Monday, February 23, 2015

Popol Vuh - 1978 - Nosferatu

Popol Vuh

01. Mantra I (6:14)
02. Morning sun rays (3:20)
03. Venus principle (4:39)
04. Mantra II - Choir (5:22)
05. On the way (4:49)
06. Through pains to Heaven II (3:37)
07. To a little way (2:32)
08. Zwiespräche der Rohrflöte mit der Sängerin (3:42)
09. Die Nacht der Himmel (4:03)
10. Der Ruf der Rohrflöte (3:21)

Bonus Tracks:
11. To A Little Way
12. Through The Pain Of Heaven
13. On The Way
14. Zwiesprache Der Rehrflote

- Florian Fricke / piano, moog
- Daniel Fichelscher / guitar
- Ted De Jong / tamboura
- Al Gromer / sitar

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.



  2. Popol Vuh
    Die Nacht der Seele

    1. Mantram der Erdberührung I (2:20)
    2. Engel der Luft (2:40)
    3. Mit Händen. Mit Fußen (2:50)
    4. "Wo bist Du, der Du überwunden hast?" / "Gesegnet Du, bei Deiner Ankunft" (6:00)
    5. Mantram der Erdberührung II (2:20)
    6. Im Reich der Schatten (2:30)
    7. Wanderer durch die Nacht (4:00)
    8. Mantram der Herzberührung I (2:50)
    9. Auf dem Weg (2:55)
    10. Mantram der Herzberührung II (1:20)
    11. In der Halle des Lernens (4:20)

    - Florian Fricke / piano, vocals
    - Daniel Fichelscher / guitars, percussion
    - Djong Yun / vocal
    - Renate Knaup / vocal
    - Susan Goetting / oboe
    - Alois Gromer / sitarThis album is steeped in Florian Fricke's fascination with ethnic musics, and his deep spirituality. The instrumentation is largely acoustic, with the exception of a few discreet electric guitar flourishes from Daniel Fichelscher, and the overall sound is closer to world music than to rock. Tracks 1 - 5 were side 1 of the original vinyl, and are bookended with Mantram der Erdberuhung, on which Fricke's vocal is multi tracked to sound like a temple full of Tibetan monks chanting. Engel der Luft is a beautiful, drifting melody (which also crops up in a slightly different version on Nosferatu) carried by oboe and cymbals. This leads us into the sitar dominated Mit Handen, Mit Fussen which draws on North indian classical music. The next track is the longest on the album, and here Fichelschers multi tracked guitars are to the fore with some of Popol Vuh's trademark vocals floating serenely above, before the reprise of track 1 brings us back to where we started. This short cycle (about 17 minutes) conjures up images of ancient temples and arcane rituals and reveals new subtleties every time you listen to it.

    The second half of the album keeps up the atmosphere, but does not have the same cohesion as the first half. The highlight is probably Fichelscher's Im Reich Der Schatten, which is an impressive percussion work out. This was the last great Popol Vuh album,

  3. Popol Vuh
    Sei still, wisse ICH BIN

    1. Wehe Khorazin (6:21)
    2. Und als ER sah es geht dem Ende zu (7:10)
    3. Garten der Gemeinschaft (4:45)
    4. Gemeinsam aßen sie das Brot (3:00)
    5. Laß los (6:44)
    6. Gemainsam tranken sie den Wein (4:00)
    7. ...als lebten die Engel auf Erden (2:15)

    - Florian Fricke / piano, vocals
    - Daniel Fichelscher / guitar, drums
    - Renate Knaup / vocals
    + Chris Karrer / soprano saxophone
    - Chorensemble der Bayerischen Staatsoper / chorus

    his has been one of the most difficult POPOL VUH records for me to get into. I love Florian's spiritual music but this seems to take it too far for my tastes.The focus is on the choirs and vocals over the usually beautiful, pastoral instrumental work i'm used to hearing from this man. Renate Knaupe adds her vocals and we also get some guest sax from Chris Karrer. Hey when you include Daniel Fichelscher (guitar & drums) that's three former AMON DUUL members helping Florian out with this album. The choir by the way is from the Bavarian State Opera. Of course the album cover gives us a clue to what's inside with all these white robed people gathered around in a large circle out in a field somewhere. By the way this album was produced by none other then Klause Schulze which might explain in part why this one sounds so different from the other POPOL VUH records.

    "Wehe Khorazin" is all about the choir as a drum slowly beats. Then we get Renate's chanting with acoustic guitar and slowly beaten drums. I like this part. "Und Als ER Sah Es Geht Dem Ende Zu" is kind of haunting with those male vocals seemingly coming out of the darkness. It then gets calm before cymbals are banged about . Renate comes in around 3 1/2 minutes. A difficult listen. "Garten Der Gemeinschaft" opens with piano, acoustic guitar and light drums as the choir chants. Sax in this one. This song sounds really good.

    "Gemeinsam Assen Sie Das Brot" also opens with acoustic guitar, piano and light drums as Renate comes in vocally. It's building. Another good one. "Lass Los" is a blend of acoustic instruments and vocals (both the choir and Renate). I like it. "Gemeinsam Tranken Sie Den Wein" is more chanting with acoustic guitar. "...Als Lebten Die Engel Auf Erden" is the short closing track with no vocals and a fitting way to end it. This really recalls the music from Florian that I adore so much.

    I'm just not a big fan of the choral singing here. It's certainly an interesting listen but not worth 4 stars in my book. The best track is the bonus track which is more like what i'm used to hearing from Florian.

  4. Popol Vuh
    Agape-Agape Love-Love

    1. Hand in hand (3:00)
    2. They danced, they laughed, as of old (4:53)
    3. Love, life, death (1:27)
    4. The Christ is near (3:50)
    5. Love-Love (5:24)
    6. Behold, the drover summonds (5:55)
    7. Agape-Agape (4:56)
    8. Why do I still sleep (8:00)

    - Florian Fricke / piano, vocal, percussion
    - Daniel Fichelscher / guitars, vocal, percussion
    - Conny Veit / guitar
    - Renate Knaup / vocal

    This album was released in 1984, in fact all my other POPOL VUH records came out before this one. Good to see Conny Veit here on guitar as well as Renate Knaup on vocals. Another good recording from Florian although I did find this one less inspiring than most of his others that I own. Not a lot of variation in sound here.

    "Hand In Hand" opens with chanting only,no instruments until the percussion arrives before 2 minutes. "They Danced, They Laughed, As Of Old" is a Daniel Fichelscher composition, in fact the only song on here that Florian didn't create.This one's a top three for me. It sounds so good with the electric guitar playing over top. "Love, Life, Death" features percussion throughout. "The Christ Is Near" opens with Renate and percussion.The sound gets fuller before settling 2 minutes in with acoustic guitar; electric guitar then joins in. "Love-Love" is a top three with the guitars and percussion all sounding great.

    "Behold, The Drover Summonds" features Renate's high pitched vocal melodies as the music follows and builds. Piano and loud percussion are up next as Renate continues. "Agape-Agape" is the other top three tune. This sounds amazing as Renate sings with the guitars, piano and percussion filling out the sound. "Why Do I Still Sleep" is the final and longest song at 8 minutes. Guitar and piano are played tastefully throughout.

  5. Popol Vuh
    Spirit of Peace

    1. We know about the need (4:20)
    2. Spirit of peace (7:00)
    3. Song of Earth (8:07)
    4. Take the tention high (17:27)

    - Florian Fricke / piano, vocal
    - Renate Aschauer-Knaup / vocal
    - Daniel Fichelscher / acoustic guitars

    - Conny Veit / electric guitar
    - Bernd Wippich / electric guitar

    It was originally released in 1985 on Cicada. The first track was used by Werner Herzog as original motion picture soundtrack for his documentary The Dark Glow of the Mountains (original title "Gasherbrum - Der leuchtende Berg") about Reinhold Messner.

    I think this album is being criminally underrated.

    Perhaps people are unfairly comparing this to the outstanding seminal Popol Vuh albums of the 70's. Admittedly, their sound had changed DRAMATICALLY by the time of Spirit of Peace.

    This album is truly what the title suggests; one of the more peaceful albums ever made, and also one of the most beautiful. Definitely way more mellow than their early to mid-70's material, but a truly stunning album that's among the best I've ever heard in the realm of ambient/new age/atmospheric/scared musics. I own every Popol Vuh album, and this one is at the top of the heap

  6. Popol Vuh
    Cobra Verde

    01. Der Tod des Cobra Verde (4:40)
    02. Nachts: Schnee (1:45)
    03. Der Marktplatz (2:30)
    04. Eine andere Welt (5:00)
    05. Grab der Mutter (4:35)
    06. Die singenden Madschen von Ho, Ziavi (6:45)
    07. Sieh nicht überm Meer ist's (4:35)
    08. Ha'mut, bis dass die Nacht mit Ruh' und Stille kommt (9:40)

    - Florian Fricke / piano, synclavier, vocals
    - Renate Aschauer-Knaup / vocals
    - Daniel fichelscher / guitar, vocals, percussion

    - Irmgard Hecker / vocals (7)
    - Kristen Riter / vocals (1)
    - Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper / chorus

    The original soundtrack recorded for Werner Herzog's last movie featuring the outstanding Klaus Kinski in the role of the Brazilian bandit Cobra Verde. Quite adventurous, haunting and metaphysical, the film is formidably accompanied (once again) by the deeply spiritual, celestial music of Popol Vuh. The most memorable compositions are the self title track with its magnetic, spacey synth lines and the magnificent African / tribal chorus which is used to illustrate the magic funeral end of the film with the death of the hero. Despite that it is a very pleasant musical moment, according to me the musical level is not as accomplished (or permanent) as in the fantastic ethereal / creepy soundtrack of "Aguirre" and "Nosferatu".

  7. Popol Vuh
    For You And Me

    1. For You and Me (5:20)
    2. Wind of the Stars in Their Eyes (3:10)
    3. Little Bazaari (7:45)
    4. Compassion (5:00)
    5. When Love is Calling You (4:15)
    6. In Your Eyes (0:55)
    7. OM Mani Padme Hum 1 (1:10)
    8. OM Mani Padme Hum 2 (2:47)
    9. OM Mani Padme Hum 3 (4:33)
    10. OM Mani Padme Hum 4 (5:18)
    11. For You (2:05)

    - Florian Fricke / piano
    - Renate Knaup-Aschauer / vocals
    - Daniel Fischelscher / guitar

    - Guido Hieronymus /keyboards, guitar
    - Ann-Marie O'Farell / Irish harp

    Here is a more mainstream, commercial work by the legendary Popol Vuh. To trancey / ethereal folk rock compositions, the band turned to very melodic, "Yin" musical pieces with the Amon Duul's singer Renate Knaupp (who already appeared on older albums as "Letzte Tage ~ Letzte Nächte ".). The album is mainly acoustic, orientated to short intense pieces for piano, vocals with the add of Fischelscher's usual floating guitars' parts. The music are not as complex as previously, the material is more simplistic but the songs always have an introspect, peaceful atmosphere. This album also has a discreet "Hosianna Mantra" felt with a subtle religious flavour. However its includes a constant use of trademark rock guitar sounds. Not a bad album, a sympathetic listening during comfortable free moments.

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  8. Popol Vuh
    Sing, For Song Drives Away The Wolves

    1. Song Of The High Mountains (6:20)
    2. Pages From The Book Of Daring (3:54)
    3. Dance Of The Chassidim (3:20)
    4. Keepers Of The Threshold (3:35)
    5. Sing, For Song Drives Away The Wolves (4:14)
    6. Little Warrior (1:04)
    7. Sweet Repose (1:00)
    8. You Shouldn't Awake Your Beloved Before It Pleases Her (19:26)

    - Florian Fricke / piano
    - Daniel Fischelscher / guitar, drums
    - Djong Yun / vocal
    - Alois Gromer / sitar

    opol Vuh anno 1993 only vaguely reminds of the intricate music that the band created in the 70s. The music is watered down to a 'Popol light' version (or 'Muzak Vuh' if you like), this is mainly due to the use of drum computers and the rather straightforward songwriting, with too much safe and easy-listening melodies. The ingredients are much the same though, instrumental music with a very acoustic sound and esoteric influences, but the chemistry simply doesn't work.

    Like other Popol Vuh soundtracks, this is a compilation of new and old material, some of it reworked or remixed. An original 70s piece such as 'Keepers of the Threshold' gives ample demonstration of how good Popol Vuh's stuff was back in the day. The long 'You Shouldn't Awake...' is a remix and partially re-recorded version of 'Einsjäger & Siebenjäger'.

  9. Popol Vuh
    City Raga

    1. Wanted Maya (7:00)
    2. Tears of Concrete (5:30)
    3. Last Village (7:10)
    4. City Raga (8:10)
    5. Morning Raga (5:40)
    6. Running Deep (6:00)
    7. City Raga [Mystic House Mix] (6:41)

    - Florian Fricke / piano
    - Guido Hieronymus / keyboards & engineering, electric guitar
    - Maya Rose (Yukatan) / vocals
    - Daniel Fichelscher / acoustic guitar
    + Children Choir from Kathmandu

    The coolest thing about this record is the backstory. Maya Rose isn't a Popol Vuh singer in the vein of Djong Yun; she was an old friend of Florian Fricke. She lived (and may still live) in the Yucatan; unable to locate her after some correspondence, Fricke extracted her vocals from an old cassette she'd mailed and built much of City Raga around it.

    Without the liners from Fricke's daughter Anne explaining this, I wouldn't have known. The integration of ambient house and Rose's vocals is seamless, albeit sort of bland. Electronic music, as predicted by Popol Vuh, was in its ascension, and the godfathers can't add much to the conversation. The most immediately pleasing track is "Morning Raga", which benefits from an acoustic cameo from Daniel Fichelscher. Professionally pleasing and intensely plastic.

    Plastic shock infects the best ideas on this album. "Running Deep" feints toward a dark wave of sound (complete with a submerged Nepalese children's choir), but chilly New Age crops up from time to time to scuttle the thing. The same thing happens to "Wanted Maya" - the PBS-style library music is actually a plus, but Rose's vocals seem more suited for trance, and Fricke's pitch-tweaking comes across as half-assed. Still, I can't fault him for stretching out and embracing the present, but things were just out of his grasp.

  10. Popol Vuh
    Shepherd's Symphony - Hirtensymphonie

    1. Shepherds Of The Future (Die Hirten der Zukunft) (6:08)
    2. Short Visit To The Great Sorcerer (Kurzer Besuch beim Grossen Zauberer) (6:00)
    3. Wild Vine (8:29)
    4. Shepherd's Dream (Der Traum des Schäfers) (4:17)
    5. Eternal Love (8:18)
    6. Dance Of The Menads (Tanz der Menaden) (6:24)
    7. YES (5:02)

    - Florian Fricke / piano
    - Guido Hieronymus / keyboards, guitar
    - Frank Fiedler / synthesizer

    There are different kinds of Popol Vuh listeners.
    If you like dark ambient, raga rock, choral sound of Popol Vuh from the 70s - it's not your album. If you like Popol Vuh as entity, as postive spiritual energy from Florian Fricke - you'd like "Shepherd's Symphony/Hirtensymphonie".
    Popol Vuh here consists of Florian Fricke, Frank Fiedler and young member Guido Hieronymus.
    In the 90s Florian Fricke tried to re-invent Popol Vuh, to adjust his music to the tastes of young listeners (taking his son and daughter as example of such listeners). They listened to Deep Forest, Enigma, Future Sound of London, Banco de Gaia. Electronic rhythms and beats, ethinc songs choral samples and positive energy - these are the main characteristics of Popol Vuh on "Shepherd's Symphony" (1996).
    To be true Popol Vuh used elements of ethnic music and synthesizer from the start. So "Shepherd's Symphony" - it was like return to the roots of Popol Vuh with upgraded sound.
    Of course it's hard to compare this album with "Hosianna Mantra" - they are simply from different epochs and genres, but to true lover of Popol Vuh this record could be interesting.
    On the other hand - if you were young listener back in the 90s and you still like Deep Forest, Enigma, Banco di Gaia and never listened to Popol Vuh - try this album.