6 New astonishing POPOL VUH reissues - including NOSFERATU as a gorgeous 2LP set for the first time ever!
1. DAS HOHELIED SALOMOS (LP + INSERT)
The Wah Wah limited edition will have three bonus tracks and come housed the beautiful original sleeve artwork printed on brown craft type paper, as it was first released, and feature a triptic insert with liner notes.
We start our second series of Popol Vuh reissues with the fantastic Das Hohelied Salomos, which takes it over from where Einsjäger Und Siebenjäger left it. It features the classic trio of Florian Fricke, Daniel Fichelscherand Djong Yun, plus the help of Amon Düül's Al Gromer. The theme of the album is taken from biblical passages, using verses from King Salomon's tales on The Old Testament. The music is superb, great guitar soloing, amazing percussion work and the mesmerizing voice of Djong Yun on nine songs that echo previous works, mostly Einsjäger..., but also Hosianna Mantra comes to mind here and there. A perfectly balanced record that merges progrock sounds, eastern influences through the use of sitar and tabla and spiritual meditation.
2. AGUIRRE (LP + INSERT)
Limited edition featuring one bonus track, remastered sound and original artwork plus an insert with liner notes and photos
Werner Herzog's 1972 film Aguirre, The Wrath Of God was the first collaboration between the famed director and Popol Vuh. Florian Fricke was approached by old friend Herzog to do the soundtrack for his third movie. Three years later, in 1975, after the international success of Herzog's film, Popol Vuh issued the LP Aguirre. It featured material recorded for the movie plus some other songs. Some of them recorded prior to 1975 - theAguirre soundtrack ones, of course, plus there is the presence of the big Moog from Popol Vuh's early albums, and also contains Morgengruss II, an update of the Morgengruss song that had prevously appeared onEnsjäger Und Siebenjäger.
"Popol Vuh’s “hypnotic music” for Aguirre met with considerable acclaim. Roger Ebert wrote, “The music sets the tone. It is haunting, ecclesiastical, human and yet something else... The music is crucial to Aguirre, the Wrath of God..." AllMusic noted, “The film's central motif blends pulsing Moog and spectral voices conjured from Florian Fricke's Mellotron-related "choir organ" to achieve something sublime, in the truest sense of the word: it's hard not to find the music's awe-inspiring, overwhelming beauty simultaneously unsettling. The power of the legendary opening sequence of Herzog's film...owes as much to Popol Vuh's music as it does to the director's mise-en-scène.”
Herzog explained how the choir-like sound was created, "We used a strange instrument, which we called a 'choir-organ.' It has inside it three dozen different tapes running parallel to each other in loops. ... All these tapes are running at the same time, and there is a keyboard on which you can play them like an organ so that [it will] sound just like a human choir but yet, at the same time, very artificial and really quite eerie."
In 1975, Popol Vuh released an album entitled Aguirre. Although ostensibly a soundtrack album to Herzog's film, the six-track LP included only two songs ("Aguirre I (L'Acrime Di Rei)" and "Aguirre II") taken from Aguirre, the Wrath of God. The four remaining tracks were derived from various recordings done by the group c. 1972–1974. At the time of Aguirre, the band members were Fricke (piano, Mellotron), Fichelscher (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums), Djong Yun (vocals), and Robert Eliscu (oboe, pan pipe)." (Wikipedia)
Popol Vuh has been nominated three times for an Oscar for best original score: 1972 (Aguirre), 1979 (Nosferatu) and 1987 (Cobra Verde).
There have been several different editions of Aguirre and each has varied slightly or quite a lot from the original issue. Several reissues change the last track (the 17 minute long Vergegenwärtigung) to include material from other Popol Vuh albums, even in cases the song is listed on the sleeve the music is from completely different sources. Thanks to the accurate archive work of SPV on offer here is the original version of the album as it was first released in 1975.
3. LETZTE TAGE, LETZTE NÄCHTE (LP + INSERT)
Limited edition, featuring one bonus track not on the original vinyl and remastered sound, issued in a reproduction of its original sleeve and with an insert featuring photos and liner notes.
Letzte Tage, Letzte Nächte is probably the most "rock" sounding work of Popol Vuh's production. Recorded by the classic trio of Fricke, Fichelscher and Yun, plus Ted de Jong on tamboura and Amon Düül members Al Gromer on sitar and Renate Knaup on additional vocals, its sounds seem to be more based on power than on ambient. Strong guitar passages emphasize this, with Fischelscher's playing being harder than the Conny Veit ethereal parts on earlier records. The title track is also the first time that Popol Vuh record English words on a song.
"With his blistering and emotional guitar work Fichelscher made his mark on many of the Popol Vuh albums. An album like ‘Letzte Tage, letzte Nachte’(1976 ) would not be possible without him. But also this album would be impossible without multi-tracking, a technique that Popol Vuh was heavily dependent on throughout their existence. This album shows Popol Vuh from its most rocking and dynamic side. But even here it is evident that a remarkable spiritualism defines the music. In a down-to-earth way Fricke wanted his music to be a ‘healing force’, an ‘uplifting experience for the human soul’. This spiritual quality is inherent and constitutive for all the music he made during his career. This proves Fricke was successful in communicating these intentions to the musicians involved." Dolf Mulder.
4. HERZ AUS GLASS CLEAR (VINYL LP + INSERT) or COEUR DE VERRE LP + INSERT
Two different sleeves to chose from. Half of the copies will come in its original blue cover, as it was originally issued in Germany, the other half will be housed in the beautiful French sleeve, originally released as Coeur de Verre. Audiophile fidelity remastered sound plus an insert with photos and liner notes.
Another classic soundtrack produced by Popol Vuh for a Werner Herzog film was Herz Aus Glass. Its music still retains the powerful emphasis given to the previous LP in certain passages, although it goes back to their more reflexive ambiental athmospheres yet presenting that concept one step further into more evolutive structures and even adding some touches of a certain folk music feel. Djong Yun is not present anymore, butDaniel Fichelscher and Florian Fricke can still count on the collaboration of Al Gromer on sitar, plus the addition of Mathias von Tippelskirch on flute.
5. NOSFERATU - (TRANSPARENT RED/BLACK VINYL 2LP + INSERT + POSTER)
Collected in a gorgeous limited edition double LP set, first half of the edition issued in transparent red vinyl, are the two albums that relate to Werner Herzog's Nosferatu. Housed in a fantastic silver sleeve with the Klaus Kinski / Isabelle Adjani artwork from the movie poster as used for the 1979 PDU Italian issue. Thegatefold cover artwork is completed with graphic material from On The Way To A Little Way plus photos from the movie kindly provided by Werner Herzog himself. A killer 50 x 70 cm full colour reproduction of the movie poster is included, as is an insert with detailed liner notes and one bonus track not on the original albums.
The story of the Nosferatu soundtrack editions through the years appears a little caotic. Several editions, with several sleeves and completely different tracklists have appeared in different countries. What we tried to offer here is the definitive edition of Popol Vuh's works for this fantastic Werner Herzog 1979 tribute to the oldMurnau classic. When asked for a new soundtrack for Herzog's project, Florian Fricke and Daniel Fichelschercame out with a magnificent album that once again, as it had happened with Hosianna Mantra, opened new paths to follow. The album, although having been recorded with the movie in mind, was not titled Nosferatu. Instead it was released as Brüder des Schattens - Söhne des Lichts, which can be translated as "Brother Of Darkness - Son Of Light". It first came out in 1978 featuring amazing new age / ambient escapades based onrepetitive passages and instrumentation of incredible beauty, recorded with the help of Al Gromer (Amon Düül) on sitar, Bob Eliscu (Between) on oboe, Ted de Jong on tamboura plus a complete church choir ensemble from Munich. Brüder des Schattens..., also issued in other editions as Nosferatu, makes disc one on this gorgeous double LP set.
Disc two of the Wah Wah edition features the LP that was originally released as the Nosferatu Original Sound Track album, also known as On The Way To A Little Way. A 1978 release, although it contained material recorded prior to that date. Right in the middle of the film production, Herzog felt he needed more music and asked Fricke for obscure, scary material. He searched the Popol Vuh archives and compiled the great collection that Nosferatu / On The Way... is. It came out a varied selectionç where older Moog tracks mix with more reflexive material that already gives clues of what's to come in Brüder des Schattens... Nevertheless, despite all the variety -or maybe thanks to it,- Nosferatu / On The Way To... turned out to be a fantastic, classic Popol Vuh album. We have added one bonus track previously unreleased in vinyl format.