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Popol Vuh

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There are multiple bands named Popol Vuh: 1) A krautrock band from Germany. 2) A progressive rock band from Norway later renamed Popol Ace.

1) Popol Vuh was a proto- / / band from Germany founded by Florian Fricke in 1970 together with Holger Trulzsch (percussion) and Frank Fiedler (electronics). Other important members during the next two decades included Conny Veit, Daniel Fichelscher and Robert Eliscu.

It began with an approach as heard on first album “Affenstunde”, inspired by the invention of the Moog synthesizer. This continued for only one more album, “In den Gärten Pharaos”, before Fricke largely abandoned electronic instruments in favour of piano-led compositions from 1972’s “Hosianna Mantra” forward. This album also marked the start of exploring overtly religious themes rather than a more generally spiritual feeling within the music. The group evolved to include all kinds of instruments: wind, percussion and strings, electric and acoustic alike, combined to convey a mystical aura that made their music spiritual and introspective.

Popul Vuh influenced many other bands from Europe with their uniquely soft but elaborate instrumentations, that took inspiration from Tibet, Africa, and Precolombian America. They created dream-like soundscapes along with walls of sound, and are considered by some to be precursors of contemporary world music, as well of music and ambient.

The band contributed soundtracks to the films of Werner Herzog, including “Nosferatu”, “Aguirre, the Wrath of God”, “Fitzcarraldo”, and “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser”, in which Fricke appeared.

Florian Fricke died in Munich on December 29, 2001, and the group disbanded.

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