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Faun - Licht CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.86 | 11 ratings

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3 stars Faun’s second studio release stretches their sound out a bit, and also gives several of the band members an opportunity to demonstrate the range of their musical ability. While the group’s ‘Zaubersprüche’ is quite heavy on whiny hurdy-gurdy, Jew’s harp and decent but overdone flute, ‘Licht’ finds Fiona Rüggeberg and Oliver Sa Tyr in particular digging deeper into their respective instrument bags.

While my respect for the group’s musical abilities grew quite a bit with this album, Rüggeberg actually seems to be one of the more accomplished players, at least on this album and the videos associated with it. Her repertoire includes a Rüggeberg that looks just like a recorder but sounds like a wooden clarinet (I guess the thing has a reeded mouthpiece, which explains the sound); also some sort of bagpipe of indeterminate pedigree; and all sorts of whistles, recorders and flutes including what I believe is a pan flute on several of the later tunes. I’m pretty sure she also plays violin but not on this album to the best of my knowledge.

Sa Tyr on the other hand is into things with strings rather than those that get blown into. His contributions include lots of Celtic harp, especially on the slower tunes like “Isis” and “Von den Elben”; bouzouki which seems to pretty much take the place where a guitar would make more sense in most other bands; and a couple different lutes, which of course no German pagan folk band should be without. He also plays a didgeridoo a couple of places, but really you either have to be a real expert on that instrument or watch videos of the band to distinguish where he’s playing this versus Rüggeberg playing her recorder; or at least I have trouble telling them apart.

Speaking of didgeridoo, the band sure gets into their drone sounds on this and all their other albums. The dark-haired lovely in the band (Elisabeth Pawelke) is constantly going on with her hurdy-gurdy, an instrument I’ve never heard anyone but Adaro’s Konstanze Kulinsky truly breath any life into. The whiny drone strings from that thing combine with her own vocals, the didgeridoo, Sa Tyr’s nickel harp which also has drone strings, and the bagpipes’ drone pipe to give songs like “Ne Aludj El” and “Andro” a pagan sound that manages to give off more than a hint of a Moroccan vibe. I doubt that’s what the band intended, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

I’ve watched quite a few videos of the band lately, and seeing them performing live has given me quite a bit more appreciation for their ability and sound than just listening to studio albums. There are two videos with this CD, the songs “Punagra” and “Andro”. Both are quite interesting to watch; while the videos themselves aren’t elaborate productions or anything, they do show the band members to be quite serious musicians demonstrating an appreciation for their craft. My respects to them for that.

Like I said earlier, this album has a bit more range than the debut, which seemed to rely too heavily on hurdy-gurdy drone and Jew’s harp twanging. Here there are some lighter songs, including the almost ballad-like “Isis” and “Fort” with its three-part vocal harmonies that are both quite beautiful. The band can also kick things up, which they do on the dissonant and rather tense “Wind & Geige” (‘geige’ being that uncredited violin which I believe is played by Rüggeberg). And they even throw in a spoken-word piece with “Cernunnos”, which I personally could have done without but which I’m sure has some meaning to whoever understands Lower German or whatever odd tongue guest artist Christian von Aster is speaking in.

In all this one is better than the first album, although in retrospect I kind of wish I’d bought the DVD that was released in conjunction with this CD instead since the band can be much better appreciated if you are watching them as opposed to just listening to them. With that said, I’m going to give this three stars and a fair recommendation anyway. Their next album gets even a little better, but this one is worth picking up especially if you’re into darker pagan-leaning groups like Adaro, In Gowan Ring, Tenhi, stuff like that.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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