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23 Apr 2017

Popol Vuh "Das Hohelied Salomos" 1975 Germany Prog Kraut Rock Electronic









Popol Vuh  "Das Hohelied Salomos" 1975 Germany Prog Kraut Rock Electronic
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If I did not award the previous album another halfstar, I do with this one: 4.5 stars!!! 
With this album (and the previous) Popol Vuh reached their apex , their peak. Very similar to Seiligpreisung and Einsjager, this is still a slight progression on the refinement of this type of near-acoustic prog (well there is plenty of electric guitars but not power chords or seering feedback-ladden solos). The is the most accomplished album yet in their typical contemplative and meditative laid-back (and very instrumental -Yun’s vocals are often used as an instrument) “rock” the whole thing underlined by Indian percussions. Actually , one track is very much Indian music augmented by two guests. 

This album is warmly recommended as an introduction to anyone looking to investigate Popol Vuh…..by Sean Trane ………….

Released in 1975, after the excellent “Einsjäger & Siebenjäger”, this album belongs to the second era of the band. The most progrock, thanks to the rhythmic section and guitar’s presence. 

Compositions are short and dense, some moments are energetic but most pieces are in a meditative vein. The opener “Steh Auf, Zieh Mich Dir Nach” , is wonderful. It starts with a solemn introduction, and then the piece slowly builds up with piano and female back vocals and eventually explodes with an aerial and lyrical guitar flight supported by a powerful rhythm. 

On this album, Popol vuh reaches a perfect balance and manage to do a perfect synthesis of the progrock sound, the eastern influences (sitar and tabla) and the spiritual inspiration; by creating out-of-this world and highly spiritual atmospheres, thanks to the use of sitar, spacey and expressive guitar playing, also using sometimes repetitive guitar/drums patterns creating a hypnotic mood. The background vocals by Djong Yun contributes to this ethereal, celestial feeling typical of the band at its best….by oliverstoned ……………

Here is a band I can never get enough of…. Popol Vuh’s early years are some of the most important and influential albums of the 70’s electronica. “Das Hohelied Salamos” is a masterpiece from start to finish and is one of the most played albums from Popol Vuh in my collection. This album is the ultimate veg out Sunday morning spin ! Nothing too raunchy or loud here with pretty well a steady ebb and flow of soundscapes. The album also features some great guitar work reminiscent of Pink Floyd put to a moreharmonic new age vibe. Instumentation includes the sitar, various synths , table , sound effects … wow what else could you ask for ?….. by loserboy …………..

An other charming floating, pastoral rocking “trip” from Popol Vuh. Far more accessible than their beginning in abstract, tribal electronics. This album delivers some beautiful compositions in the genre ever developed in “Hosianna Mantra”, including epic semi- improvised guitar solos and enchanting, almost sacred female chants. The opening “Steh auf, zieh mich dir nach” can sum up the typical electrical, ecstatic sound of the band at their most progressive moments, A spacious, pastoral rocking composition, featuring very inspired floating guitars. “Du schönste der Weiber” follows the same schema but stresses the nostalgic, introspective dimension with long, linear voice parts and repetitive acoustic / electric guitar parts (with ravishing spacey mini guitar solos). “In den Nächten auf den Gassen I” is really closed to sacred, religious music with massive, deeply meditative voices. With “Du Sohn Davids I” we return to a more dreamy rocking trip, always dominated by guitars and accompanied by the piano. Beautiful and highly recommended…..by philippe ………..

This is the most remarkably beautiful album but it is partially wrecked by rampant, unchecked, and unnecessary cymbal crashes throughout. I cannot comprehend why they thought it best to drown such beautiful music in this manner on half of the album. Seriously, it stuns me. In certain places it literally sounds like they gave the sticks to a 2-year old and told him to go ahead and smash the drum cymbals like crazy while the grown-ups are making pretty music. I’m not against percussion. Far from it, I love great drumming on rock albums and even on music like this percussion could have worked if employed differently. The sections without these cymbal-smashfests are pure heaven: delightful meditative piano, tablas, sitar, gorgeous electric guitar leads, and the dreamy, angelic vocals of Djong Yun. Truly wonderful stuff throughout aside from this. But I simply cannot tune in to the beautiful sounds and lose myself as one should with music like this when those high-end distracting crashes are so prominent in the mix. I can’t believe no one else has mentioned this in their reviews, it seems like such an obvious problem to my ears. Great cover art that comes alive on the high quality Japanese minis of 2006, along with a nice booklet with photos, bio, and tributes to Florian. Certainly a great album even if I believe it seriously flawed for the reason above. I’m deducting a full star for what I see as an unforgivable flaw and rating it 3 stars. If you don’t think you’d be bothered by this then add another full star for sure……. by Finnforest ……..

Popol vuh returns to biblical themes by drawing inspiration from the Song of Songs. These ancient love poems were at some point combined to the myths of King Solomon, and thus this Hebrew tradition heritage also as a part of the Old Testament. Musically Florian’s and Daniel’s piano & guitar driven core is supported again by Djong Yun’s voice, and is also strengthened by Indian sitar-tabla duo, creating wonderful world music fusion tapestries for this adorable song from Middle-Eastern legacy. Though these texts can be interpreted from different religious and political viewpoints, I believe Florian approached them as ultimate dedications for human loving. The blossoming album covers introduce well the theme of earthly paradise for man and woman, relating with its visual appearance to the Garden of Eden of Genesis, and also containing both allegorical and concrete sceneries of vineyards and nature’s fertile richness. 
On the first side “O fairest of women” standing forth for being observed, is revealed with powerful mystical sonic displays, leading to a romantic hymn of weaving guitars trough the more vividly twisting amplified opening track. The vocal presence is also now stronger than on the earlier record “Einsjäger & Siebenjäger”. Oriental sound textures merge wonderfully to the guitar and percussive driven sounds, allowing glimpses to similarly holy and sensual visions. Both album sides culminate to an impressionistic still life of King Solomon, centralizing as the kind king reining the kingdom for supreme praises of feminine adorations. The first evocation of the Son of Salomon is encircled by some sort of visions of moonlit alleys. I believe these parts describe the dreams of poem’s maiden searching her lover from the nocturnal streets. On the first dream she finds him, the wedding progressions leading to first encounter of the son of David, and the second dream denies her lover’s discovery, leaving her alone with the city guards. The first vision of Solomon flows with most sacred solemnity, reaching ultimate heights of sanctity trough weeps of guitar and divine singing, the night visions around him being first quite fearful, second run escaping to joys of on drum supported rock melody explorations, thus possibly studying the tale from reverse chronology. 

On the second side of the album the winter has passed after the night’s dream sequences, the rains being over and gone. Indian tabla and sitar dialogue is introduced here to the music, exploding as really euphoric all-loving tonal art expression. The blossoms of poetic genius bloom on the descriptions of lively vineyards, representing the fair woman appreciated; “How much sweeter is your love than wine”, these lyrics hovering on the wings of truth towards the infinity. The second apparition of King Solomon might be seen as governor of these vineyards and lands, the holy grandiose theme studied now both trough the licks of the sitar and full presence of the orchestra repertoire, embodying as a powerful mythic oriental colossus, protecting the gardens of love with firm soul of kindness. Instead of governing vineyards and the lands, the mortal male character of the poem is satisfied the vineyard being the woman of his love; “You drink me with your kiss”, closing the record with the ecstatic determination of rolling forward on the path of life, blessed with gift of love’s bounds. 

I consider this clearly thematic album as musically masterful accomplishment, culminating the spontaneous musical ideas to more concrete end result than on the few earlier recordings. It can certainly be rejoiced as earthly or spiritual sensation, still in my opinion honoring the ancient traditional concept aiming to the kind loving aspects of mankind, refreshingly instead the usual mad violent dreams of megalomania. Also the minor discontinuity of spontaneous musical realizations through fade-ins and outs flow here more smoothly than on the earlier record, maybe due more powerfully dominating presence of loving adoration on the sonic aims, the general calmness of the whole album, and by support of clearer record theme. I would recommend especially this album along with “Hosianna Mantra” from Popol Vuh’s wonderful album repertoire for those in need of healing freely flowing progressive rock music….by Eetu Pellonpaa …….

Best Popol Vuh album for my money. On this rather overlooked 1975 offering from Florian Fricke and friends, the mix of gorgeous acoustic textures and deep mysticism works beautifully, and tracks like “Du Schönste der Weiber” or the short, ominous “In der Nächten auf den Gassen I” are just a bliss to immerse oneself into - and it all passes the test of repeated listens hands up - in fact I never seem to grow weary of it. People into things like acid folk and progressive folk should check this one out - no sidelong slabs of bleak nightmarish Big Moog nothingness here, just a lovely acoustic microcosm that feels like an eerily quiet Japanese garden, with an underlying intense, threatening presence hiding in the fabric of its miniature landscape……….

Das Hohelied Salomos continues along the same path as Hosianna Mantra (1972), Seligpreisung (1973), and Einsjäger & Siebenjäger (1974). Collaborating with guitarist/percussionist Daniel Fichelscher and soprano Djong Yun and adapting lyrics from the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon, Florian Fricke crafts deeply spiritual music from a synthesis of Eastern and Western popular, classical and devotional traditions. Fichelscher’s guitar and percussion are to the fore, often eclipsing Fricke’s rippling piano melodies, and Yun graces most tracks with her serene, ethereal voice. As on Einsjäger & Siebenjäger, the group works with an economical palette, combining elements to create grand arrangements with subtly shifting rhythms, tempos, and textures. Here, however, the results are all the more expansive and majestic as the minimalist strokes coalesce in sweeping, cosmic swathes, most memorably on the meditative interludes “Du Sohn Davids I” and “In den Nächten auf den Gassen I,” with its oceanic, mantric ebb and flow. With contributions from Alois Gromer (sitar) and Shana Kumar (tabla), Das Hohelied Salomos recovers some of the Eastern accent that was more evident on Hosianna Mantra and Seligpreisung: the standout in that regard is the lilting “Der Winter Ist Vorbei,” which sets Yun’s vocals amid Gromer and Kumar’s hypnotic grooves. Elsewhere, there’s a more seamless cultural hybrid: for instance, on “Steh auf, Zieh Mich Dir Nach,” which gradually gathers momentum with Fricke’s piano arpeggios and Fichelscher’s rich, bluesy playing. That rock dimension is most emphatic on the closing “Du Tränke Mich mit Deinen Küssen,” another track that builds slowly around layered, interweaving guitars. Das Hohelied Salomos encapsulates Fricke’s gift for blending aspects of Western rock music’s traditionally profane idiom with non-Western and non-rock aesthetics to pursue his unique vision of sacred music…by Wilson Neate ……………

Songs / Tracks Listing 
1. Steh auf, zieh mich dir nach (4:40) 
2. Du schönste der Weiber (4:32) 
3. In den Nächten auf den Gassen I (1:36) 
4. Du Sohn Davids I (3:01) 
5. In den Nächten auf den Gassen II (3:47) 
6. Der Winter ist vorbei (3:45) 
7. Ja, deine Liebe ist süsser als 
wein (3:37) 
8. Du Sohn Davids II (4:45) 
9. Du tränke Mich mit deinen Küssen (5:28) 

Bonus tracks on 2005 CD reissue: 
10. In Den Nächten Auf Den Gassen III (2:10) 
11. Schön Bist Du Vor Menschensöhnen (Alternative Session) (2:45) 
12. Mitten Im Garten (Alternative Piano Version) (4:50)

Line-up / Musicians 
- Djong Yun / soprano vocals 
- Florian Fricke / piano, electronics, arranger & co-producer 
- Daniel Fichelscher / acoustic & electric guitars, percussion 

With: 
- Alois Gromer / sitar 
- Shana Kumar / tabla 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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