Popul Vuh

Popol Vuh (German band)

Popol Vuh was a German Krautrock band founded by pianist and keyboardist Florian Fricke in 1970 together with Holger Trulzsch (percussion) and Frank Fiedler (electronics). Other important members during the next two decades included Daniel Fichelscher and Robert Eliscu. The band took its name from the Popol Vuh, a manuscript containing the mythology of the Post-Classic Quiché Maya kingdom of highland Guatemala.

History

The first album, Affenstunde, released in 1970, can be regarded as one of the earliest Ambient music, space music or New Age music works, featuring the then new sounds of the Moog synthesizer together with ethnic percussion. This continued for only one more album, In Den Garten Pharaos, before Fricke largely abandoned electronic instruments in favour of piano-led compositions from 1972's Hosianna Mantra forward. This album also marked the start of exploring overtly religious themes rather than a more generally spiritual feeling within the music. The group evolved to include all kinds of instruments: wind and strings, electric and acoustic alike, combined to convey a mystical aura that made their music spiritual and introspective.

Popul Vuh influenced many other bands from Europe with their uniquely soft but elaborate instrumentations, that took inspiration from Tibet, Africa, and Pre-Colombian America. They created dream-like soundscapes along with psychedelic walls of sound, and are regarded as precursors of contemporary world music, as well of new age music and ambient music.

The band contributed soundtracks to the films of Werner Herzog, including Nosferatu, Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, Heart of Glass and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, in which Fricke appeared.

Florian Fricke died in Munich on December 29, 2001, and the group disbanded.

In October 2003 Klaus Schulze wrote:

"Florian was and remains an important forerunner of contemporary ethnic and religious music. He chose electronic music and his big Moog to free himself from the restraints of traditional music, but soon discovered that he didn't get a lot out of it and opted for the acoustic path instead. Here, he went on to create a new world, which Werner Herzog loves so much, transforming the thought patterns of electronic music into the language of acoustic ethno music."

Discography

Florian Fricke solo albums

  • Die Erde und ich sind Eins (1983) - limited private pressing
  • Florian Fricke Plays Mozart (1992) - featuring Fricke on piano playing Mozart compositions

Compilations

  • Perlenklänge: The Best Of Popol Vuh (1976) - Ohr / Pilz / Kosmische Musik compilation
  • Tantric Songs (1981) - featuring tracks from Die Nacht der Seele and Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts
  • Fitzcarraldo (1982) - soundtrack featuring four previously released Popol Vuh compositions besides opera and traditional music
  • In The Gardens of Pharao / Aguirre (1983)
  • Gesang der Gesänge (1988)
  • Florian Fricke (1991) - featuring tracks from Coeur de Verre (retitled) and Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts
  • The Best Soundtracks From Werner Herzog Films (1991)
  • Sing, For Song Drives Away The Wolves (1993) - remix album
  • Movie Music (1994)
  • Nicht Hoch Im Himmel (1998)
  • Future Sound Experience (2002) - remix album recorded in 1993 (according to its booklet) and released after Florian Fricke's death
  • 70's Progressive (2006) - SPV compilation

Unauthorized album

  • Yoga (1976) - recorded by Florian Fricke with Indian musicians

External links

  • http://www.furious.com/perfect/populvuh.html (Comprehensive article & review of every album, in English)
  • http://www.venco.com.pl/~acrux/discogr.htm (Definitive discography - includes sound samples)
  • http://www.popolvuh.it/ (Italian fansite, in Italian and English)
  • http://www.enricobassi.it/hosiannamantra.htm/ (Italian fan club, in Italian)
  • http://www.popolvuh.nl/ (Dutch fansite. In English, German. Many full text articles)
  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/ultimathule/krautrockers.html#p "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg" krautrock encyclopedia P

References

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