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Recreating Popol Vuh
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Recreating Popol Vuh
Annwn
I love the sound Florian created for this track:



Wondering if anyone's tried emulating this kind of choirey/flutey sound? So haunting!

It'd be interesting to know if it's multitracked or if he used that DIY mellotron he apparently built for Aguirre.



Any Popol Vuh nuts on here with insights?
chrisso
Love the music they did for Herzog.
I think they had a Moog modular.
The flute sound is achievable with a couple of oscillators, an LFO and a low pass filter.
It's just an lfo with a delayed attack doing the vibrato. Probably mixing a couple of waveforms, slightly detuned for the chorussing. Use a filter to roll off any harsh top end.
It can be done with Eurorack.

The Aguirre stuff definitely sounds like mostly mellotron, with Moog modular playing some other lines and rhythmic patterns.
kindredlost
Oh yes, (fan that is). I've tried to emulate the sound of a Moog modular many times with little to no success.

These sounds are the domain of a particular type of signal train from the oscillators to the mixers to the filters to the vca's to the console to the tape rendering and final disc pressing.

I have a small start with the recent build of a cp3 style mixer.

Now, some would disagree and say it's a matter of how you work each element.

For instance, Michael Hoenig made an album a few decades ago titled "Departure From the Northern Wasteland" in which a lot of these pseudo flute/brass tones are heard and he never touched a Moog modular as far as I know. Really though the subtlety of the sounds on "In den Garten Pharaos" is another thing entirely and hardly compares in my opinion.

I tend to still stick with the former analysis and believe that unless a person is either fortunate enough to own a Moog system or is skilled enough to have the EE chops to re-create one, then the quest is like the pilgrimage of a lifetime. The nice thing about modern DSP's and such is that if you are clever enough to employ the right combinations of modulations etc., then some of this can be roughly forged.

BTW, I've been listening to your offerings on the "Your Tunes Here" section for the last hour or so. I can hear many similarities and can understand your appeal for Popol Vuh. Keep striving for the golden ring. I haven't given up trying to achieve this mystic sound.

Your stuff is mesmerizing BTW. Thanks for sharing it.
Etan
Love Popol Vuh!

In case you didn't see it, they have some notes about the choir organ and moog synth on their website:
http://www.popolvuh.nl/pvchoir
Annwn
Thanks! Yeah, Popol Vuh's definitely an inspiration for getting that mystic/electronic mix.

Interesting note about the signal chain. The reason I asked originally was after seeing a video on Switched On Austin's website. They mention the filterbank imparting cool distortions on the signal which made me instantly think of the Popol Vuh sound which tends to sound slightly distorted. Wasn't sure if that was within the synth itself or just tape distortion though!
chamomileshark
Aguirre was a mellotron much to my disappointment. Fricke had mentioned in an interview that he had got a particular vocal sound out of the Moog and having found it stopped using it.

I remember hearing an interview where Froesse alledged that they got Fricke into TD because of the Moog but were then dismayed that fricke was clueless about getting it to work and had this "gorilla" to do it for him. No idea if that is true or not.

Anyway, the choir was mellotron after all

"In order to come close to Herzog’s ideas for the music, Fricke decided to use the ‘choir-organ’, he was acquainted with through Jimmy Jackson and/or Herbert Prasch.
Herzog must have seen this instrument, as he explains in ‘Images at the Horizon’ (1979):

[...] “I’ve always worked very hard to select the music, but, in doing so, I’ve usually worked very closely with my friend Florian Fricke. For example, to create the music that is used in the opening of AGUIRRE we used a very strange instrument which we called a ‘choir-organ’. This instrument has inside it three dozen different tapes running parallel to each other in loops. The first of these tapes has the pitch in fifths, and the next has the whole scale. All these tapes are running at the same time, and there is a keyboard on which you can play them like on a organ so that, when you push one particular key, a certain loop will go on forever and sound just like a human choir but yet, at the same time, very artificial and really quite eerie”

http://www.popolvuh.nl/pvchoir

If I could read German there is probably alot of interesting stuff here

http://www.popolvuh.nl/pvmoog
chamomileshark
I really should read the thread more carefully in future d'oh!
felixer
kindredlost wrote:

These sounds are the domain of a particular type of signal train from the oscillators to the mixers to the filters to the vca's to the console to the tape rendering and final disc pressing.

I have a small start with the recent build of a cp3 style mixer.

get an old taperecorder. pref with tubes/valves. can be had cheaply on ebay nowadays Mr. Green old tape/valve echounits are nice too but hyped up to collectoritems with ditto prices waah
all sorts of digital emulations can work well too, but it's easy to spend more money on that then on the real thing ... plus its sooo easy to switch to halfspeed which is instant 'mystic-float' hihi
chrisso
You wont get exact, but you can make warm flute sounds with vibrato on any decent analogue with a couple of voices. I've made some astounding ones not dissimilar to Popol Vuh on my OB Four Voice. It took a while, with a lot of tweaking, I admit.
Of course, Moog Modular is an incredible instrument. And the 70's recording technology involved, swimming in reverb (EMT Plate?) imparts a ton of atmosphere.
Tronman
If you have a sampler, I have some Mellotron Combined Choir samples in WAV format that you could probably muck up and get a fairly close sound to the choir organ. You would have to loop the samples because they're only about 7 seconds in length. The Combined Choir is the famous 8-Choir and Boys Choir combined, so the upper register is a bit more shrill than the 8-Choir alone.

http://www.leisureland.us/audio/MellotronSamples/MellotronSamples.htm
Annwn
Oh cool. I actually just found those samples in my Sample folder from ~1 year ago; I'd completely forgot about them. oops

Thank you for reminding me and for making them available!
Tronman
And thanks for starting this thread! I'd forgotten how much I like Popol Vuh. Now I have 3 CDs on order.
MindMachine
kindredlost wrote:
Oh yes, (fan that is). element.

For instance, Michael Hoenig made an album a few decades ago titled "Departure From the Northern Wasteland" in which a lot of these pseudo flute/brass tones are heard and he never touched a Moog modular as far as I know. Really though the subtlety of the sounds on "In den Garten Pharaos" is another thing entirely and hardly compares in my opinion.



He did use a small Moog modular and 960 on that record. I wish he had more releases.

I need to cue up Wrath of God... on VHS hihi .
Paulson
Hi,
I'm very late to this party.
However, there is some great info on this blog.:
https://sanjindumisic.com/popol-vuh-and-the-choir-organ-sound-in-aguir re/

It's an evolution of this YouTube post. Friends of Florian Fricke posted on the YouTube vlog. Pretty authoritative research.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhJYLsTLBZ4

I also wanted to say a big thanks to Tronman. I've just downloaded his Mellotron patches and am looking forward to playing with them to try and recreate the sounds of Aguirre.
tongebirge
There is a Krautrock Docu from BBC on YT.
There is told that the Sounds came not from a Mellotron but from a Choir Machine however seriously, i just don't get it
Like to now what that Mysterious Machine was Guinness ftw!

Here is the link to that BBC Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnMhkkgWpG4
calaveras
Just get a Streichfett and use one of the UAD or Slate tape sim plug ins for that vintage sound.
mousegarden
These records were produced at a time when it was very difficult to figure out how some sounds were made, or even what the instrument was. It was a magical time, and what got me into electronic music in general. Nowadays, sounds are very recognisable, hence, no magic, no mystery, no individuality.
Annwn
4 years on and Popol Vuh is still a mystery!

To be clear, I am aware that the keyboard used in Aguirre was the mythical choir organ as revealed in the link by Paulson.
I was wanting to know if anyone could identify the similarly haunting sound in "In Den Gärten..." starting around the 1 minute mark. I do wonder if it's the same instrument with an "ooh" tape set loaded in rather than the "aah"s of Aguirre? Could even have been run through the filterbank on the 960 perhaps too!

Anyway since I posted this back in '13, I'm pretty happy to just listen to the magic now rather than dissect it.

Thanks for all the contributions though and long live Popol Vuh!
Lauflicht
Here is some more info I found on these magic choir sounds:

https://sanjindumisic.com/popol-vuh-and-the-choir-organ-sound-in-aguir re/
felixer
Tronman wrote:
If you have a sampler, I have some Mellotron Combined Choir samples in WAV format that you could probably muck up and get a fairly close sound to the choir organ. You would have to loop the samples because they're only about 7 seconds in length. The Combined Choir is the famous 8-Choir and Boys Choir combined, so the upper register is a bit more shrill than the 8-Choir alone.

http://www.leisureland.us/audio/MellotronSamples/MellotronSamples.htm

do not loop mellotron sounds! having only 7-8 seconds forces you to play in a particular style which is very much what makes a mellotron. use an echomachine! and get into that 'spider-style' of playing!
felixer
btw fricke sold his modular moog to klaus schulze who had no problems getting great sounds with it. soon after fricke stopped using electronics all together! guess it was just not his thing ...
mousegarden
felixer wrote:
use an echomachine! and get into that 'spider-style' of playing!


"The Crawl" I think some folks call it...?

He explains it somewhere...

cycad73
Odyssey 2800 (the white one) is really good for this type of sound. I know that's not what was used, but that instantly came to mind.

Basically two ways to get the hint of a vocal formant: osc2 (square) synced to osc1 (saw) then lots of FM with osc 1 saw. Osc2 generally much higher freq. than osc1. Low filter cutoff, so that mostly the saw dominates.

Or FM the filter with osc2 square and feed only osc1 (saw) into the filter. The cutoff is again very low, but the hint of a formant makes all the difference.

Resonance: start from zero, increase to taste (without resonance the 2800 filter is kind of thin).

Just a hint of vibrato on osc1. This is crucial.

My favorite (besides the unreleased music from the Steiner documentary) is Hosianna Mantra which was the first all-acoustic album... the Moog being sold to Klaus Schulze... perhaps Florian had "learned" that electronic-type sounds are best made with acoustic instruments and human vocalists wink
thee ghost ov n_phay


Trying to work out the choir organ chords from 2:30 onwards on this, got it kind of worked out up to there (sounds v nice on lambda choir sound in higher register) but between the murky production, and the CD seemingly being mastered off a 12" in non-mint condition, I'm struggling from here on in. Any ideas anyone?
Tronman
felixer wrote:
Tronman wrote:
If you have a sampler, I have some Mellotron Combined Choir samples in WAV format that you could probably muck up and get a fairly close sound to the choir organ. You would have to loop the samples because they're only about 7 seconds in length. The Combined Choir is the famous 8-Choir and Boys Choir combined, so the upper register is a bit more shrill than the 8-Choir alone.

http://www.leisureland.us/audio/MellotronSamples/MellotronSamples.htm

do not loop mellotron sounds! having only 7-8 seconds forces you to play in a particular style which is very much what makes a mellotron. use an echomachine! and get into that 'spider-style' of playing!


Oh, I'm completely against looping Mellotron samples. That's sacrilege. But to get the choir organ effect, you have to use loops of some kind of vocal recordings for that infinite sustain. Part of that disembodied, inhuman sound of the choir organ is that the voices never stop for a breath. The spider technique wouldn't have the same effect.
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