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SHEPHERD'S SYMPHONYaka: Hirtensymphonie
CD 1997 Mystic Records MYS CD 114, UK
Personel: Florian Fricke (piano), Guido Hieronymus (keyboards, guitar), Frank Fiedler (synthesizer).
All tracks composed by Florian Fricke and Guido Hieronymus except track 7 by Guido Hieronymus.
(C) & (P) Popol Vuh 1997
Shepherd's Symphony is the 25th album release by the phenomenon known as POPOL VUH, the musical outlet for over a quarter of a century for Florian Fricke.
Florian Fricke, musician, arranger, piano player and producer has become a public figure in the World of music through his collaborations with film Director/Producer Werner Herzog, writing the soundtracks for the classic movies AQUIRRE; NOSFERATU; COBRA VERDE and FITZCARRALDO.
The name Popol Vuh derives from the book of knowledge, the POPOL VUH - the sacred book of ancient Quiche Maya Indians. The book is without any shadow of the doubt the most distinguished example of native American literature that has survived the passing Centuries. Of all American peoples, the Quiche of Guatemala have left us the richest mythological legacy. Their description of the Creation as given in the Popol Vuh is, with it's rude strange eloquence and poetic originality the rarest relic of aboriginal thought. The book Popol Vuh presents the complete picture of the popular traditions, religious beliefs, migrations and development of the Indian tribes that populated the territory of Guatemala following the collapse of the Ancient Maya Empire.
The musical entity, Popol Vuh was founded in 1969 when Florian Fricke, Frank Fiedler, Holger Trulzsch, Bettina Fricke and myself produced the first album of Electronic music with a Moog 111 Synthesizer entitled "AFFENSTUNDE" The Hour Of The Monkeys.
Florian Fricke originated from Lindau/Bodensee and studied at the Freiburg Musikhochschule, studying under some of Germany's most eminent teachers. At the age of 19 Florian quit his academic musical studies in order to begin working on his own ideas. When the MOOG Synthesizer was made commercially available in Germany he was so fascinated by the new revolutionary toy that he spent some years working with the keyboard instrument.
Being so far advanced technically, it was difficult for Florian to find partners in the music industry who were willing to give his artistic output the support required to move beyond his one, initial commercially unsuccessful album. However Florian persevered with the help of a steady recording band augmented by the incredible Korean singer Djong Yun. As his successes grew, so Florian, a deeply religious man, applied and added many biblical texts to his music resulting in his albums attaining a huge reputation in the Alternative and New Age music circles.
After spending 25 years turning musical dreams into realities Florian Fricke, Frank Fiedler and Guido Hieronymus have, with Shepherd's Symphony recorded an album that sounds quite unlike anything previously released under the name Popol Vuh.
Shepherd's Symphony is a reflection of the desire by Popol Vuh to encroach upon the avenue of popular music. In this, Florian has been heavily influenced by his son Johannes whose love for Hip-Hop and Techno Trance Sounds led to his convincing Florian of the need to write material that would appeal to the younger generation of music lovers whilst retaining the support of existing fans.
Florian Fricke has always been open to change within his music and to experiment with samples and sounds, he recently ventured into the World of Dance, always striving to ensure that his critics could not point to any stagnation in his music. His previous album, CITY RAGA, indicated a coming change which has been completed with the Shepherd's Symphony CD.
The Symphony is modern schamanistic music and will gain Popol Vuh many new admirers. Florian has always tried to walk new paths, untouched by others, it is an expression of Florian's freedom to remain an innovator and never to become an imitator. "Hirtensymphony", is the title of a new German film recently made in Tibet by Florian, who travels, once every five years to Himalaya where on his last journey, accompanied by his longtime friend and co-producer he conquered the Kailash mountain.
In Germany we have a very old creative tradition based on a sort of mystical tendency toward the absolute. Before Popol Vuh we produced many great poets, philosophers, some wonderful music and sadly, mad fascism. Today we are allowed to work and create freely and, in this way, we can develop our musical fantasies and relay them to the listeners. We personally enjoy music as sometimes creative and this is what we wish to convey to others. The music of Popol Vuh is relaxing, but never boring. It is gentle, but not slushy. It is like the Ocean at Sundown, like the Desert by Night, like the Sky at Dawn.
Think Deep, Think Sleep, Think For Yourself!Gerhard Augustin, June 1997
Shepherd's Symphony is the 25th album release by the phenomenon known as POPOL VUH, the musical outlet for over a quarter of a century for Florian Fricke. This outstanding musician, arranger, piano player and producer has become a public figure in the world of music through his collaborations with film director and producer, Werner Hetzog, writing the soundtracks for the classic movies, AGUIRRE, NOSFERATU, COBRA VERDE and FITZCARRALDO.
The name Popol Vuh, derives from the book of knowledge, the POPOL VUH, the sacred book of the ancient Quiche Maya Indians. The musical entity of Popol Vuh was founded in 1969 when Florian Fricke, Frank Friedler, Holger Trulzsch, Brettina Fricke and Gerhard Augustin their first electronic album with a Moog 111 synth. This album is quite unlike other Popol Vuh recordings with influences of Hip-Hop and Techno Trance Sounds to appeal to both new younger listeners and existing fans.
"This modern schamanistic music will win many new fans to POPOL VUH"Mystic Records catalogue
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 Hertzog. Popol Vuh are the product of the German Krautrock scene of the early seventies and now have over thirty titles to their credit. Shepherd's Symphony is without doubt the best and most eagerly awaited Popol Vuh album for years.VoicePrint catalogue
His 1997 album. A sort of cross between Haslinger and Enigma.Groove Unlimited catalogue
This cd is quite interesting, with a strong bass influence and a good beat. Somewhat similiar to artists such as Deep Forest or B-Tribe. I enjoyed the cd. :-)4dance-music Customer Review
(...) Nicht Hoch Im Himmel is a very good place to get acquainted with Popol Vuh. Shepherd's Symphony, on the other hand, is a departure. It is Florian Fricke's attempt to enter a new musical era and area by adding ill-fitting trance and club elements to Popol Vuh's meditative trademarks. This is mainly in the form of programmed rhythms and repetitive, triggered keyboards. The ambient New Age effect is strong and the sampled (?) ethnic voices take us to Enigma and Deep Forest country. It is generally an UP album, but all the characteristics of Popol Vuh have gone out the window. To all sense and purpose this album lacks personality. In particular, it lacks the Popol Vuh touch.Lars Fahlin
If there has to be a godfather of drift, then one likely candidate is Munich based composer/musician Florian Fricke, whose trance driven POPOL VUH band are now regarded as being major players in the '70s Krautrock movement. Fricke's latest under the Popol Vuh banner is Shepherd's Symphony (Mystic) which was influenced by his son's obsession with hip-hop and techno beats. Fricke weaves the bass thud and chug of both styles into a musical patchwork that hovers between techno-ambient and contemporary classical, with a generous pinch of ethnic field recording technique thrown in for good measure. The result is a record that, at times, resembles a dancehall mix of Brian Jones' Pipes of Pan at Joujouka project, or the soundtrack to a Herzog movie that is still in the can. Popol Vuh purists will be up in arms over Shepherd's Symphony but true believers of the man and his magical music will embrace it as one of Fricke's finest.Edwin Pouncey
Non si puo dire che il cultore "canonico" di progressive abbia sempre dimostrato il giusto interesse verso quell'inusuale forma espressiva denominata kraut-rock. A grandi linee, i gruppi tedeschi riconducibili alla suddetta corrente sono accomunabili per alcune caratteristiche: una certa attitudine "fricchettona", estrinsecata nella natura "aperta" degli ensembles; la passione per atmosfere distese e rilassanti (oggi diremmo new age), dilatate pero da propensioni improvvisative; un occhio di riguardo per l'Oriente e per i misteri ivi contenuti; l'attenzione per gli sviluppi tecnologici in ambito musicale. Le due bands piu importanti di tale fermento, Popol Vuh ed Amon Düül II, sono ora sotto contratto con l'inglese Mystic Records.
I Popol Vuh, autori delle soundtracks di capolavori quali Aguirre, Nosferatu e Fitzcarraldo, a firma Werner Herzog, con Shepherd's Symphony tagliano il traguardo del venticinquesimo disco. Florian Fricke, storico mentore del gruppo, pare sia stato qui influenzato anche dalle preferenze del figlio Johannes: da un lato troviamo dunque le consuete riflessioni mistico-tibetane (Florian si reca ogni cinque anni in Himalaya, e l'ultima volta ha scalato il Kailash, la nota montagna sacra), dall'altro vi sono pure suggestioni hip-hop e techno, inserite pero con abilita e discrezione. Il libretto parla di modern shamanistic music: una definizione plausibile per un disco dal piacevole ascolto.
Alla tentazione di "stare al passo coi tempi" non sfugge neppure Flawless, che celebra i trent'anni di attivita degli Amon Düül II con pezzi nuovi, inediti d'epoca (veramente gustosa la jam del 1971!) e rifacimenti di materiale classico della band, piu una live track del '96 il cui spirito di antica essenzialita, contraddistinto dall'Hammond, testimonia che certi istinti non sono in realta sopiti. L'impianto ritmico e sicuramente attuale e pertanto freddino, ma a riscaldare l'ambiente ci pensano la voce di Renate Knaup, sempre grande, e le decise incursioni chitarristiche, le quali sono spesso protagoniste di arrangiamenti che possono in effetti ricollegarsi ad un concetto un po' piu tradizionale di progressive. Nessuno dei due dischi verra ricordato come il capolavoro assoluto delle rispettive bands, ma si tratta in definitiva di lavori gradevoli.Francesco Fabbri - novembre 1997, private site
Cada vez me asombro de menos cosas. Cuando era un crío, propuestas como las de Kraftwerk o las de Tangerine Dream entusiasmaban a la gente. Algunos anos después, esos mismos grupos eran mirados como unos monas enormes que solamente producían aburrimiento, y ahora, casi veinte anos después de que fueran olvidados, son reconocidos por una multitud de jóvenes músicos. Puede que sea porque ahora hay más gente que se preocupa de enterarse de lo que ya está hecho en la música o, simplemente, por llevar la contraria, pero, sea por lo que sea, me llega en 1998 un nuevo disco de Popol Vuh y lo veo casi de rabiosa actualidad. Florian Fricke, el líder de Popol Vuh, ya estaba hasta el gorro de trabajar con sintetizadores cuando el techno empezaba a gestarse. No obstante, éste es de los grupos que tuvo una cierta trascendencia dentro de lo que se dio en llamar el krautrock, corriente que, mira tú por dónde, ahora se senala como una de las madres del cordero de toda la música electrónica que marca la actual tendencia.
Escuchar "Shepherd's symphony", el nuevo trabajo de Fricke, es, cuanto menos, sorprendente. Sorprende por su actualidad, por su minimalismo, por su contemporaneidad y, si me apuras, hasta por su modernidad. A sus propuestas electrónicas habituales, Fricke ha anadido cierto toque étnico y tropical, con lo que el álbum combina lo que Popol Vuh hizo hace veinte anos con lo que ahora hace, por ejemplo, Deep Forest. Si te dicen que Fricke tiene veinte anos seguro que te lo crees.E.P., found in web
Previously issued by Mystic Records, UK, 1997. One of the last PV releases and very non-essential. No bonus tracks (how could there be?). Musicians: Florian Fricke, Frank Fiedler, Guido Hieronymus. This is considered the 25th album by Popol Vuh, and the Mystic site refer to it (in non-ironic fashion) as an album "quite unlike other Popol Vuh recordings with influences of Hip-Hop and Techno Trance Sounds to appeal to both new younger listeners and existing fans."Forced Exposure Reviews Page