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Favni (Fauns) - Awaiting the Sun CD (album) cover

AWAITING THE SUN

Favni (Fauns)

 

Prog Folk

4.35 | 8 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Berlin-based Fauns now include a follow up album to their stunning debut Leaffall (over which I "fawned" effusively!) and while the kitchen menu remains pretty much intact , some of the cooks have changed, with the departure of the lead guitarist Paul Lesny , keyboardist Mira Stübing and Maya Langholz' rather magical female vocals. 'Kein problem' as new keysman Jan Hecker-Stampehl is in and the vocals are handled by the three male Hartmann brothers who alter the overall mood only very slightly while flutist/violinist Kirsten Middeke provides the continuance of Maya's vocal flame . There is that same strong folk vibe intertwined with some harsher guitar sounds (which made Leaffall such a joyous surprise) but now owning a perhaps more refined sound. The screeching leads are goose bumping, the keyboard colorations grandiose and the acoustic guitar continues to sparkle in the gothic mist.

As with the debut, this sophomore recording has 3 ambitious pieces that simply startle and stun. Two explosive 10 minute epics "The Path" and "A Perfect Place" combine with the 20 minute finale, the luscious "Dawn". They alone define clearly the style and scope of this original band as described on their website: "The Fauns combine acoustic instruments with rock appeal, folkloristic influences with elements of progressive rock, melancholic moments with sound explosions. Flutes, viola and various acoustic guitars interact with keyboards and electric guitars; complex structures and odd time signatures are an integral part of the musical style. There is no one category into which the Fauns allow themselves to be put; their music thrives on the variety of its different influences, the unifying element being intensity of emotion and atmosphere". Jawohl! The truth lies amid the wondrous tracks that merge splendidly into the ultimate prog-folk escapism, conjuring up deep and vivid images that seem to weave serene shadows with dark wisps of lore. The occasional mellotron swells laced with acoustic guitar rekindle fond memories of early Genesis circa Trespass, the lush male vocals and atmospherics will wink at Mariusz Duda's Lunatic Soul and the attention to detail is simply sublime.

"The Path" is perhaps the finest piece here, full of breath, contrast and musicality. The main melody is achingly gorgeous from the get-go, a shiny musical corridor on which the emotion is layered exquisitely, lush with vivid and romantic passages, again shepherded by twinkling acoustic guitars and sweet yet trembling child-like vocals from Kirsten. The flutes flutter, the piano pounces and the bass booms mightily. Time is not of the essence, as the dreamy expanse slithers forward, enchanting and voluptuous. The mellotron-laden finale is straight out of the early Genesis catalogue, stylish ebb and flow with bird chirpings for effect. Stunning!

"A Perfect Place" is harder-edged, gritty, rambunctious and swooning, flowing from one extreme to another, where greasy guitar drones collide with lush acoustic orchestrations and finally providing a melancholic lead vocal that seems almost dizzy and soporific, as if trekking through a dense forest carpeted by magical mushrooms, disobedient branches and rebellious shrubs, occasionally disturbed by a furtively muffled wild animal growl. Welcome to the land of grey and black, awaiting the arrival of the sun. This is not quiet and placid at all, by any stretch, testimony to the band's musical vision of constant change.

"Dawn" in contrast, takes it sweet time in blooming, a languid acoustic guitar crescendo is first established, weaving a sophisticated melody that is supported by flute and mellotron, both languorous and seductive , beckoning the somber male and female vocals as if a chant dedicated to the arrival of the light that warms the earth. The extended and intricate guitar work is elevated by a superb organ solo from the new man, abetted by some forceful drumming and ultimately spiced up with dazzling flute. Only then does the electric axe kick in, albeit only to ratchet up the tension with fuzzy restraint and endless sustain. And then, it's back to square one, start all over gain, creating a bewildering sense of timelessness, serenity and imagination. The marshalling military snare drum assault only appends dimension and depth, raising the forlorn heartbeat of one's contentment.

The shorter tracks are no less invigorating, from the soaring introduction "Scenes from a Dream" flavored by some group harmonies and stormy guitar waves, then the swerving and crescendo-laden "Every Wave its Prey" and finally the cymbal-infected and violin scarred "Way to the Sun". All three are mini-symphonies , absolutely stellar pieces of the sonic puzzle.

Another bombshell release that has rocked my progressive world, fans of prog-folk need to add this and 'schnell' to their collection. A perfect companion to Leaffall and proof that Fauns is a frontrunner to behold, owning a place of prestige in the prog-folk sub-genre. 5 Insomniac Teutonic Elves

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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