Title: The Essential Album Collection Vol.1
Classic krautrock all the way from Munich and all the way from 1970 when Popol Vuh were initially formed. They were the first German group to use the Moog-synthesiser but that was partly because the main man, Florian Fricke (who died in 2001), had a healthy bank account. Any musician with more than a fiver in their pockets is a rarity in music, as you know.
As this is Vol.1, then you’d expect the group’s earlier works and you’d be right to a degree. What you get here, remastered by Popol Vuh members Guido Hieronymus and Frank Fiedler are Affenstunde (1970, the debut), Hosianna Mantra (1972, the third album), Einsjäger & Siebenjäger (1974, the fifth album), Aguirre (1975, a soundtrack) and Nosferatu (1978, another soundtrack). Bonus cuts are included.
The general musical themes within the krautrock umbrella include ambient, soundscape, prog and world music.
In mastering terms, there is a slightly fuzzy aspect to the sound which betrays the electronic instruments used in this era. If you have ever seen a soft gauze filter placed over a Hollywood movie camera, intended to give the female lead a more romantic and softer look, then you’ll know what I mean.
The effect is definitely of the time and perfectly suitable and expected so even harsher, more cutting midrange synth crescendos have an ever so slightly rolled off treble feel to them. As I say though as expected so nothing to worry about. In a similar way, the music doesn’t contrast starkly with a no-noise backdrop as you might hear on modern recordings but tends to emerge from a soft cloud of synth-based, low level distortion. You’ve even hear some friendly feedback-type effects from the synths to add spice. You could say, therefore, that the mastering is wholly sympathetic. I approve.
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Dermot26th May 2019 at 7:05 pm
Got this myself Paul only a while back. I’ve always been a Vuh fan and have everything they ever brought out on vinyl. So why did I buy the box set? The magic mantra : Remastered! We tend to slip up every time lol! Anyway imagine my total surprise when listening to Aguirre over on Side Two (Vergegenwaerttigung) to discover a completely different track! Then I remembered. This track was originally a long cosmic synth piece which featured on the original issue, which, due to poor pressing issues, was left off subsequent releases. So this was actually the very first time I got to listen to this near mythical piece despite having three ‘spare’ copies! Of course there’s absolutely no indication whatsoever on the sleeve about this.
Anyway thanks for the review. One cannot have enough of Florian Fricke’s muse despite the fact that some people just don’t get it. But, thankfully, he did and the world is a far better place with his music still in circulation. The sound has a slightly meatier aspect to it too than before and sounds exactly as you describe.
Paul Rigby27th May 2019 at 10:39 am
Excellent – thanks for the extra info Dermot!
Dermot27th May 2019 at 11:33 am
I forgot to mention that even though that track I mentioned above is different for the box set it still retains the same title!
Paul Rigby27th May 2019 at 3:08 pm
Thanks Dermot 🙂
michael allen9th August 2020 at 6:59 am
I have only just seen this on your website,It was a couple of years ago when you alerted me to the Wah Wah vinyl re-issues which i then purchased.This issue looks very similar ,is the mastering different to the Wah Wah issues? I would very much like to hear your opinion.By the way I have yet used your formula in the Audiodesk i waiting till the warranty runs out first! Thanks again for the advice on turntables,all chances of listening to them thrown up in the air by covid 19! but but the new audio note turntable is out now and in the new year I will hopefully get to hear it. My last turntable, i have persevered with the lp12 since 1983,in a love hate relationship.all the best for now.
michael allen9th August 2020 at 11:05 am
Are these vinyl lp’s of the same original as the wah wah records? they look like they have the same insert and posters.
Paul Rigby10th August 2020 at 12:41 pm
Hi Michael – on the face of it, no. That said, I’ve no idea what might be going on behind the scenes but not up front, at any rate.