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Popol Vuh

Of the many now-legendary artists to emerge from the Krautrock movement, few anticipated the rise of modern electronic music with the same prescience as Popol Vuh -- the first German band to employ a Moog synthesizer, their work not only anticipated the emergence of ambient, but also proved pioneering in its absorption of worldbeat textures. At much the same time Popol Vuh was formed in Munich in 1969, another group of Norwegian descent adopted the same name, an endless source of confusion in the years to follow; both were inspired by the holy book of Guatemala's Quiche Indians, and according to Mayan researchers, the title roughly translates as "meeting place." Keyboardist Florian Fricke was deeply immersed in Mayan mythology at the time he formed the group with synth player Frank Fiedler and percussionist Holger Trulzsch, and his interests were reflected in the spiritual themes of their 1970 debut, Affenstunde.

The follow-up two years later, In den Garten Pharaos, was Popol Vuh's creative breakthrough, an intensely meditative work fusing ambient textures with organic percussion. In its wake, however, Fricke converted to Christianity, a move which sparked a rejection of electronics in favor of traditional ethnic instrumentation including guitars, oboe, and tamboura; he then tapped korean soprano Djong Yun to lend vocals to 1972's lovely Hosianna Mantra. Fricke next teamed with one-time Amon Düül II drummer Daniel Fichelscher for the next Popol Vuh LP, Seligpreisung; its follow-up, 1975's Einsjager & Siebenjager, remains widely considered among the group's most stunning efforts. That same year, they began a lengthy creative partnership with the celebrated filmmaker Werner Herzog which yielded soundtracks for features including Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, and Nosferatu.

Throughout the latter half of the '70s, Popol Vuh's fascination with global sounds and instruments continued, with the prominence of sitars, tablas, and tamboura percussion on LPs like 1977's Herz aus Glas and 1979's Die Nacht der Seele: Tantric Songs earning their latter-day sound descriptions like "raga rock." In 1978, Fricke founded the Working Group for Creative Singing and also became a member of the Breathing Therapy Society, traveling the world to lecture on both subjects; ultimately, his outside passions began to overshadow his work in Popol Vuh, and as the '80s dawned, the group began losing steam, calling it quits after 1983's excellent Agape Agape. After reuniting two years later for Spirit of Peace, Fricke again reassembled Popol Vuh for the 1997 LP Shepherd's Symphony. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Werner Herzog Soundtracks

Disc 1

1. Aguirre I (L'acrime Di Rei)

2. Morgengruss II

3. Aguirre II

4. Agnus Dei

Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
Disc 5
x

Track List: Agape-Agape / Love-Love

1. Hand In Hand

2. They Danced, They Laughed, As Of Old

3. Love, Life, Death

4. The Christ Is Near

5. Love-Love

6. Behold, The Drover Summonds

7. Agape-Agape

8. Why Do I Still Sleep

9. Circledance

x

Track List: In The Gardens Of Pharao / Aguirre

x

Track List: Fitzcarraldo

1. Wehe Khorazin

2. Scene From "Ernani"

3. Engel Der Luft

4. Ridi Pagliacci

5. O Paradiso

6. Kind Mit Geige

7. Im Garten Dem Gemeinschaft

8. Blasmusik

9. Tod Und Verklarung (Excerpt)

10. Musik Aus Burundi

11. Il Sogno

12. Quartett

13. Oh Mimi, Tu Piu Non Torni

14. Als Lebten Die Engel Auf Erden

15. A Te O Cara, Amor Talora

x

Track List: Die Nacht Der Seele - Tantric Songs

1. Mantram Der Erdberuhrung I

2. Engel Der Luft

3. Mit Handen, Mit Fussen

4. Wo Bidt Du,Der Du Uberwunden Hast

5. Mantram Der Erdberuhrung II

6. Im Reich Der Schatten

7. Wanderer Durch Die Nacht

8. Mantram Der Herzberuhrung I

9. Auf Dem Weg

10. Mantram Der Herzberuhrung II

11. In Der Halle Des Lernens

12. Mantram Der Stirnberuhrung I

13. Zusammenkunft

14. Mantram Der Stirnberuhrung II

15. Im Garten Des Ruhe (Piano Session Version)

x

Track List: Bruder Des Schattens - Sohne Des Lichts

1. Bruder Des Schattens - Sohne Des Lichts

2. Hore, Der Du Wagst

3. Das Schlos Des Irrtums

4. Die Umkehr

5. Sing, For Song Drives Away The Wolves

x

Track List: Coeur De Verre

1. Engel Der Gegenwart

2. Blatter Aus Dem Buch Der Kuhnheit

3. Das Lied Von Den Hohen Bergen

4. Huter Der Schwelle

5. Der Ruf

6. Singet, Denn Der Gesang Vertreibt Die Wolfe

7. Gemeinschaft

8. Auf Dem Weg - On The Way (Alternative Guitar Version)

9. Hand In Hand In Hand (Agape Guitar Version)

x

Track List: Letzte Tage - Letzte Nachte

2. Oh Wie Nah Ist Der Weg Hinab

3. Oh Wie Weit Ist Der Weg Hinauf

5. Kyrie

6. Haram Dei Raram Dei Haram Dei Ra

7. Dort Ist Der Weg

9. Wanderschaft - Wanderings

10. Gib Hin (Session Version)

11. Haram Dei Ra (Alternative Version)

x

Track List: Das Hohelied Salomos

1. Steh Auf, Zieh Mich Dir Nach

2. Du Schonste Du Weiber

3. In Den Nachten Auf Den Gassen I

4. Du Sohn Davids I

5. In Den Nachten Auf Den Gassen II

6. Der Winter Ist Vorbei

7. Ja, Diene Liebe Ist Suser Als Wein

8. Du Sohn Davids II

9. Du Tranke Mich Mit Deinem Kussen

10. In Den Nachten Aud Den Gassen III

11. Schon Bist Du Vor Menschensohnen (Alternative Session)

12. Mitten In Garten (Alternative Piano Version)

x

Track List: Hosianna Mantra

1. Ah!

2. Kyrie

3. Hosianna-Mantra

4. Abschied

5. Segnung

6. Andacht

7. Nicht Hoch Im Himmel

8. Andacht

9. Maria (Ave Maria)

x

Track List: In Den Garten Pharaos

1. In Den Garten Pharaos

2. Vuh

3. Kha-White Structures 1

4. Kha-White Structures 2

x

Track List: Affenstunde

1. Ich Mache Einen Spiegel - Dream Part 4

2. Ich Mache Einen Spiegel - Dream Part 5

3. Ich Mache Einen Spiegel - Dream Part 49

4. Affenstunde

5. Train Through Time

x

Track List: 70's Progressives

1. Engel Der Gegenwart

2. They Danced, They Loved As Of The Old

3. Lied Von Den Hohen Bergen

4. Huter Der Schwelle

5. Love-Love

6. Der Grose Krieger

7. Wo Bist Du, Der Du Uberwunden Hast?

8. Dort Ist Der Weg

9. In Deine Hande

10. Der Ruf

11. Oh Wie Nah Ist Der Weg Hinab

x

Track List: Aguirre

1. Aguirre I (L Acrime Di Rei)

2. Morgengruss II

3. Aguirre II

4. Agnus Dei

5. Vergegenwartigung

6. Aguiire III

x

Track List: Einsjager & Siebenjager

1. Kleiner Krieger

2. King Minos

3. Morgengrus

4. Wurfelspiel

5. Gutes Land

6. Einsjager & Siebenjager

7. King Minos II

8. Wo Bist Du?

x

Track List: Nosferatu

1. Bruder Des Schattens

2. Hore, Der Du Wagst

3. Das Schloss Des Irrtums

4. Die Umkehr

5. Mantra 1

6. Morning Sun

7. Venus Principle

8. Mantra 2

9. Die Nacht Der Himmel

10. Der Ruf Der Rohrflote

11. To A Little Way

12. Through Pain To Heaven

13. On The Way

14. Zwiesprache Der Rohrflote

x

Track List: Tantric Songs/Hosianna Mantra

1. Mantra Of The Touching Of The Earth

2. Mantra Of The Touching Of The Heart

3. Angel Of The Air, Part One

4. Angel Of The Air, Part Two

5. In The Realm Of The Shadow

6. Wanderer Through The Night

7. Listen He Who Ventures

8. Brothers Of Darkness - Sons Of Light

9. Ah!

10. Kyrie

11. Hosianna - Mantra

12. Departure

13. Blessing

14. Devotion I

15. Not High In Heaven

16. Devotion II

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Interesting. Disquieting. Learning to adjust to this new movement in music.
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Popol Vuh created a lot of trance-like music. Some of it quite ambient. But like Cluster, Ash Ra, and Neu! etc., they didn't always get stuck in that ambient vein. In fact, I'm not sure they were trying to really mine ambience, more than experimentin g with sound and composition structures. If you like them you simply have to watch Herzog's masterpiece Aguirre, the Wrath of God film from the early 70s and be completely entranced by the opening images of the soldiers descending down the mtns.
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A real treat to cross this trail. I enjoyed.
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Boring, mindless noisemaking
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First to comment for a while lol
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Not your bust?????
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awful
Report as inappropriate
the first German band to employ a Moog synthesizer -- how much did they pay it??

(seriously tho, I love Popul Vuh. The best outfit to come to my attention from a doc on Kraftwerk & German electronic music. Also dig Klaus Schulze now, too)
Report as inappropriate
homiealien12
One of my favorite ambient bands, and my favorite group of the 'krautrock' era. They were lacking structure, but in a good way. Their songs feel more free and liberating than most ambient music. This group and the 'dark ambient' music by Throbbing Gristle are probably my two favorites in the realm of ambient music.
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@stormy
Well put.
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What a rip stormy.

I wish I could find more of their music. But, It makes listening to Pandora that much more enlightening .
Report as inappropriate
@robin bg
umm, except that they're peers of his from a completely different country and music scene. so, rip-of? absolutely not. similar influences and style? sure. oh, and way to just read from the 'similar artists' list and make an uninformed, snide comment.
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This sounds like a rip-off of Brian Eno's Music for Airports
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omg incredible
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Z1

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