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Popol Vuh - Nicht Hoch Im Himmel CD (album) cover

NICHT HOCH IM HIMMEL

Popol Vuh

 

Krautrock

3.85 | 8 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars I guess I really don't know what to expect from the term "Krautrock". Used to think that the great Eloy were in that category, but they play space rock that happens to come from Germany. Then I thought that the moniker best applied to bands like Amon Duul 2 who were wacky, jarring, and favoured political themes. Groups like Tangerine Dream were more in the genre of electronic music. My only Popol Vuh album is this compilation, and it strikes me as closer to the meditative Tangerine Dream style than anything., but with a slight folk aspect. In any case, for lovers of mellow and contemplative moods like myself, this is a much surer thing than the Krautrock appellation would suggest.

As far as I can tell, this CD summarizes the 1971-1986 period chronologically, which makes it intriguing how the early and late periods are my favourites, with the in between parts being a bit too dissonant and strident the way background noise can become when its volume seems to rise without intervention. Yet for all that, the style over the 15 years of group history is not all that variable. Things do get a bit jazzier in the later going, but the overall effect is of a shade variant. Generally themes are repeated and developed in a similar manner to minimalist works - you either "get it" or you don't. Keyboards tend to dominate, played in a dreamy style in which notes are held expectantly. Acoustic guitars are important to the reflective nature of the pieces. Electric guitar is used more sparingly and generally plucked gently. Its most notable appearance is on the lovely "Du Schonste Der Weisser". Vocals are rare, and are generally served in female form as instrumental accompaniment, as in this piece.

The first three tracks and the last 4 tracks are the most interesting, but "Wo Bist Du" and "Bruder Des Schattens - Sohne Des Lichts" are also highlights. "Engel Der Gegenwart" sounds like something Mike Oldfield may have listened to before producing his solo opuses. "King Minos" shows a somewhat funkier side to the group, with more percussion than generally heard.

Popol Vuh may not be your ultimate driving music, but the late Mr Fricke knew a thing or two about drawing the listener into an alternate world, where I am sure he continues to weave his magic. 3.5 stars rounded up.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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