The year was 1972. Florian Fricke had recently sold his Moog synthesizer to Klaus Schulze, trading his trademark electronic sound for piano and African and Turkish percussion. Hosianna Mantra is, on the whole, a far more organic album than the releases which preceded it.
The album showcases violin, tamboura, piano, oboe, cembalo, and 12-string acoustic guitar, accompanied by soprano Djong Yun’s haunting vocals.
Allmusic editor Wilson Neate recalls the timeless healing quality of this record, and Fricke, himself called it, “a mass for the heart.”
I had been searching the corners of the Web for a copy of this record for the better part of 2013. Unfortunately it was only issued in the US one time, in 1981.
Celestial Harmonies, the label which produced the ’81 reissue, had the looney idea of replacing the breathtaking foil emblazened portait art of the album with a stark, white cover bearing a single yellow circle. While I’m normally a strong proponent of minimalism in design, this was not the place for it.
And so my search continued, with most original pressings selling for $75-$100.
Then, by an act of sheer luck (or perhaps divine intervention!) I discovered that a label and record shop in Barcelona had been remastering and reissues LPs from bands like Amon Duul, Between, Embryo, and Popol Vuh!
As good fortune would have it, this very September, Wah Wah Records Supersonic Sound issued the disc I was after. Remastered from the original studio tapes, this disc featured a gatefold sleeve, promotional print of the band, and a double-sided tri-fold insert with liner notes by Popol Vuh expert Dolf Mulder.
As an added bonus, the album shipped with a 7″ single with pic sleeve that reproduces the original, rare 45 by Korean soprano Djong Yun featuring “Du Sollst Lieben” and “Ave Maria”, written by Bettina Fricke and backed by Popol Vuh.
Only 500 copies were produced so I phoned up their shop in Barcelona and locked in my order. The disc arrived in the post this evening, and I’m delighted with the new pressing.
Below are hi-res photos I’ve just taken of the new record, and you can listen to the album in its entirety at the end of this post.
Enjoy the music!