Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Popol Ace - 1973 - Quiche Maya

Popol Ace
Quiche Maya

01. Queen of All Queens (3:35)
02. Dark Nights (4:01)
03. Mrs. Randalie (7:56)
04. Music Box (4:16)
05. Yesterday (5:13)
06. Milk-White Satin-Dressed Departure (4:47)
07. Between You and Me (3:17)
08. Get Up (6:02)

- Arne Schulze / guitar
- Pete Knutsen / guitar, keyboards
- Thor Andreassen / drums
- Terje Methi / bass
- Jahn Teigen / vocals

In 1975, Florian Fricke (leader of the German group Popol Vuh) discovered his Norwegian namesakes and threatened them with a lawsuit. For this reason, Popol Vuh changed their name to Popol Ace.

Review: Gatot

What music that surrounded you when you grew up? What would be your reaction if you listen to the music 30 years later? Do you feel like a journey to the past or you feel like living in the past? In my case, I feel both. The fact that I'm spinning back the music (or even hunting the CD like hell until I got it in my collection of CD!), is like a journey to my past. But when I'm listening to it I feel like living in the past. And I always feel excited whenever I'm listening to music which was written in the 70s which practically most of them has some prog elements in it. At that time I did not know the term "progressive" yet and any rock music was just "rock" - no further categorization which one fall under which category. I just accepted whatever flew into my ears and try to digest it. As for the case with Popol Vuh, I was not aware about this album at that time. The first time I knew about the band was a compilation cassette produced by our local music magazine which was very famous, i.e Aktuil. The cassette was labeled "Rock Vibration 2" with the opening track "Music Box" by Popol Ace. Wow! This track had blown me away at first spin. I started to wonder who this band was and found practically nothing. Hello, it was 70s, my friends! There was no internet and information was not distributed in proper way. Only decades later - I think it was 2000 or 2001 I found this album. Oh, finally I found vintage band Popol Vuh / Ace!

So "Music Box" is the connector why I was hunting this CD and luckily I got it from local music store. Hey, Jakarta rocks and progs man, don't underestimate people who live in "rest of the world" countries like Indonesia (which you might know only our beautiful island of Bali). Our passion for music is very high and we have many rock communities with strong passion for rock and prog music. When I listen to "Music Box" I always remember vividly the 70s period where our rock passion was at the top like right now. "Music Box" is a wonderfully crafted ballad rock with great melody line, excellent acoustic guitar fills and singing style.

"I'm sitting in a music box , I'm making songs - wanna know what for? Is there really more to tell , or haven't you really had before? Oh . uuuhhhh . who can tell? Oh .. in the end it won't make us different.

Oh .. my friend.what a mind boggling lyrical verse and touchy melody backed with wonderful acoustic guitar fills. The lyrics also tell about the wondering of a musician who is ready to write music but he doesn't know yet if the music has already been created by someone else. What a great meaning from great song "Music Box"!

Actually, when I purchased the CD I didn't really care about other tracks because I only chase "Music Box" and it would justify the investment - money wise! But some tracks are also in fact good ones to enjoy. "Between You and Me" is a nice ballad with excellent piano, touchy melody line with powerful voice of the lead vocalist. "Queen of all queens" is an excellent classic rock song with distinctive guitar work. "Dark nights" is also not bad at all. It flows with piano as main rhythm section. "Mrs. Randalie" demonstrates he band's adventure into symphonic prog music. I like the bass lines for this track. Duration-wise this track is like typical prog tunes with 8 minute duration.

I can consider that this album is really good. Those of you who love classic rock and symphonic prog - well, sometimes the band sounds a bit psychedelic too - you may enjoy this album as well. I put my neck that you would definitely love "Music Box". Guaranteed. Keep on proggin' ..!

Popol Ace - 1972 - Popol Vuh

Popol Ace 
Popol Vuh

01. Hunchback (4:08)
02. Joy and Pleasure (3:32)
03. All We Have Is the Past (4:29)
04. Leavin' Chicago (3:53)
05. For Eternity (5:36)
06. Sucklin' Pig (4:22)
07. Medicine (8:02)

- Arne Schulze / guitar
- Pete Knutsen / guitar, keyboards
- Thor Andreassen / drums
- Pjokken Eide / trombone, flute
- Terje Methi / bass
- Jahn Teigen / vocals

This is the debut album from Popol Ace(then called Popol Vuh) from 1972. The first time I heard it, it really did not appeal to me, but after bying it some years later, the album have really grown on me, and have become a personal Prog favorite of mine.

Even though Norway has a great number of good progbands, they haven't been among the big "Prog Country", and there hasn't been a lot of prog-albums on the charts here.

From what I know, this was the first Norwegian prog album to enter the charts, back in '73, and Popol Vuh is Norways most succsessful prog band ever.

This is a great record!! Jahn Teigen, who later went on to do musicals, European song contest and comersial pop, has a very karismatic voice, wich suits this genre well. The guitarist does an absoloutly wonderfull job, and Pjokken Eide is as strange as always....

The album starts of with "Hunchback", a wonderfull, powerfull song in the ways of ELP, Focus and Genesis. It's a really groovey tune, with a beautifull middle part. Hunchback has some amazing flute-work, and a cool sounding organ.

Next song is "Joy and Pleasure", wich has a very "gentle gianty" vibe. Its funky and weird, and absoloutly astonishing. The track is jazzy, and the peep-bob courus fits the song.

Then we have the ballad "all we have is the past", wich was the single from this album, and was some kind of hit back in the day. It's your typical, symphonic ballad with lots of orchestra, mellotron and drammatic vocals. Mr.Teigen does a great job on this song, and lifts it abowe average.

"Leaving Chicago" is a funky blues-rock track with a very good bass-line. It's a very good song, and the most accessable track on the album. This song just makes you feel good, and the powerfull vocals, the great guitar and piano work and the eceptional bass makes this among my top 10 songs ever.

"For Eternity" starts of with a very ITCotCK-like guitar-flute intro, and ventures out into a great mellow, floating prog track with lots of great guitar-work. This is the most symphonic track of the album, and reminds a lot of old King Crimson and Genesis, with lots of mellotron. An exeptionally good track, with great instumentalisation.

"Suckling Pig" is the most progressive track on the album, with great fluete-work by Pjokken Eide, great drumming and unbeliveable drumming. It's somewhat Jazzy, and reminds of a mix of Gentle Giant, Focus and Camel. It's all instrumental, and very interessting. An absouloutly increadible track.

"Medicine" is the longest track on the album, and is a funky prog-track with unbeliveable vocals, great drumming and good orchestration. The track never gets boring, and is IMO among the highlights in Scandinavian prog.

All in all, Popol Vuh manage to have a recognitiable sound, and it's very good. This album is very well produced, and it's not hard to understand why they are the most succesfull Norwegian prog band ever.

Itf you're into Scandinavian prog, this is an essential album. For anyone else it is an excellent adition to your record collection, and should be among the first 500 albums you buy.