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Popol Vuh

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Popol Vuh was a German Krautrock band founded by pianist and keyboardist Florian Fricke in 1970 together with Holger Trulzsch (percussion) and Frank Fiedler (electronics). Other important members during the next two decades included Daniel Fichelscher and Robert Eliscu. The band took its name from the Popol Vuh, a manuscript containing the mythology of the Post-Classic Quiché Maya kingdom of highland Guatemala.

The first album, Affenstunde, released in 1970, can be regarded as one of the earliest Ambient music, space music or New Age music works, featuring the then new sounds of the Moog synthesizer together with ethnic percussion. This continued for only one more album, In Den Garten 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 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 Pre-Colombian America. They created dream-like soundscapes along with psychedelic walls of sound, and are regarded as precursors of contemporary world music, as well of new age music and ambient music.

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