Slowly but surely, the often elusive works of spiritual Krautrock greats Popol Vuh have been making their way back to vinyl. Now, another set of reissues is set to shine a light back on Florian Fricke's beloved band.
Following vinyl reissues of much of Popol Vuh's early work, Wah Wah will now dive into the group's later material. This latest batch will include vinyl reissues of hard-to-find Popol Vuh albums Die Nacht Der Seele (Tantric Songs) from 1979 and Sei still, wisse ICH BIN from 1981, as well as the extremely rare 1983 Florian Fricke solo effort Die Erde und Ich sind Eins.
All three vinyl reissues have an estimated arrival of late April in the UK and Europe and mid-May here in North America. Each will be limited to 500 copies and include an insert, with liner notes by Dolf Mulder.
Die Nacht Der Seele (or as it was called on some releases, Tantric Songs) marked Popol Vuh's 12th album. Along with mastermind Fricke, the record featured the lineup of Daniel Fichelscher on guitar, Djong Yun and Renate Knaup on vocals, plus guests Alois Gromer on sitar and Susan Goetting on oboe.
As a press release explains, "Popol Vuh had moved again one step farther, elaborating a complex world music opus based mainly on acoustic instruments plus Fichelscher's electric guitar and the use of multitracked vocals to reproduce the sounds of Tibetan monk chants."
As for follow-up Sei still, wisse ICH BIN, the album was originally released on Klaus Schulze's Innovative Communication label in 1981, with the fellow Krautrock luminary even producing this album for Popol Vuh. Sei still, wisse ICH BIN finds the band exploring even more spiritual sounds, with two of its tracks even going on to appear in frequent collaborator Werner Herzog's famed 1982 film Fitzcarraldo.
However, of the three releases, it's Fricke's solo effort, Die Erde und Ich sind Eins, that's the rarest of the batch. The album was released as an extremely limited private press in 1983. At the time, Fricke, who sadly passed away in 2001, had this to say about the record:
You could label it as 'body-space-music' (Körperraummusik) where you sing inside the body and take it in such a way that every cell in the body, from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head, starts to vibrate. In order to be able to realize this I have experimented to find where speech resonates in the body. The consonants vibrate at the body walls, the bones and flesh and the vowels fill the body spaces. And that sounds like a gong-concert: it also has a great therapeutic effect.
As an added bonus, the reissue of Die Erde und Ich sind Eins features a 50-page book that Fricke wrote for the release but never published.
If this all wasn't more than enough Popol Vuh to handle, the group's soundtrack to Herzog's Cobra Verde is rumoured to be getting a vinyl reissue for Record Store Day (or at least sometime in the near future) via One Way Static.