Popol Vuh

Seligpreisung

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Released in 1973, Seligpreisung was, if anything, a complete shock after the gorgeous "religious" rock of Hosianna Mantra. Gone are the hypnotic Gregorian chants and overtone layers of drone. In their place is a kind of shimmering, spacy jazz-rock where, despite a few instances of Florian Fricke chant-singing, the effect is one where his piano becomes the steadiest backdrop, playing hypnotic, repetitive chords and phrases while Conny Veit improvises with David Gilmour-like blues guitar phrases over the gently swirling music. Elsewhere, the rest of the group (the same cats who played on Hosianna Mantra) is heard in classically tinged miniatures that float through the mix with a kind of meandering insistence on instantly recognizable Western thematics and standard conceptions of beauty rather than confrontations -- however subtle -- with the East/West space-time continuum. This is not to say that Seligpreisung is a disappointment; rather, it is only a shock for its giant step backward into the realm of the conventional. Perhaps Hosianna Mantra presented an abyss, and as Fricke looked over it musically, he realized that its beauty was unbearable. For whatever the reason, Seligpreisung is a meditative, generally quiet, and lovely album, but it doesn't go near the precipice.

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