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Favni (Fauns) - LeafFall CD (album) cover

LEAFFALL

Favni (Fauns)

 

Prog Folk

4.02 | 10 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars I took a deliberate plunge into the unknown when I ordered this jewel, hoping that my prog GPS/radar is still honed to the max, despite my advancing wisdom (ok, age!). This German prog-folk newcomer released this debut in 2007 with little or no recognition and it's a damn shame! One word describes this sensational recording = WOW! Similar in line-up but different in sound to Swedish sympho-prog group Introitus , this is a union of a Berlin family of musicians , the Hartmanns specifically Jan-Peer, Falk and Nils Hartmann , aided and abetted by dedicated friends to put together a fascinating album that offers , in their words "Music that tells stories - music off the beaten path". Good old JR Tolkien is the basis for the stories, in some cases using his Elvish dialect lyrics to adorn the songs such as" Tauriel" and "Cuivienen". Three epic tracks conspire together to elevate this recording to dizzying heights, the sensational "On Misty Shores" (8mn36s), the drop-dead splendor of "Dead Winter Sleep"(7mn 28s) and the Celtic-tinged "Cuivienen"(11mn 00s), a triumvirate of absolutely first rate prog-folk that has few rivals. The various shorter tracks are no slouches either, holding their own brilliantly. On the majestic "On Misty Shores" the true nature of the modern progressive folk element comes into play, where seductive acoustic instruments (piano, recorder, violin, viola, flute, acoustic guitar) are blended with rock tendencies, namely well appointed guitar riffs, firm bass and brawny drumming. Maja Langholz has a crystalline voice that can flutter towards the angelic but also croon convincingly. The overall mood is perhaps akin to a mellower version of White Willow or a harder version of Norse folksters Shine Dion, both being rather amazing groups with a high level of talent. The raucous electric guitar remains in austere contrast to the otherwise serene arrangement, just a sizzling track that deserves massive applause. "The Sprig Within her Hair" is more traditionally medieval/ folk, male vocals evoking the spirited melody like some jaunty troubadour,, heavily misty with the usual suspects (the lake and the lilies fair) , again a delightful little ditty. The enormously ravishing "Dead Winter Sleep" is a perfect example of why this genre is so ultimately progressive, combining a simple woodwind melody with woven chords of acoustic guitar (amazing solo) and a stellar lead guitar (riff and solo) intervention. Maja sings with shimmering fragility, elevating a haunting chorus to a celestial pinnacle, without any question, this is a magnificent masterpiece that will remain imprinted on your soul for decades to come. The perfect prog-folk tune, loaded with tiny musical details that shimmer in the winter's sleep. With "Tauriel" the violin shepherds the string synths forward, a male vocal that exhorts words that sound like Finnish but in reality are probably from Tolkien's creation of the Elvish language. The weighty folk tendency is upfront and direct, laced within a veil of simplicity and beauty..

"As Her Autumn Song Called" is within the realm of a brisk vocal duet, with woodwinds galore, lyrics sung in English and Elvish, a terrifically rolling song that evokes the country fair (hinting at all the traditional baroque/renaissance idioms). "Lassilanta" is a short recorder solo, a brief respite before tackling the epic finale. "Cuivienem" is the 11 minute show stopper that begins with utter vulnerability, Maja and a guitar conspiring within the loveliest of melodies, as the Elves look up towards the endless night and wonder. A slow oozing lead guitar adds a sprinkle of sizzle to the brewing fire, a masterfully spun web of shadow and filigree, gossamer silks and wisps of heady vapors, supplied by a myriad of instruments performed with perfect dosage. When the piece opens up, the electric guitar decides to go on a tear, little bravado but exquisite in expression, elevating the symphonics to grandiose levels. The keys and synths only add more ornate decoration to the piece. I have fallen in love with this recording, urging my collab colleagues in prog-folk to include them ASAP (which they have, thanks, gents!) and now I must purchase their 2012 release. A massive revelation. Ausgezeichnet! 5 Berlin forest gods

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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