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FAUN

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Faun biography
Just what is a Faun, you ask? That would be the flute-playing mythical creature who is half goat and half human. That is fantasy, the reality is FAUN are a German neo prog band born in 1992 comprising of Christoph Roth (vocals, key board and percussion), Steffen Schuerkens (drums, vocals and guitar) and Helmut Weinlaender (bass and guitars) in Wuerzburg. In 1993 they added Marko Brenziger (guitars and keyboards) and Evelyn Ott (flute and keyboards) to round out the band.

Making their mark in small clubs and festivals, the band experienced their first real taste of the big time with an appearance at famous Wuerzburger Kulturjahrmarkt (KuJa), a three day music and theater event. About a year later, Ulrich Miksa (sound, live-mix, arrangement, keyboards) joined and was in charge of the live sound for the band.

At the tail end of 1994 into 1995, FAUN went into the recording studio for the first time to lay down a few tracks for their debut. Due to musical differences, only a few of the recorded tracks were finished.

FAUN experienced a personnel change in 1995 with the departure of Evelyn Ott. She was replaced by Brigitte Groll (flutes and keyboards) six months later. Brigitte's first big appearance with FAUN was shortly after she joined the band at the "Umsonst & Draussen"- festival in Wuerzburg. At the same time, the demo-tape "Remembrance" (still with Evelyn Ott) was published. Five of the seven tracks were from a live gig, the rest of them were recorded in the studio. Many appearances at open air concerts and a progressive rock festival followed.

In January of 1997 at a concert with the Japanese instrumental trio "Ars Nova", FAUN received praise by national press for the first time and were able to present themselves to a broader audience. After an appearance at a progressive rock festival of the Pink Floyd & Art rock magazine "Eclipsed" in Aschaffenburg, the song "The Stone' was published on the "Sysyphus" sampler volume 3- along with songs by famous international bands of the same genre.

The next few years proved to be very turbulent for FAUN as the band began to drift apart musically. Additionally, the band took more hits as members had to relocate due to their 9 to 5 jobs. In January of 1998, the official farewell concert in the arches of the Bechtolsheimer Hof in Wuerzburg. The band performed their complete repertoire, which was documented for the live CD Wondrous End, making it their debut AND farewell CD.

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Midgard: Limited Deluxe EditionMidgard: Limited Deluxe Edition
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Von Den ElbenVon Den Elben
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RenaissanceRenaissance
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HEART OF BERLIN 2009
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LichtLicht
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HEART OF BERLIN 2009
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FAUN discography


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3.78 | 10 ratings
Wondrous End
1998

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FAUN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Wondrous End by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.78 | 10 ratings

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Wondrous End
Faun Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars This is a slow burner that becomes phosphorus.

I must admit that I just recently hooked this mysterious album thanks in no large part to the reviews I have read about its uniqueness, a one-shot posthumously released wonder live album from a group of unknown Germans. What an adventure this is, perhaps enlightening that aspect of progressive rock that makes fans so different: we are constantly on the lookout for distant horizons, lost treasures and magical discoveries. This 2 CD set has a lot of music on it, mostly a bevy of heroic pieces within the 10 to 14 minute range but it must be viewed rather as a remarkable legacy of something that didn't happen in any commercial sense at all, inherently ultra-pure by nature. A conscientious critic must therefore appreciate the context here and apply a certain amount of latitude in not comparing this work to anything or anybody else. This is also about as un-Teutonic prog as it gets, no where near Krautrock, Tangerine Dream or Triumvirat, Novalis, Eloy and co?but rather an organic Celtic-tinged, flute-laden style that prefers to create rustic moods and mythological atmospheres as opposed to tight modern rock pieces. The music is therefore extremely personal, with untamed brilliant musicians exalting in their own vision, a fabulously expressive vocalist (accentless by the way) courtesy of keyboardist Christoph Roth, a sprawling, at times powerful guitarist in Marko Brenzinger and an ultra solid polyrhythmic drummer in Steffen Schuerkens . The bass guitar keeps everything tightly in check, daring to infuse some dazzling flurries into the mix.. But Brigitte Groll's flute remains the main agitator of emotions and seeps seductively into every sinew of each composition. There are too many tracks here to warrant a precise countdown-analysis but suffice to state that there are lots of surprises here, from the incredibly animated title track that sets the tone early on with crystalline piano and wailing guitars, as well as the impeccably melodic, I daresay symphonic expanse of a "Flute in the Fog" (a massive classic highlight here). The same can be said for the epic "Thousand Days Before", a launch pad for some memorable soloing by all the protagonists. On occasion, the short pieces for contrast purposes, the mood turns highly medieval as on "In Vain" and unapologetically into neo territory such as on the agonizing moans on "Micemakers", the anthemic "Weaponless" or the bass blinding assault "The Stone" where they sound like a much mellower Saga; damn I promised not to compare, entschuldigen! . The colossal "Warm September Rain" is achingly striking, a shuddering vocal delivery that induces compassion and understanding, caressed by some fine piano accompaniment (great keyboardist to boot!). This has classic stamped all over it, arguably even a landmark prog song, a no denying expression of emotion of the purest kind. The last song CD1 and the first piece on CD2 are the Born Bad 1 and 2, (23 minutes of hyperbliss) a lurid suite that encompasses all their artistic scope and textural breath, proving conclusively that this could have been a legendary band, with a long life in the underground. Prog scene. The interplay is solid, yet creative, loosening any grip on the flute to wander and paint the sky. This posthumous recording is perhaps one of the finest examples of what could have been had these magnificent musicians stayed the course. This is a prog collector's dream acquisition 4.5 half-human, half-goats

 Wondrous End by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.78 | 10 ratings

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Wondrous End
Faun Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars An interesting release from this German band back in 1998. It's a double live cd from a concert that was held in January of 1998.They did tack three songs on at the end of the second disc of two studio tracks and a demo. So both discs are well over 70 minutes.This was their only release.They are listed under Neo-Prog but there are Symphonic, Folk and Celtic flavours prominant as well. Vocals are in English. Each tune except for the last three of course ends with applause. Lots of piano and flute on this one.

"Sylving Moons" is a top three with those nature sounds along with lots of atmosphere and flute.Vocal melodies too.This is different from all the rest and I really like it. "Wondrous End" opens with piano and it builds as guitar helps out then flute and vocals.The bass becomes prominant as well.Vocal melodies come and go. A guitar solo 7 minutes in. "A Flute In The Fog" has a Classical flavour with flute and keys leading.Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes as it settles.The flute is Celtic sounding 7 minutes in with vocals. "Thousand Days Before" has a Celtic flavour and is almost like a Jig as vocals join in. It's spacey before 3 minutes then the guitar plays tastefully as it builds.The guitar is crying out later on. "In Vain" has Celtic flute then reserved vocals take over as the flute comes and goes. "Micemakers" is a vocal led track with drums, piano, bass,synths and guitar all helping out. "Weaponless" opens with guitar as reserved vocals join in then flute as it gets fuller. Piano leads during the instrumental break then guitar. "The Stone" has an epic intro as bass and drums join in. Keys lead before 1 1/2 minutes then the vocals arrive. It settles before 4 minutes with vocals and flute but the tempo continues to change. "Warm September Rain" is piano and reserved vocals throughout. "Born Bad I" opens with guitar as reserved vocals join in. It kicks in after 5 1/2 minutes then settles right down after 7 1/2 minutes before kicking back in with guitar from 10 1/2 minutes almost to the end.

Disc two starts with "Born Bad II" opens with synths then we get a beat with bass.This is good. A calm with flute before 3 minutes then it kicks back in with guitar and flute before 6 1/2 minutes. "On A Magician's Flight" is pretty much piano throughout. Impressive though. "Lady Banshee" opens with the wind blowing as guitar and a beat join in. It does get passionate with vocals and we get some Latimer-like guitar.Check out the guitar solo late to end it. Amazing ! A top three right here. "Great Is The Empire" is acoustic guitar and reserved vocal led then the flute joins in. Synths too create some atmosphere. "Mr.Industry" opens with vibes and background synths as it builds.Vocals and a full sound before 2 minutes.This song goes from flute led and pastoral to guitar led and heavy. Lots of mood shifts on it. Love the dark sound and heaviness before 9 minutes as the synths join in. It runs mellow again.

I wish those Folk and Celtic elements weren't on here because I know I would appreciate this more if they were absent. Still there's so much to like about this recording. If I could make my own 40 minute album out of the over 145 minutes that's on here i'd be happy. 3.5 stars.

 Wondrous End by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.78 | 10 ratings

BUY
Wondrous End
Faun Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars When I found this CD and heard first the first time I was quite elated. It was a double album, over two hours long, and it was mostly made of live tracks. The music was stunning and I thought they were a band with at least a few studio albums behind them. What was my surprise when I fount out through PA that Faun´s Wonderous End was their sole release! Taking in consideration the quality of the songs, the professional recording and the impeccable performances, it was hard to believe. But there it is: this fine german group has only one CD and nothing more.

The music here is hard to compare: they sound familiar in several ways, and yet they were quite unique. Most of the time they sound like a prog folk band, thansk to the several acoustic parts and very nice flutes. But there are strong symphonic, neo and ethnic parts too. Some excellent classical influenced keyboards lines and very good electric guitar solos burst frequently. In fact, their songwriting and playing is so varied and strong, it is hard to describe them. What could have been a lack of personality came across as a very eclectic, yet coherent, whole. The production is excelent and you can hear very well every nuance and detail.

Vocals are in english (with a few spoken words in german here and there) and while not very outstanding, they are still good and passionate. The CD comes with 3 studio tracks, two of them are already played on the live parts of the record and one, Shrovetide, is a demo. There are no fillers and the quality of the tracks vary between good (a few) to excellent (most of them).

It is a real shame Faun is no longer around. They were more than just promising. And this CD is proof of that. I´m glad it was someone had the good sense to release it for the prog market.

Conclusion: a real lost prog gem. And a big one! Over 145 minutes of very good music! An excellent addition to any prog music collection. 4 strong stars, no less.

 Wondrous End by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.78 | 10 ratings

BUY
Wondrous End
Faun Neo-Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars How strange, an obscure German band released only one CD finally, that being double, and almost all live. I would not be surprised if this were a unique phenomenon. I believe Faun may have already disbanded by the time these disks were put together. Such a pity, for we all lost out on something really worthwhile, at a time when German prog was barely an echo of its former self. The title "Wondrous End" is so very apt.

How to describe the music of Faun - soft, heavy, tranquil, wild, pastoral, jarring, flutes, lead guitars, powerful English vocals, great instrumentals, you get the idea. It is not nearly as oriented to mysterious rituals and dancing around a bonfire as the band name suggests, yet a woodsy feel is present in some of the material. We hear hints of much earlier bands such as Saga, a Canadian group with superstar status in Germany before they were known elsewhere, or Germans Eloy. Neither of those groups utilized the flute, and Faun avoided the somewhat schmaltzy tendencies of both (whom I enjoy both, I hasten to say) while still producing touching songs. Their melodies were more angular and somehow driven by guitar licks and powerful bass as much as by keys and flutes. The maturity level of this group was remarkable, and, as hinted above, they were exemplary in their ability to juxtapose contrasts that would seem absurd in lesser hands.

The highlights are many, but it's hard not to be entranced by the title cut with its gentle beginnings, building vocals and catchy riffs; the suspenseful "Flute in the Fog" ; "Thousand Days Before" ; the olde Englishe sounding "In Vain"; the brilliant "Micemakers" (walking on our street...following our feet) which sounds like it has mellotron choir; and "Warm September Rain", which is as pretty a ballad as you will hear, and this is just CD1. The second CD features several duplicates but in a studio setting or with added parts, but the piano dominated instrumental "On A Magician's Flight", the surreal "Lady Banshee", and the final cut, the paganish "Shrovetide" are all major achievements. Loss of focus does occur in a few of the weaker cuts like the two "Born Bad" pieces and "The Stone", but these also have good moments and can be forgiven their trespasses.

This wondrous work is recommended to anyone looking for something a bit different than the standard "neo prog" fare, and who enjoys an adventurous spirit applied to accessible song structures. Perhaps we can spark a bit of a Faun revival.

Thanks to ProgLucky; Eric Walker for the artist addition.

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