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LP 1970 Liberty LBS 83 460 1, Germany
Personel: Florian Fricke (Moog Synthesizer), Holger Trülzsch (Percussion), Frank Fiedler (Synthesizer-Mixdown **).
Songs composed and all arranged by POPOL VUH
* with help from our friends Heinz Lukasz + Heiner H.Hoier
ICH MACHE EINEN SPIEGEL
Spalax (14205) divided first track into four parts:
Tracklist of SPV (085-70102) re-release:
Up to today, this album is a collector's item, as in 1970 it has been sold in quite limited edition. Floating music on records was new in 1970, and AFFENSTUNDE - along with others - created this kind of music; it was one of the initial records. For just this reason the expert's eye is keen to have it. Also, the beautiful music: free of hectic, with unusual sounds and an interesting mixture of accords from most different music cultures.
What else can I tell you about the music of POPOL VUH except especially AFFENSTUNDE for me represents a kind of corner-stone for a new music. A music which has found its audience during the last ten years.
By the way, in 1975 I have bought from Florian the Big Moog he is playing here. It is still the focus of my equipment.Klaus Schulze, Summer '80
IC reissue sleeve note
Affenstunde appears to be based around interplanetary communications with strange moog murmuring and tuneless jitterings to the fore but interspersed with percussive rhythms.The occasional UFO is sighted on the horizon and your home movie is shaky and the whole picture drifts in and out of focus. The more you listen however you realise that it is all an elaborate hoax. The timescape suddenly shifts back to a tribal ritual past with every single pot and pan in the kitchen being utilised to its full potential. After a further period of ice-age the planet warms and we're into early spring with mists rising from the crisp waters and heading back out into space. There is no reply. The lengthy Affenstunde sets off on a collision course journey backwards and forwards through numerous visions of past wars and conflicts before the ghosts appear. Then its back to dialling the planets for signs of a better life but we can't quite break off our shackles and the plugs and cables do not quite reach or fit. We are alone but have to keep searching.Julian Cope, "Krautrocksampler"
Few German groups were as inventive as Florian Fricke's musical vehicle Popol Vuh, named after the holy book of the South American Maya Indians. In the spring of 1969 Fricke formed the first Popol Vuh crew on the initiative of Liberty Records. The record label wanted Fricke to make an experimental moog synthesizer album. The resulting album Affenstunde was really something totally different from this. A mystical journey through spooky tonal landscapes of gargling moogs & ethnic percussion. This music attracted attention in the growing underground rock scene, and Popol Vuh were to grow from these beginnings.Cranium Music catalogue
One of the more auspicious Krautrock debuts, Affenstunde immediately established Popol Vuh as the premier proponents of hyper-refined electronic trance-music in Germany. Florian Fricke makes deft use of the Big Moog in the construction by layers of quasi-minimalist hymns of the spheres, with occassional accompaniment from hand-percussion. I've heard this referred to as "often stoned," and it's true that its atmosphere is less sacred and more psychedelic than many later releases. A landmark work. -MMNew Sonic Architecture catalogue
Spalax has reissued pretty much the entire Popol Vuh back catalog -- the legendary German trance/psych/holy-mantric/cosmic-crew, who have gone through many configurations since their debut. Almost all of these 18 albums are desirable and recommended for fans. The middle period works (Einsjager & Siebenjager, Das Hohelied Salomos, Letzte Tage -- Letzte Nachte, Coeur De Verre) are especially essential for those interested in the psychedelic peaks of the 70s German underground. Formed in about 1969 and named after the Quiche Mayan Indian's bible, the group has centered around keyboardist/conceptualist/Hertzog-pal Florian Fricke, and theoretically still exist today (recordings I've heard from the 90s are kinda scary, though). Affenstunde (aka "The Time Of The Monkey King") was the first Popol Vuh album, from 1971. It was a forum for Fricke's early forays into Moog synthesizer explorations (he was playing one of the huge first models), with tabla accompaniment. Trancy electronic patterns emerge, in a drugged, lo-key fashion, with fine meditational qualities. "The first two tracks are generated purely by Fricke's mighty Moog synthesizer, and are high up in the cosmos. 'Dream Part 5' is just percussion, whose rhythm becomes so infectious that it might eat you whole! 'Dream Part 49' is a great encompassing piece which is dense with synthesizer experimentation. Last, but by no means least, is the 18 and a half minute title track. This track is an epic. It starts with hollow percussion and a galloping Islamic rhythm, there is then a lull of synthesizers which break forth into a great Celtic mantra. A wonderful start to the band's career."
Forced Exposure catalogue
Die Band um Florian Fricke schuf mit "Affenstunde" die monotonste, 'kosmischste' Moog-Platte, die ich kenne: Sehr fern, sehr flirrend und sehr wabernd. Obwohl gerade diese Band aus den verträumtesten Hippies bestand, die man sich nur vorstellen kann (vier Jahre später machten sie dann auch schon akustisches, religiöses Kirchentags-Zeugs), haben sie mit "Affenstunde" so etwas wie den Prototyp 'kosmischer' Musik geschaffen - hier passiert fast nichts, hier bleibt der Finger brutal auf den Tasten, die da surren und schwingen und gerade dadurch wirkt diese Platte so zeitlos 'hart', also: Echt konsequent.Martin Büsser (private Krautrock page)
"Affenstunde", das Debütalbum vom Popol Vuh, gehört zu den frühesten Werken der Krautrock-/Elektronik-Szene. Laut einem im Internet gefundenen Artikel soll es sogar die erste Platte einer Rockgruppe sein, auf der der große Moog Synthesizer verwendet wurde.
Das dreiteilige "Ich mache einen Spiegel" beginnt im ersten Teil als strukturloses Synthesizer-Stück. Keine Melodie, kein Rhythmus, lediglich eine Abfolge sanfter, meditativer Klänge. Der zweite Teil ist ausschließlich mit verschiedenen Schlaginstrumenten, hauptsächlich Tablatrommeln, instrumentiert. Den dritten Teil bilden dann wieder freie elektronische Klänge, gerade dieser Teil erinnert stark an das, was einige Jahre später "Kosmische Musik" genannt werden sollte, wie Tangerine Dreams "Zeit": kaum hörbare, raunende Klänge tauchen aus dem Nichts auf, um dorthin alsbald wieder zu verschwinden.
Das Titelstück bietet ebenfalls keine leichte Kost. Erst hört man nur Trommeln und ein dumpfes elektronisches Pulsieren, dann dominieren wieder freie Klänge, aus denen sich nur gelegentlich mal der Ansatz von so etwas wie einer Melodie herausschält.
An sich stehe ich ja kosmischen Klängen wie dem erwähnten "Zeit" sehr aufgeschlossen gegenüber, aber selbst für mich ist "Affenstunde" doch ein ganzes Stück zu überdreht. Überwiegend klingt es doch so, als hätten die Musiker mehr oder weniger wahllos alle Knöpfchen am Synthesizer durchprobiert und dabei vielleicht noch mächtig einen gekifft. Dennoch hat "Affenstunde" eine gewisse historische Bedeutung für die Entwicklung der deutschen elektronischen Musik, so dass Freunde dieser Musikrichtung das Album zumindest mal gehört haben sollten.Jochen Rindfrey @ Babyblaue Seiten
This is the very first album by one of the stalwarts of the Krautrock scene. Popol Vuh was also one of the most uniquely sounding bands under that broad taxonomy, and they went through several stages in their career. However, this debut, whose title means "Monkeys' Hour" (or perhaps "Happy Hour"?), is as embryonic as one could get for a debut. Basically, it's Fricke fiddling with a moog synthesizer - one of the gigantic, early models, too - throughout the length of the album, invariably with mild synth processing or fervently played bongos. It stands pretty much alone in the band's canon, its nearest companion being their next release, In Den Gärten Pharaos. It is far from the melodic, 'classic' sound in which they would immerse themselves a mere 2-3 years laters. I find it pretty bland comparatively, being amelodic, atonal, and when the bongos aren't playing (and even sometimes when they are), arhythmic on top of that. This is pretty much only for Krautheads of the extreme sort, who lavish their unconditional positive regard on the early, unpolished stuff by all these bands.
Seminal electronic recording
This was the first album of the German group led by mastermind Florian Fricke which was recorded and released in 1970 consisting purely of electronic music accompanied by percussion). "Affenstunde" (means Monkey hour) was voted the best album of the year in Germany in 1971 (which makes this album even a more outstanding one, considering that bands like Tangerine Dream, Can, etc. were bands Popol Vuh had to be compared with at that time). This and the next album (In den Gärten Pharaos, 1972) are of an unbelievable musical quality that only very very few bands equalled (not only in electronic music). Essential listening for fans of electronic music!!A music fan from Hamburg, Germany , December 8, 1998
Ahead of its time
This recording is early, experimental Popol Vuh, and it holds up beautifully -- in fact listening to it now, eighteen years or so since I heard it for the first time, it clearly anticipates New Age music by a decade or better.This is "seminal work" in a very real sense, and should be purchased by people interested in adding "depth" to their appreciation of TDream, Deuter, and of course Popol Vuh. The music is mostly acoustic and electronic keyboard with sound effects used for punctuation and musical value. It is overall very contemporary in tone and vaguely tropical in feeling. This reissue of the original 1971 release comes with a bonus track, In den garten Pharaos.Susan R. Matthews from Seattle, Washington , September 16, 1998
The Spalax label Popol Vuh reissues are deleted and the German SPV label will re-introduce them with a series of 19 new reissues. Digipak packaging, bonus tracks, 16 page booklet (same one in all releases), no info specifed on remastering. This version of Affenstunde includes a very good 10 minute bonus track ("Train Through Time"), released here for the first time.
"Formed in 1969 and named after the Quiche Mayan Indian's bible, Popol Vuh centered around keyboardist/conceptualist/Hertzog-pal Florian Fricke. Affenstunde (aka 'The Time Of The Monkey King') was the first Popol Vuh album, originally issued in 1971. It was a forum for Fricke's early forays into Moog synthesizer explorations (he was playing one of the huge first models), with tabla accompaniment. Trancy electronic patterns emerge, in a drugged, lo-key fashion, with fine meditational qualities. The first two tracks are generated purely by Fricke's mighty Moog synthesizer, and are high up in the cosmos. 'Dream Part 5' is just percussion, whose rhythm becomes so infectious that it might eat you whole. 'Dream Part 49' is a great encompassing piece which is dense with synthesizer experimentation. Last, but by no means least, is the 18 and a half minute title track. This track is an epic. It starts with hollow percussion and a galloping Islamic rhythm, there is then a lull of synthesizers which break forth into a great Celtic mantra. A wonderful start to the band's career."Forced Exposure Reviews Page