Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, World Music, New Age, Pop, Rock
Affenstunde is the 1970 debut recording by composer and multi-instrumentalist Florian Fricke's Popol Vuh, named for the sacred Mayan text. Affenstunde is somehow akin yet very different. The music here all seems of a piece... more »
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Affenstunde is the 1970 debut recording by composer and multi-instrumentalist Florian Fricke's Popol Vuh, named for the sacred Mayan text. Affenstunde is somehow akin yet very different. The music here all seems of a piece, despite the different selection titles and the single percussion piece on the set. The sheer momentum of the title cut, which closes the album and integrates spacious electronic soundscapes, ever deepening tonalities, found taped choral vocals whispering in the background, and percussion is one of the most provocative pieces to come from the Krautrock generation. This is an auspicious debut, which holds up wonderfully in the 21st century. This re-release features a 10:30 mins bonus track!
A Feeling of Being Beautifully Lost
James Schulze | 11/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Popol Vuh could easily have fallen into the "experimental" catagory of pretentious novelty that John Cage and other early electronic artists fell into if it weren't for one thing: heart. Take some of the most daring and radical music ever written and add emotion, spirituality, and sincerity, and you have Popol Vuh.
With that said, Affenstunde is hard to describe. Fans of krautrock, and especially those of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, can identify many of the standards tricks of the idiom in Affenstunde, including the 20 minute instrumentals and repetative synth lines. But whereas Tangerine Dream and Schulze used a more traditional musical structure (including long minor chords and improvised melodies), Fricke's emphasis in Affenstunde is on sound. Though moments of musical clarity shine through, you mostly feel adrift in a sea of ghostly electronics and distorted choirs. The experience can be frustrating at first, but after hearing the album several times, you fall in love with the feeling of being lost. It's a beautiful, bizarre, and amazing experience, and one any fan of krautrock should take. I'm very grateful for these remasters. Is there any chance of Popol Vuh's soundtrack to Nosferatu being released???"
"Affenstunde": A Classic Debut From Popol Vuh!!
Louie Bourland | Garden Grove CA | 06/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Popol Vuh was formed in 1969 in Munich, Germany by classically trained musician/composer Florian Fricke. The band emerged during the now-legendary German Krautrock scene which also spawned pioneering artists such as Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Kraftwerk, Cluster, Neu! and Klaus Schulze. While the above bands initially used traditional rock instruments to create their 'electronic' sound, Popol Vuh was a different creature all together. Florian Fricke, having come from a wealthy family background, was among the first musicians to own a Moog synthesizer in Germany (pre-dating Tangerine Dream's Moog acquisition by four years). It is this instrument which became the primary vehicle for Fricke's early musical excursions.
Popol Vuh's debut album "Affenstunde" (German for "Hour of Monkeys") was released in 1970 and became an instant attraction because of its originality and innovative use of electronics. The band line-up for the album consisted of Fricke and long-time friend/producer/engineer Frank Fiedler operating the Moog along with Holger Trulzsch providing a vast array of percussion instruments.
The album's opening suite, "Ich Mache Einen Speigel", is divided into three parts beginning with "Dream Part 4". The track opening with sounds of rippling water before a splash gives way to chriping bird sounds and probing outer-space rhythms all created on the Moog. This first part continues in this fashion throughout its nearly 9-minute duration and becomes more dense as it progresses. The stereo-panning of the 'space' sounds are an awesome treat with headphones.
"Dream Part 4" segues into "Dream Part 5" with a swooshe of white noise giving way to a barrage of solid percussive rhythms from Trulzch. There is an occasional steeldrum sound provided from the Moog but for the most part, it's layer upon layer of harsh jagged percussion. The overall tribal effect is not too dissimilar to listening in on a drum circle in the parking lot at a Grateful Dead show.
Once again, a segue is provided from this track to next, the humorously titled "Dream Part 49". Compared to the respective spaciness and harshness of the previous two parts, "Dream Part 49" is a releatively calm meditation of misty tones and drifting chords. There is a slight Indian-style drone to this piece along with what sounds like a distant foghorn created with the Moog. A calm closing to a dynamic opening suite.
The next piece on "Affenstunde" is its title track clocking in at an epic 18:30. The track opens with the sounds of a crackling fire which in turn give way to loud percussion rhythms and bizarre electronic overtones. Six minutes into the piece, the chaos settles into a tamboura-like drone accompanied by light percussion and a whistle-like synth lead from Fricke. This raga-dance carries the piece to its finish.
The newly remastered version recently released on SPV Records displays the "Affenstunde" album in its best sound quality ever revealing its sharpness and depth which was missing on other previous CD issues. The reissue also includes a 10-minute bonus track entitled "Train Through Time" which consists of a train-like rhythms embellished by congas and hypnotic minimalist keyboard passages. A nice bonus epilogue to the original album.
The CD comes in a digpak case and includes a booklet of rare photos and tributes to the band and Florian Fricke (who passed away in 2001) written by such noted individuals as Klaus Schulze and long-time Popol Vuh collaborator Gerhard Augustin.
With all this said, it's great to finally have a definitive version of Popol Vuh's "Affenstunde" on the shelves for people to buy. This is a brilliant and timeless album of innovative electronic music from one of its early masters.
An Essential Title!!"
Moog synthesizer and percussion
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 05/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1970 debut album by seminal German experimental group Popul Vuh opens on a somewhat pastoral note, complete with the organic sounds of birds chirping. Then a splash is heard, as if somebody jumped into a pond, which then fades into some comparatively cold and mechanical sounds on the moog synthesizer. It is as if another dimension (or distant future) is entered as the listener passes beneath the surface of the water, thus transporting the listener from the "sylvan glade" and the pond directly into what "sounds" to me like the vacuum of outer space. I am not entirely sure if that was Fricke's intention, but it certainly worked for me.
Affenstunde is an excellent and early example of electronica that just features the moog synthesizer along with some excellent percussion. I find the use of the moog at this early point especially impressive when you consider that this instrument cost a great deal of money - something on the order of buying a small house in 1970, or so I have been told.
The lineup on this album is very simple and consists of (the late) Florian Fricke on the moog synthesizer and Holger Trulzsch on percussion. The mixture of the cold synthesizer textures and the warm percussion is very interesting. The two pieces on this album are long and change very little over the course of the piece, with the Dream suite clocking in somewhere around 21+ minutes and Affenstunde at 18'30". In large part, the music cycles between spacey and somewhat creepy sounds on the moog synthesizer, and warmer passages dominated by various pieces of percussion (drums, bells etc). I found the contrast to be pretty interesting and at times, somewhat hypnotic. Based upon later albums by the band that I have listened to (Einsjager & Seibenjager, 1974), the electronic approach had been abandoned in favor of acoustic textures. Evidently, Fricke felt that he was not fulfilling his musical vision with the electronic approach and even went so far as to sell his "big" moog to Klaus Schulze, another excellent German electronic composer.
This reissued CD is pretty good and features good liner notes; some of which were written by Klaus Schulze himself. The meditative bonus track Train through Time (10'30"), is also very good and appears to have been recorded around the time of the Affenstunde sessions. This track features a similar mixture of percussion and synthesizer sounds.
All in all, this is an excellent and early recording of electronic music by a very important figure in the German experimental scene. This album is recommended along with other early works of experimental electronic music by German groups including Electronic Meditation (Tangerine Dream, 1970)."