An Electronic Voice from the Past: Popol Vuh & Florian Fricke

I stumbled across an interesting vintage video of Popol Vuh, the German band headed up by the late Florian Fricke. The video is apparently from 1971 and in the style of music of their Affenstunde album. Affenstunde In the video you can see Florian playing the Modular Moog that he would eventually sell to Klaus Schulze to launch a million space odysseys.

Popol Vuh remains one of my favorite bands.  They were in the first wave of space music from Germany.  But this is my least favorite era, when they were essentially a jam band creating modal improvs on one chord. I much preferred the hymn-like acid-drenched ragas he made when he switched to piano and guitarist Daniel Fichelscher stepped into the band.  You can hear their glorious hymns on albums like Das Hohelied Salomos and Einsjäger und Siebenjäger, both featuring Korean singer Djong YunEinsjäger & SiebenjägerDas Hohelied SalomosBut there is a freshness and naivete to this video, with Florian playing live with a percussionist, possibly Holger Trülzsch, banging away. As Klaus Schulze accurately observed, Fricke needed to free himself through electronics so he could return to acoustic piano to realize the spiritual music he envisioned. It was a vision shared by director Werner Herzog in many of his films, notably Aguirre and Nosferatu.

The video is very artfullyThe Vampyre/Phantom Der Nacht shot and if you are short on patienAguirre, the Wrath of Godce, be warned that it opens with a painfully slow zoom from an outside shot of the building Florian is in, to the foyer or courtyard where he’s playing.   But it’s a delicate digitally pressed flower from the past by Florian Fricke, who died in December of 2001.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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