Popol Vuh - Hosianna Mantra


A1 - Ah!
A2 - Kyrie
A3 - Hosianna-Mantra

Das V. Buch Mose

B1 - Abschied
B2 - Segnung
B3 - Andacht
B4 - Nicht Hoch Im Himmel
B5 - Andacht

In 1972 Florian Fricke converted to both Christianity and Hinduism, and decided to move even further away from electronic instruments, preferring the most humble acoustic instruments over high-tech devices. A new line-up, centered around the angelic wails of Korean soprano Djong Yun, recorded Hosianna Mantra (Pilz, january 1973) in a Buddhist meditative tone, showing a solemn and elegant way to bridge the Western mass and Eastern meditation. Fricke on keyboards, Amon Düül II's guitarist Conny Veit, Between's Robert Eliscu on oboe, Fritz Sonnleitner on violino, Klaus Wiese on tambouras build up ascetic atmospheres that catapult the listener into Tibetan or Gregorian monasteries. Most of the interplay is between the piano (tenderly caressed by Fricke) and the guitar (whose phrasing simulates the Indian mantras). The other instruments add evocative power to the music, rarely altering the flow, in a manner similar to renaissance music. The key difference between this music and classical or rock music is the repudiation of rhythm: Tangerine Dream was removing rhythm (i.e., Time) from its cosmic soundpainting, and Popol Vuh removed rhythm (i.e., Time) from its spiritual soundpainting.
 - Piero Scaruffi

Is this the same group? I can only imagine what hungry young Germans heads must have been thinking when back in 1972, eager for more wild outer space music, they opened up the plastic, slipped the LP out of its sleeves and put Hosianna Mantra on the turntable.

Gone were Holger Trülzsch and Frank Fiedler, gone was the Moog synthesizer, and in were Conny Veit (electric and 12-string guitar), Robert Eliscu (oboe), Klaus Wiese (tamboura), Fritz Sonnleitner (violin) and Djong Yun (vocals). One might expect some changes with a whole new line-up (besides the ever-present Fricke, now on piano), even significant ones, but this was nothing short of revolutionary.

Hosianna Mantra has virtually NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the two albums that preceded it. Part of that was due to Djong Yun. Fricke said, "I always had this great desire to find an instrument that could express a human voice, of vocals or the singing of a girl for instance, by electronic means. When you listen to In Den Gärten Pharoas on the A-side you will find this voice. And all of a sudden this voice that I felt was in myself really came into my life when Djong Yun appeared. Fricke also said, "I'm a conservative artist, not interested in just pressing buttons, so I went back to piano. Sometimes the power would vary so you couldn't always get the same sound on the synthesizer. It's too dependent on the machinery. It's nothing human. The piano is more direct. That's when I realized that I'd probably be happier if I lived my life with music that had acoustic instruments.

He also said, "
Hosianna Mantra is actually a combination of two different cultures, two different languages, two different lives. It has a dual meaning; ‘Hosianna,' which is a religious Christian word and ‘Mantra,' from Hinduism. Behind all of that I was convinced that basically all religions are the same. You always find it in your own heart. Fricke referred to Hosianna Mantra as "a mass, a church mass, but not for church - a conscious reflection upon religions origin is included in this music, but not in particular to any religious groups. I don't want to use synthesizers as part of Christian religious music, but you can't refer to it as church music unless you consider your own body as a church and your ears as its door.

So how does it sound, you ask? Nothing short of majestic - a revelation, an epiphany, a high point in the history of music. From the first moments of the first track (the appropriately named "
Ah!"), we know that this is something special. Suddenly Florian Fricke puts to use all those years of musical training on the piano to create something wonderful. The instrumentation outside of the piano keeps the song flowing along, but the piano drives this song with chords and runs up and down the length of the piano that must have sounded radical even to avant-garde jazz fans, and yet the whole thing is beautiful and peaceful.

Once we get to the second track, "
Kyrie," electric guitar takes over as the dominant instrument, and never before have I heard such beautiful, fluid, melodic sounds emanate from an electric guitar. Conny Veit came over to Fricke's house every day for almost half a year to prepare for this album. Entering next are the soaring soprano vocals of the Korean Djong Yun, and we're transported to a musical landscape heretofore unseen. The lyrics are based on a text by Martin Buber, a Jewish philosopher, but unless you're fluent in Latin you won't understand what's being said anyway. With singing this beautiful, Yun could be singing the proverbial phone book and it wouldn't matter. She truly becomes another instrument.

The song dips, swoons, soars and takes off, and we haven't even gotten to the ten-minute "
Hosianna Mantra," truly one of the most beautiful and unique pieces of music ever to grace the earth. Where Fricke was channeling this stuff from is a mystery, but we're well out of the realm of krautrock and electronic music here and into something that can perhaps only loosely be described as rock. I will say no more about the song "Hosianna Mantra" other then around the 5:15 mark, soon after the oboe enters the mix, Djong Yun does something vocally that is one of the most spinetingling moments I've ever heard in music. Side one is truly musical perfection on another plane.

Though side one contains three separate tracks, the side itself is called "
Hosianna Mantra." Side two is called "Das V. Buch Mose" ("The Fifth Book of Moses") and is more pastoral, more classical, and it's here where perhaps the roots of what prompted people to later refer to Popol Vuh as new age music sprouted from. It still carries the same instrumentation as side one; the same beautiful vocals, the same fluid guitar, the same pulsating tamboura, oboe and violin, but it's more muted and gentle. I don't find myself listening to side two nearly as much as side one, but it would be hard to deny its beauty.
 - Gary Bearman

Popol Vuh - Hosianna Mantra

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Download - Furnace

01. Mallade
02. Seel Hole
03. Omniman
04. Cannaya
05. Sigesang
06. Stone Grey Soil
07. Mother Sonne
08. Attalal
09. Lebanull
10. Beehatch
11. Noh Mans Land
12. Marred
13. Hevel

You don't have to spend any money advertising an album if it has lenticular cover art

Following the collapse of Skinny Puppy, cEvin Key and Dwayne Goettel turned toward a more ambient, electronic style. That Goettel didn't live to see Download hit their stride is quite sad, because Furnace is, for the most part, an excellent mix of exotic, disturbing sounds. The first three songs set such a dark, fierce pace that the remainder of the album struggles in comparison. "Mallade" creates a stunningly bleak atmosphere. "Seel hole" is an experimental industrial creation that sounds like a collaboration where Aphex Twin and Goblin score a remake of Blade Runner as directed by horror maestro Dario Argento. "Omniman" should have been a club hit; its accessible demented beats and Genesis P. Orridge's creepy, humorous babbling are endlessly entertaining. After the somewhat murky and bland middle section of the album, the band strikes inspiration again with the My Bloody Valentine meets Skinny Puppy hodgepodge of "Beehatch" and the spooky Orridge love poem that is "Marred." On the latter song, Orridge sings masochistically that his lover can hurt him and emasculate him, but his love will remain. While Furnace isn't as consistently bleak or political as any album from Skinny Puppy, it signaled that Goettel and Key weren't satisfied to rest on their considerable laurels. The album is dedicated to and in memory of Goettel, and it's fitting that Furnace is at once so listenable and challenging like the output of Skinny Puppy. Though it contains some tracks that aren't entirely interesting, its moments of genius are potent indeed.
 - Tim DiGravina

Download - Furnace

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Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom

1974 cover

1998 cover
A1 - Sea Song
A2 - A Last Straw
A3 - Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road
B1 - Alifib
B2 - Alife
B3 - Little Red Robin Hood Hit The Road

... On 1 June 1973, during an alcohol-fueled party for Gong's Gilli Smyth and June Campbell Cramer (also known as Lady June) at the latter's Maida Vale home, an inebriated Wyatt fell from a third floor window. He was paralysed from the waist down and subsequently uses a wheelchair. On 4 November that year, Pink Floyd performed two benefit concerts, in one day, at London's Rainbow Theatre, supported by Soft Machine, and compered by John Peel. The concerts raised a reported £10,000 for Wyatt.
The injury led Wyatt to abandon the Matching Mole project, and his rock drumming (though he would continue to play drums and percussion in more of a "jazz" fashion, without the use of his feet). He promptly embarked on a solo career, and with musician friends (including Mike Oldfield, Ivor Cutler and Henry Cow guitarist Fred Frith), he released his solo album
Rock Bottom.
 - Wikipedia

[Robert Wyatt]'s private persona erupted on Rock Bottom (1974), one of rock music's supreme masterpieces, a veritable transfiguration of both rock and jazz. Its pieces straddle the unlikely border between an intense religious hymn and a childish nursery rhyme. Along that imaginary line, Wyatt carved a deep trench of emotional outpouring, where happiness, sorrow, faith and resignation found a metaphysical unity. The astounding originality of that masterpiece, and its well-crafted flow of consciousness, were never matched by Wyatt's later releases.
 - Piero Scaruffi

Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom

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Cocteau Twins - "The High Monkey-Monk"

Rare compilation-only track later released as a bonus track on a bonus disc of an expensive box set that, chances are, Borders does not have in stock by default, no, you'll have to order it

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Jorge Reyes - Comala

01 - Comala - El Lugar De La Ruptura De Los Vientos...
02 - Adios Mi Acompañamiento
03 - Hekura
04 - Nadie Se Libra En Tamohuanchan
05 - La Diosa De Las Águilas
06 - El Ánima Sola - Ya Se Llegó La Hora Y Tiempo...
07 - El Arrullo De La Mujer Día, Mujer Luz »BONUS

An image down deep in the ayahuasca; Carlos Castaneda receiving the full force love of Don Juan's immortal technique via 64-bit Genesis synth-pads

Downplaying the electronic element and expanding the arsenal of prehispanic instruments, Comala shifted the emphasis towards "native" ritualism. The sinister, ghostly atmosphere of the 12-minute Comala is built by a jungle of objects and voices that work their way through a lattice of electronic drones. Water and other found sounds vibrate inside the belly of Nadie Se Libra, a nightmarish vision of the otherworld. Everything collides in the tragic atmosphere of El Anima Sola, that blends vocal samples, solemn electronics, martial drums and a mournful ocarina.
 - Piero Scaruffi

Jorge Reyes - Comala

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The Crystals - "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)"

"He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)" is a pop song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and recorded by The Crystals under the guidance of Phil Spector in 1962.

The song

Goffin and King wrote the song after discovering that singer Little Eva was being regularly beaten by her boyfriend. When they inquired why she tolerated such treatment, Eva replied, with complete sincerity, that her boyfriend's actions were motivated by his love for her.

The song was written and intended as a sort of protest song from the point of view of an abused woman. Phil Spector's arrangement was ominous and ambiguous.

It was a brutal song, as any attempt to justify such violence must be, and Spector’s arrangement only amplified its savagery, framing Barbara Alston’s lone vocal amid a sea of caustic strings and funereal drums, while the backing vocals almost trilled their own belief that the boy had done nothing wrong. In more ironic hands (and a more understanding age), 'He Hit Me' might have passed at least as satire. But Spector showed no sign of appreciating that, nor did he feel any need to. No less than the song’s writers, he was not preaching, he was merely documenting.
 - Dave Thompson

Upon its initial release, "He Hit Me" received some airplay, but then there was a widespread protest of the song, with many concluding that the song was an endorsement of spousal abuse. The song soon became played only rarely on the radio, as now.
 - Wikipedia

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