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Nicht Hoch Im Himmel
POPOL VUH - Compilations
The Werner Herzog Soundtracks



CD 2002 Mystic Records MYS CD 151

  1. Gutes Land 9:04
  2. Kleiner Krieger * 9:41
  3. Morgengruss 9:47
  4. Hungern und Dürsten 8:35
  5. Liedklagen 5:45
  6. Reines Herz 5:12
  7. Weinen und Lachen 8:07
  8. Tanz 11:58

Personel: Musicians Florian Fricke, Holger Trulzsch, Frank Fiedler, Bettina Fricke & Gerhard Augustin

Music written and composed by Florian Fricke and POPOL VUH except *Florian Fricke and D.Fichelscher
Recorded at GAMAG SOUND STUDIOS, München, Germany 1993
Cover and design by Zlatko Pejovic
Arranged and produced by Gerhard Augustin
All songs published by Edition CUBLAKAN GEMA, Germany. (P) & (C) 1992
Label co-ordination: Don MacKay @ Mystic Records


Booklet essay

We learn to understand our own fantasies, we grab them, we live them.
Our music and our constant changing will show this way.
The traumatic life - the unconscious rooms that have developed.
That is why our music has a close relationship to the music of the original Maya culture
The POPOL VUH - is the sacred blood of the ancient Quiché Maya Indians
and presents the complete picture of the popular traditions,
religious beliefs, migrations and the development of the Indian tribes
which populated the territory of the present Republic of Guatemala
after the fall of the old Maya Empire.

POPOL VUH - that is Florian Fricke, Holger Trülzsch, Frank Fiedler,
Bettina Fricke, Gerhard Augustin, and all from the start
the first try.
for the first time anywhere
in such a way, that Carlos and Robert Moog himself were very impressed
to find such a technical electronical humanized synthi-sound
after being switched on Bach.
I am making mirror - I am breaking it - I am molding it
I am forming it
POPOL VUH had come up with sounds never heard before
and nobody had dreamed of.
New Worlds were coming into our lives.
New feelings - images - music - sound - feeling -
All expressed and created electronically in the garden of common grounds.
Angel Of Presence - Mantra of the touching of the heart
Watch out Khorazin
The Angels Of The Air are not high in heaven. We are you Aguirre
Brother of shadow and light?
When Love is calling you King Minos
you must open your heart,
songs and titles contained in this album/CD composed mostly by
Florian Fricke
leader and singer arranger, piano player
The studios were in Bavaria - mostly the BAVARIA Studios in the
in München-Germany

Some incredibly beautiful scores which prove Florian Fricke's ability
to call up the sounds and vivid imaginary of any given time or place
because they are free of any given concept and have mastered both acoustic
and electronic instrumentation.
POPOL VUH's music is the least structured and most unpredictable of the
and where he comes from
remains a mystery.


(it's a shortened text from "Nicht Hoch Im Himmel" booklet [MGr])


Popol Vuh is the musical outlet for the immense talents of Florian Fricke who achieved worldwide fame through the film scores that he wrote for the legendary German producer Werner Herzog. Popol Vuh are a product of the German "Kraut Rock" scene of the early seventies and now have over thirty titles to their credit. "Future Sound Experience" features eight titles never before heard in this format * . Remastered and remixed, the "Future Sound Experience" is both captivating and uplifting and sure to be an essential purchase amongst the legion of Popol Vuh fans.

Mystic Records catalogue

*) There is only one 68 minutes long track, indexed and conventionally entitled. One can hear excerpts from "Aguirre", "Ich mache einen Spiegel", "Wehe Khorazin", "Brüder des Schattens", "Der Tod des Cobra Verde", etc. mixed in curious manner - highly controversial. If you're not familiar with Popol Vuh's music try this compilation: "Nicht Hoch Im Himmel". [MGr]

Led by the now sadly deceased Florian Fricke (piano, keyboards) this German band deliver atmospheric electronic New Age music with elements of more traditional krautrock and mellow progressive rock. They also use acoustic guitars and wind instruments plus ethnic percussive instruments to create their own unique sound, something which this album clearly shows.
As original as it is, it is also however a bit too soothing for my liking. The dreamy keyboards and spacey sound effects combined with equally spacey and slightly subdued electric guitars, ethnic percussion, chants and delicate acoustic guitars makes for a beautiful musical setting, but as with other New Age inspired music it can´t really, from my view, compensate for the lack of some more dynamic rock oriented passages. This said I still think the album has something to offer progressive rock enthusiasts.
Because the music is well-defined, despite its overall dreamy texture, and offers enough of the above mentioned krautrock and progressive rock influences it will keep listeners with such preferences happy as well. In fact Popol Vuh can perhaps just as easily be described as a New Age-ish krautrock band instead of the other way around. Personally though I think they´re closer to New Age than typical krautrock.
This album was originally released in very limited copies in 1993 but it has now been re-mastered and re-released by Mystic Records and can be ordered directly from their website.

Jocke on

A stunning new 2002 release that features 8 re-mastered, remixed treatments of Popol Vuh music. Included are 'Kleiner Kreiger', 'Morgengruss', 'Hungern & Duersten', 'Liedklagen', 'Reines Herz', 'Weinen & Lachen' & 'Tanz'. This release reinvigorates classic Popol Vuh music into a new sound that reflects the sacred beauty of its roots, injecting it with a spirit that makes it sound totally today. A strikingly re-mastered production!

Eurock Catalogue

On the time i wrote the paper, i'm reading a paper on the Net. Florian Fricke is died on the DECEMBER 29th 2001 !! Sad news , very sad news learned on a beautifull, marvelous music reminding my favorites Krautrock Artist & Ex TANGERINE DREAM members KLAUS SHULZE for the largest influence & Edgar Froese (AQUA era) !!! Ethereal & Cosmic synthetics chords begins the Cd with GUTES LAND ... Not too far than one of the greatest SCHULZE 70's Albums such IRRLICHT or TIMEWIND (especially the track BAYREUTH RETURN) POPOL VUH was composing here with FUTURE SOUND EXPERIENCE something such a FLASHBACK to the great 70's Space Operas from the KRAUTROCK's master with some PETER BAUMANN "pianistics" touch and TANGERINE DREAM "STRATOSFEAR" winds ... A real pleasure to listen this sad adventure full of remembers ... Look the sky, listen to the POPOL VUH music, here is the TRUTH !!!

Good trip FLORIAN !

Michael Reese for Progjet Reviews

The Popol Vuh was the book which contained the creation myths of the Quiche Mayan indians and, in view of his deep interest in mystical themes and religion, it is not suprising that keyboard player Florian Fricke chose this name for the band he created in 1969 in Munich. Popol Vuh together with Amon Duul were to become leading exponents of the then emergent Krautrock scene.

Although I have not currently listened to any of the band's other works, the reviews I have read of their previous output seems to indicate that they began life as a very avant-garde outfit. In the early days they were also one of the first bands to embrace the possibilities of the Moog Synthesiser, but gradually they started to move away from electronic experimentation, favouring instead the inclusion of ethnic instruments into their sound.
The bulk of the band's recordings seem to stem from the seventies and eighties, and in addition to studio albums there is a wealth of soundtrack and compilation albums also to be found. For those wanting a detailed breakdown I would recommend finding and downloading Dolf Mulder's discography as a good starting point!
Despite the fact that 'Future Sound Experience' was only released this year, it was actually recorded in Munich back in 1993. As well as founder member Florian Fricke, this album also features Holger Trulzsch and Frank Fiedler from the original line up, plus Betina Fricke and Gerhard Augustin.

'FSE' is an instrumental work that makes wide use of sound effects and ambient sounds and there is a danger that, in attempting to over analyse the content, the wrong impression may be given regarding the true nature of the work. Therefore, rather than attempting a detailed track by track critique, I have opted to try to present a more general overview - it would be hard to cover the wealth of detail to be found here in a meaningful fashion.
Having just stated that this is an instrumental work, I now need to add that limited vocals are used at times, but I see no contradiction here since essentially where voices are brought in they fulfill the role of a musical instrument, creating additional sound textures, as opposed to delivering any lyrical message.
Over the course of the eight tracks we witness many of the diverse styles the band seem to have experimented with over the years and, as well as elements of electronic, tribal / ethnic and New Age music, there are also some avant-garde and space rock moments.

The album begins with 'Gutes Land' which sets the tone with quiet and gentle introduction during which birdsong is in evidence. This opening with its natural feel, contrasts well with the more artificial spacey theme that follows it. Later in the track repeating chords played on a stringed instrument (I cannot decide what it is) add a disturbing jarring note to the calm the piece otherwise seems to engender. From here we move seamlessly into the second track 'Kleiner Krieger' which carries on in much the same fashion. The continued repeating patterns and the introduction of tom toms maintaining the oppressive mood, although toward the end of the piece the inclusion of some softer vocal touches help to raise the spirits once again.

By the time we reach 'Morgengrus' the changes wrought by this gradual evolution have become quite marked, although once again there is no discernable point at which track two ends and three starts (a state of affairs which continues for most of the album). The highlight of this track for me was the use of quite intense vocals creating the impression of an unearthly choir - I found this quite reminiscent of the music used during some scenes in the film 2001. Nothing on this album stays the same for long however, and the track soon dissolves into an altogether warmer and more subdued mood.

There is a more of an ethnic edge to 'Hungern und Dürsten' which shows a distinctly African flavour, from the opening tom toms through to the closing section featuring quietly chanting voices. The warm rich tones of these add a tribal feel, providing a superb contrast to the almost gregorian chant like vocal passages that also crop up here.
'Liedklagen' continues the world music trend, but this time with a leaning towards what might be thought of as a more typically middle eastern sound, full of exotic and hypnotic rhythms. This mood is initially carried over into 'Reines Herz' - but once again by the time we reach the end of the track things have turned around completely and the vocal chants have reverted back to a more eccleisiastical sound which heralds the arrival of 'Weinen und Lachen' - a track that reminds me very much of another German artist, Michael Rother.

The early stages of 'Tanz' see a return to the ambient sounds that opened the album, but this soon changes to a more pronounced beat which combines rock with a hint of the east. An underlying theme here is vaguely reminiscent of 'Venus in Furs'. Again there is a twist though, as we are suddenly pushed into another tribal vocal section, that could be Zulu in origin, before returning once more to another ambient New Age section.

The fact that the tracks run together as they do really makes this album a reviewer's nightmare since it's very hard to keep track of where you are; however, from a listener's point of view the slow hazy evolution as we drift effortlessly from theme to theme is an absolute delight. I mean no disrepect in adding that it also provides great music for getting off to sleep with!
All in all the variety of styles and moods employed on this release should give it a fairly wide appeal to fans of instrumental works who are looking forward to well composed music that is able to create a relaxed and ambient mood.

Simon, 13th February 2002 for New Horizons

PS. Sadly Florian Fricke died on December 29th at his home following a stroke suffered just before Christmas - may he live on through his music!

Sadly, first of all, we have to face the uncertainty of how fragile life can be as once again we have to endure another far too early death of another musician. Florian Fricke, who created this mythical Kraut rock band Popol Vuh, died on December 29th at his home following the result of a stroke suffered just before Christmas.

The name Popol Vuh came from the sacred book of the ancient Mayan Quiche Indians. The band came to prominence during the early seventies when Florian recorded the first ever experimental album built around the Moog Synthesiser entitled "Affenstunde" (The Hour Of The Monkeys).

Since that time in 1970, Florian Fricke and Popol Vuh have released in excess of thirty albums (not including compilations) including the recent "Shepherds Symphony" on Mystic Records based around the music of the lost American Indian tribes. Florian was of course renowned as the composer of the soundtracks to the legendary Werner Herzog movies that starred the late Klaus Kinski including such classics as Aguirre, Nosferatu and Fitzcarraldo.

I had not heard any albums from this band since about 1978 so I had no idea how they may have progressed since then. "Future Sound Experience" was released in limited quantities in 1993 and is now released by Mystic Records from January 2002. It has been re-mastered for CD release but it has also had some new links recorded to make the CD one flowing piece.
On first hearing this album it seemed to lack structure in its early stages but on returning to it a second time and thereafter, the beauty of the whole work hit me. Yes, it's minimal and sparse at times but then it opens up its secret depths like a slow blossoming flower, eventually exploding in its full glory with the climactic ending of "Tanz". This left me with a feeling of well being and appreciating the beauty of life, a peaceful life. The use of the Moog brings straight to mind the the name of Gandalf, the similarities are obvious when one returns to listening to Gandalf's "More Than Just A Seagull", "Journey To An Imaginary Land" and possibly "Labyrinth" although with Popol Vuh's less symphonic approach the differences are quite apparent but just as enjoyable.

This is transcendental music of the highest order and its atmospherics, orchestral effects, piano, occasional acoustic guitar, male and female chorals, chants, percussion and tribal rhythms give this body of work substance on a delicate but grand scale. This could be described as meditative, synthesised music which could also drop into the category of New Age. It would make a tremendous sound track, it is mystical and haunting, a stunning masterpiece. Miss this at your peril.

found in the web

A Fitting Farewell to Popol Vuh.

The German band Popol Vuh was responsible for some of the most etherial and original music produced in the last quarter century. The band started out as an avant-garde electronic group and was part of the German Krautrock movement which also spawned bands like Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Kraftwerk, Neu! and Cluster. Soon thereafter, Popol Vuh geared away from purely electronic music and began to add medeival and Eastern music influences to their sound. Sadly, after creating music for over 30 years, Popol Vuh came to an end in December 2001 when the bands founder, leader, composer and brainchild Florian Fricke passed away from a stroke at age 57.
Shortly before his death, Fricke was responsible for putting together a best of compilation, "Future Sound Experience" which is unlike anything I have heard before. Instead of focusing on Popol Vuhs best individual tracks from their long career, this CD is essentially a megamix combining many different elements from different eras into one continuous sound collage. For example, a segment from 1970 could be playing along with a segment recorded several years later. The way that the sounds are mixed, youd almost think it was originally recorded the way its heard on this disc. Not so. At one point, there is music from three different decades going all at once. The end result is frightening but intriguing.
Although this is not their greatest album (I personally recommend "Aguirre" as a good introduction to the band), "Future Sound Experience" serves as a fitting farewell to Popol Vuh and Florian Fricke. This album basically crams their entire career into one 70-minute CD. Its like a journey of sorts, like taking a walk through the many different eras of one of Germanys most original bands. Some may not like this, but I personally do.
May Florian Fricke rest in peace.

4dance-music Customer Review #1

A sad attempt at cashing in?

I've read a few glowing reviews of this, the first posthumous Popol Vuh release following the death of founder Florian Fricke, and all I can say is, "are we listening to the same recording?" A collage of existing tracks taken from all over Popul Vuhs recording career, all layered together without any regard for style, mood, or even musical pitches. I dont mean sequenced together - I mean tracks literally overlayed on top of each other, making a horrid cacophony of what was memorable and trancendental music.
But no, that wasnt enough to sully the music. Someone (no actual producer is listed) has overlayed a single loop of an acoustic guitar phrase, that repeats, and repeats, and repeats, again without regard to the underlying mood of the music underneath.
I didnt think it was possible, but whoever is responsible for this mess has managed to turn the heartfelt and shimmeringly beautiful music of Popul Vuh into something resembling Chinese water torture. I refuse to believe this is any sort of legitimate release, and in fact the CD booklet is carefully ambiguous as to the pedigree of this production. If this is in fact a bootleg, I hope the estate of Florian Fricke takes whatever means necessary to get it out of circulation. Whatever this is, it is NOT representative of the joy and wonder that is Popul Vuhs musical legacy.

4dance-music Customer Review #2

It is a weird situation when a record company, in the wake of a new album's promotion, has to include not only a bio with their promo package but also a rush release press release in which the death of one of the band's members is informed. This happened with the latest release of the legendary German cosmic band Popol Vuh whose composer Florian Fricke died on December 29th 2001 at his home following a stroke which he suffered just before Christmas. Fricke recorded the first experimental album built around the Moog syntheszier called "Affenstunde". He also composed soundtracks for Werner Herzog movies such as "Aguirre", "Nosferatu", "Cobra Verde" and "Fitzcarraldo". He also can be heard on Tangerine Dream's "Zeit" album and will be remembered as a very vital part of the much acclaimed Kraut Rock movement.

His latest collaboration under the moniker of Popol Vuh, "Future sound experience" is based around music of the lost South American Indian tribes thus including a fair amount of acoustic interventions. Mainly percussion and vocals enhance the cinematographic quality of the music. Although the actual album has been recorded in 1993 and given a limited release then, some new links have been recorded to make this one ongoing experiment. Ad to this the fact that the material has been re-mastered and you get a great audio experience delivered as one flowing river of music. In fact Fricke has always been intrigued with world music trying to combine it's magic within the floating world of electronic music. Remember the use of sitar in "Die nacht der seele" subtitled 'tantric songs' and the use of tablas, gongs and multiple forms of percussion.

Listen to the almost sacral sounding 'Hungern and Duersten' here also incorporating some nice sounding choir. Nice and melodic is the uplifting "Liedklagen" which has the tabla inject a nice groove. In "Reines Herz" the choir almost becomes pastoral and minimal what with the repetitive pattern being strongly embedded in the mix. Calm sets in with "Weinen und Lachen" with acoustic guitar rubbing shoulders with Moraz-like keyboards. The album closes with the addictive "Tanz" including some native chants to enhance the main idea for this album. Although no big fan of the entire Kraut Rock scene I nevertheless have to confess that this is a stunning instrumental work of art which rightfully puts a full stop behind the life of Florian Fricke. There certainly would have been no better way to end!

John "BoBo" Bollenberg on Progressiveworld.Net

Popol Vuh was a name I'd heard many a time, but had never, to my knowledge, heard any of their material. Thus I come to the latest release by Popol Vuh with fresh ears. I cannot compare it to Popol Vuh of the past or other Florian Fricke material. Future Sound Experience was recorded in 1993 and had a limited release then. This new Mystic Records edition, released this past January, has been remastered and additional material added to link the albums 8 tracks together. It was released a few weeks after Fricke's death the end of last December.

Fricke is also known for his soundtrack work on Werner Herzog's Aguirre, Nosferatu, and Cobra Verde, as well as for the "first ever experimental album built around the Moog synthesizer," Affenstunde (1970). On Future Sound Experience, Fricke is again manipulating his Moog, along with Holger Tr¨lzch on percussion, Frank Fieldler on synthesizers (too), and also Bettina Fricke and Gerhard Augustin.

While it's ambient, it is not album designed to be played as mere background music. There is too much going on in the layered textures, such that it requires conscious listening. You are to sit back comfortably, with headphones firmly placed on your head, and be carried along. One can see, though I don't know if its true, how artists like Steve Roach, Robert Rich, etc. might have been influenced by Fricke. In "Gutes Land" we get undulating sonic manipulations like time-lapse photography of clouds, while electronic effects drift in and out like were receiving signals from outer space. Later, an acoustic guitar is strummed, adding some warmer colors to this otherwise grayish painting. The imagery of "Gutes Land" is stark, desolate, and yet one suspects abundant with life that has hidden somewhere. Some of that life emerges when "Kleiner Krieger" begins, but this emergence is tentative. A guitar still strums, but the sonic clouds have dissipated, perhaps cleared, leaving only clear, starry skies. Atmospheres are still there, but much subtler. Of course, I don't know if this is the imagery that Fricke imagined when composing these pieces, since they are rerecordings of pieces from earlier Popol Vuh albums. So as to not break my flow of thought however, I'll delineate that later.

With "Kleiner Krieger" ... as we hear voices and percussion, we find the world about us coming alive, as if morning has come and the day has begun. The voices (Bettina Fricke) are quite beautiful...warm and folky. They are voices that aren't quite operatic... and yet there is something hauntingly familiar about their tone... church chorus-like. These do become much more choral and church like with "Morgengruss" (translated, "Morning Greeting"). With percussion (pounding drums) coming to the forefront, though we aren't right there with them, the chorus recedes a bit... While the region that fascinated Fricke was South American (Popol Vuh refers to a post-Mayan text of the Quiche Indians), these voices seem very much European, especially when the men's chorus comes in ...not Gregorian, but surely that term comes to mind. Later, with "Liedklagen" we get a more energetic piece that sounds like a mix of medieval, Middle Eastern, African and Native American rhythms. Certainly, it is rhythmic enough that you could dance to it -- though saying so brings to mind "stereotypical" images of both a veil dance and of persons ceremoniously dancing in a circle around a campfire... flute-like notes bring in a slight Celtic feel. Running an often-imprecise Alta Vista/Systran translation on the title - I don't speak German - we get "song complaint" which would be more accurately translated as a lament, I suppose. But "Reines Herz" ("Pure Heart") which follows is much darker, funereal in a way. It is less celebratory and more reverential. As if the "regular folks" have now been joined by their esteemed leader, and the merriment must be tempered. Not that "Liedklagen" was as if they were partying without care. "Weinen Und Lachen" is next; translated it means (approximately) "Wines And Laughter" though it is neither. It is a return to the more sedate and church like music of "Kleiner Krieger" and "Morgengruss." Halfway in, it is a little livelier, with a gentle piano harmonized, it seems, with keys. Think of "Us And Them" by Pink Floyd with a dab of Vangelis' piano parts in "Chariots Of Fire" played a third slower.

"Tanz" is the big closer, timed at 11:58. Percussion crashes all about, yet leisurely. We get a shimmery background against which bass, guitar, and keys are played against - strongly Middle Eastern in flavour, it is another invitation to dance ("Tanz" = dance). Here we get childlike voices, chanting... many times, by the way, Peter Gabriel came to mind in terms of the world-music aspects to his solo work. But, "Tanz" also dips back to "Weinen Und Lachen" rhythmically and with the use of piano, here singled. Flute-like keyboards muse in the background. The village elders watching the kids play in the distance, too far away to be heard, but visible enough to make them momentarily wistful for the carefree youth. We move away from this scene for the last two plus minutes of the track, where we get a wider view. Light, lyrical piano flourishes underscore quietly keening guitar, atmospheric keys of various shadings, and some violin or cello like string effects. In a way, it is like night has fallen, the day has ended...

"Gutes Land," "Kleiner Krieger," and "Morgengruss" appeared on the band's 1974 release Einsjäger & Siebenjäger, in significantly shorter versions. From what I have been able to gather, the remaining tracks were original to the 1993 version of Future Sound Experience.

Great stuff, really. At least I think so. Recommended to all electronic, world, and ambient music fans or those who could be.

Stephanie Sollow on Progressiveworld.Net