Born in Germany in 1944,
Florian was interested in music from an early age, taking up the piano
at the age of seven. In 1959, he dropped out of school to study piano
full time, until he was 19, when he decided to head out into the real
world where he directed his own short film and worked as a film/music
critic. During this time he met director Werner Herzog
in Munich, and the pair would work together for over three decades,
beginning with an appearance as a piano player in Herzog's first
feature film Signs of Life (1968) and composing the soundtrack for the simply strange Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970). Fricke was one of the first German composers to embrace synthesisers and used the revolutionary MOOG III.
In 1970 he estabished a group named Popul Vuh, after the Mayan book of
life, and they released the experimental electronic album Affenstunde. Over the next decades they released a variety of albums moving from electronic to ethnic themes, inspired
by some of the most remote areas of the globe, including the Middle
East and Tibet, and credited as some of the first examples of new age music. Fricke and the group also continued to work with Werner Herzog
to provide haunting scores to some of his best films. In the late 1990s
he shot several music videos, combining natural images with their
haunting music, and he developed a voice training programme for
vocalists, known as The Alphabet of the Body. In 2001 Florian Fricke died of a stroke.
film scores are distinctive, his work in the 1970s especially haunting thanks to his use of the eerie choir-effects of the
synthesiser organs. This music is probably closest compared to Greek
film composer Vangelis (Blade Runner (1982)), although while most Vangelis scores are entirely electronic, Fricke often mixes his synthesised music in with real
Although Fricke is best known for his film scores, most of which are
not available on audio CD, anyone interested in experimental electronic
music, and ethnic new age music would be advised to check out the Popul Vuh albums - some of the
most haunting music ever recorded.