65446) | Posted by | Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I find the whole album very soothing. The blending of the various stringed instruments and horns, along with the vocals, creates a very relaxing atmosphere, as well as a dark one for the fall seasons. The cd has been reissued(again) on nuclear blast records with new tracks from the movie. ... (read more)

Report this review (#59948) | Posted by | Friday, December 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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