gullbuy music review

Popol Vuh






Popol Vuh CD coverAffenstunde is the debut album by Popol Vuh originally released in 1970 and reissued along with other Popol Vuh albums in 2004 on the SPV label along with bonus tracks. Affenstunde is an astounding debut, but it is much different than the sound Popol Vuh would later become most known for which was guitar based prog rock. Affenstunde is more spacey and similar to what Tangerine Dream was doing at the time, though there is more of an organic earthly wonder to the Popol Vuh sound as compared to the alien sounds put forth by Tangerine Dream.

Affenstunde starts with the sounds of water splashing before heading into the spacey drone that is Ich Mache Einen Spiegel - Dream, Pt. 4, the 8 and a half minute opening track. Hand played bongo sounds enter in late in this track adding a subtle afro rhythm, but the piece remains somber for the most part.

The afro rhythms come forefront on the shorter Ich Mache Einen Spiegel - Dream, Pt. 5 which follows, leaving behind the spacey sounds which linger far in the background

Ich Mache Einen Spiegel - Dream, Pt. 49 continues where the first track left off with creepy quiet ambient sounds to end what would've been the first side of the original LP.

The title track Affenstunde is an 18 and a half minute track which would've taken up side two of the original album and is a tour de force that combines many elements from the first side of the album into one cogent piece. Combining afro rhythms with electronics reminds me of the soundtrack to Ganja and Hess at its most spooky and unreal. This moves effortlessly into a minimal, pulsing organ section with bongo drums coming and going and with some noodling keyboard throughout, it very well could be an early Harold Budd piece.

The bonus track Train Through Time, is actually a cool 10 and a half minute track with train sounds throughout it and some female spoken vocals early on, along with the twinkling organ sounds and afro rhythms heard throughout the album itself. Overall it has a poppier edge than the album. It's a nice addition to this cd.

---Patrick, July 12, 2005