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FAUN

Prog Folk • Germany


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Faun biography
FAUN are a German neofolk band known for their expansive use of traditional, ethnic and modern electric instruments, as well as recorded sounds and synthesized music. The band formed in 2002 and have released four studio albums, one live album and a pair of DVDs to-date.

FAUN's music is heavily centered around lyrics, both ancient and modern, and have also been known to adapt traditional scores and poetry. Their lyrics are sung in a wide range of both modern and historical languages.

>>Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth)<<

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Midgard: Limited Deluxe EditionMidgard: Limited Deluxe Edition
Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$18.55
$18.54 (used)
LichtLicht
Import
HEART OF BERLIN 2008
Audio CD$7.77
$8.15 (used)
RenaissanceRenaissance
Import
HEART OF BERLIN 2009
Audio CD$7.29
$8.27 (used)
Von Den ElbenVon Den Elben
Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$15.11
$14.20 (used)
LunaLuna
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$18.80
$17.82 (used)
EdenEden
Import
HEART OF BERLIN 2011
Audio CD$19.76
$20.12 (used)
TotemTotem
Dancing Ferret 2007
Audio CD$10.04
$10.03 (used)
Buch Der BalladenBuch Der Balladen
Import
HEART OF BERLIN 2009
Audio CD$19.59
$20.02 (used)
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FAUN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FAUN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.77 | 9 ratings
Zaubersprüche
2002
3.86 | 11 ratings
Licht
2003
4.85 | 7 ratings
Renaissance
2005
3.15 | 8 ratings
Totem
2007
3.75 | 4 ratings
Buch der Balladen
2009
4.76 | 10 ratings
Eden
2011
4.00 | 6 ratings
Von Den Elben
2013
4.14 | 39 ratings
Luna
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Midgard
2016

FAUN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Faun & the Pagan Folk Festival
2008

FAUN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Lichtbilder
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ornament
2008

FAUN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FAUN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

FAUN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Totem by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.15 | 8 ratings

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Totem
Faun Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

3 stars I find Totem quite disappointing considering the meteoric rise Faun had achieved from 2002's Zaubersprüche to 2005's Renaissance. After the first two over-electrified songs smack you in the face, the album calms down into simpler song structures that place more emphasis on the vocals--which is similar to their approach on their previous album, Renaissance. But this time there is a lack of power and conviction. There are even several occasions in which I hear obvious instances where the vocal harmonies and musicians' timing are off kilter. Again, disappointing. The lack of emotion conveyed is, to my mind, indicative of intra-band discord. This is Lisa Pawelke's last album with the band--after she had finally achieved prominence and more front time with her vocal talents. She will be missed for an album or two, but, thankfully, the band reloads and comes out better than ever with Buch der Ballladen (2009), Eden (2011), and Luna (2014). The album ends with two songs that are most interesting for the way in which they illustrate the contrast of styles the band has explored: the Goth metal-ish "Zeit nach dem Sturm" and the a cappella female vocal duet between Lisa and Fiona, "Der stille Grund"--perhaps a farewell gesture to Lisa, who left the band to pursue more concentrated studies in classical training. While Totem is a decent, listenable album, it's just not as powerful or engaging as its predecessor.
 Renaissance by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.85 | 7 ratings

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Renaissance
Faun Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars On this their third major album release, FAUN puts on display their continued experimentation with electronic support to the moods of their medieval and Gothic-tinged story telling. This seems to be the directional flow that Germany's prog folk masters have chosen since their more acoustic start on 2002's Zaubersprüche. And it is an incredibly powerful choice.

1. "Satyros" (3:34) The album opens with a very festive yet sacred sounds of multiple female voices harmonizing in Renaissance/mediæval fashion over some hard driving hand percussion and fast moving "ancient" instrumentation. (10/10)

2. "Da Que Deus" (3:54) opens with similarly layered harmonies of multiple female voices but moving at a bit slower a pace than the album opener. Nice recorder and harp solos are given space between the vocal sections. (10/10)

3. "Tagelied" (5:01) opens with strummed lute and deep heart-beat thrum drum establishing a deep penetrating effect before the male lead vocal enters with female background vocal support coming from far back in the mix. There is an ominous, almost scary feeling conveyed through the music and singing of this song. Beautiful wooden flute solos are interspersed between the vocal sections. A brilliantly constructed song. (10/10)

4. "Rhiannon" (3:31) is an instrumental reel that opens with some treated/synthesized and acoustic hand percussives weaving together with bagpipe, bazooka, and other instruments all moving together at breakneck speed. (9/10)

5. "Sirena" (5:11) opens with some sequenced rhythms playing quietly, well behind the harmonized vocal "ooooo-aahhs." The Arabian-tinged droning medieval troubadour music that develops would probably be better were I to have an understanding of the lyrics. (8/10)

6. "Königen" (6:25) opens with some Arabian-sounding female voice panning around in the far background as arpeggiated harp plays in the foreground. Set to a slow tempo of computer- sequenced electronic drums and hi-hat, a single female voice enters to carry the lyric over a beautiful, rather simple melody line. Very little embellishments to the vocals or recorder solis. Pure and simple, the story must be quite powerful in order to have been given this very simple arrangement. Again, I wish I knew the language so I could better appreciate the story of the Kings. Lovely song! (9/10)

7. "Iyansa" (4:51) is another droning simple piece with mostly solo female voice singing the lyric. Hypnotic. (9/10)

8. "Rosmarin" (6:45) returns to the more woven textures of the earlier songs, including the vocals, which start out with just Oliver singing but soon add the female harmonies (interestingly, in a lower register!) Hurdy gurdy, bouzouki, bagpipes, and hand bells and shells weave nicely to form a solid support for the vocals and in-between soli, until at the four minute mark everybody stops and a series of synthetic sounds take over in a quiet interlude before percussive and single-note instruments are slowly added back into the mix. At 5:40 an electric guitar power chord surprises and is repeated every few seconds to the end of the song as a single voice whispers repeatedly "es come der tar" or something like that. Wow! What a surprise! Awesome song! (10/10)

9. "Das Tor" (8:13) opens with another deeply ominous electronic background industrial drone as a crazed female voice hums a simple nursery rhyme melody in the middle ground. Lisa takes up a simple melody alone for the first verse and then is joined by another female voice and some other instrumentation (violin, flutes, hand drums, electronic drums, harp). The song builds and builds, slowly but ever so powerfully, resolutely. Even the vocals begin to climb the ladder of octaves as the foundational rhythms and weaves plod along insistently, unrelentingly, beautifully. By the sixth minute the song is devolving into the opening mix, with those eery hums and now laughing children's voices carrying forward the disturbing feeling of this song. Incredible song. Incredible. (10/10)

FAUN here show their continued and increasing experiments with inputs from computer and electronic-generated support as contributed by electronic expert, Neil Mitra. For the most part it works--especially as a complement or takeover for the rhythm section. Oliver, Fiona and Rüdiger's contributions on ancient traditional instruments are virtuosic yet restrained and never overbearing--which puts a nice focus on the vocals of which the gorgeous voice of Lisa Pawelke seems to have taken greater prominence. I have to say that, so far, every FAUN album seems to be better than the previous one. Renaissance is truly a masterpiece of progressive rock music.

 Zaubersprüche by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.77 | 9 ratings

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Zaubersprüche
Faun Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

3 stars Zaubesprüche is Faun's first release from a major music label. The album has a sound throughout--especially the first three songs--that makes it sound as if it were harnessed straight from the stages of Renaissance Fairs. The band has a very warm and engaging sound--which is captured very nicely through some very nice engineering. The individual performances are not quite as tight and polished as they could be but, again, the sound is great (better, IMO than on quiet Licht or the washed out & over-produced Von den Elben). The mood captured on Zubersprüche is quite relaxing though mesmerizing. I can imagine sitting on my wooden bench beneath a cool August night sky being lulled into a pleasantly hypnotic state by these songs. The vocals have a ways to go before they reach the heights of Renaissance, with Oliver and their harmonies, in particular, as yet unpolished.

Favorite songs: the amazing jewel of the album (and its finale), "Troum und Speigelglas" (7:37) (10/10); Oliver and Fiona's gorgeous "Das Wassermanns Welb" (3:31) (9/10); the Alan Stivell-like instrumental, "Keridwen & Gwion" (3:08) (9/10); "König Von Thule" (3:23) (8/10), and; "Tempus Transit" (4:16) (8/10).

 Luna by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.14 | 39 ratings

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Luna
Faun Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars Another gem of prog folk music from Germany's folk masters, FAUN. Upon first listen I found some definite high points, but after repeated listens I've come to love this entire album. Not quite as good as their masterpieces, Eden (2011) and Totem (2005), but back to that level (after 2013's disappointing Von den Elben). The spectrum of emotions this album takes one through is nothing short of remarkable. From nostalgia to haunted fear, celebratory joy to bitter sadness, the power of mutual support to the despair of isolation, there is nary an emotion left untouched. The romantically rhythmed vocal ensemble piece "Cuncti Simus" is my absolute favorite.

Five/4.5 star songs: "Cuncti Simus" (3:56); "Hörst du die Trommein" (3:23); "Walpurgisnacht" (3:50); "Buntes Volk" (4:17); "Menuett" (4:57); "Hekate" (4:16); "Blaue Stunde" (4:36); "Frau Erde" (4:29); "Die Lieder Werden Bleiben" (3:19), and; "Era Escuro" (3:33).

Another five star masterpiece of prog folk from Germany's folk masters.

 Licht by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.86 | 11 ratings

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Licht
Faun Prog Folk

Review by Alucard Draco

5 stars Just got to listen to this Album now and wow - what can I say but thanks Amazon for the MP3 and the recent review of the Album I just caught and had to get and listen to straight away. I recently saw the Vikings series on the History channel and loved the opening song and thought it would be great to have an entire album like this and Licht is what I pretty much imagined - I also got Eden on Amazon MP3 the same day just to hear what a few years between albums can do.

But for now this album especially when sung in the native countries language makes this Norse and Mythical sounding album so much better for it. In fact with the traditional instruments and etheral singing as well as spoken words said in a poetical sounding way, just makes me so excited to listen to the other Albums made by Faun like Eden.

I love having images in my mind that are created by this folky Celtic old sound and I can almost imagine being at a Pagan Festival in the past in a woodland or surrounding countryside in a Geman tribal gathering. The instruments are just so well played and counjour up the Folklore and Myths that surrounded this style of music and the representation of a long but still remembered people of a time gone era.

Another hit for me.

 Licht by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.86 | 11 ratings

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Licht
Faun Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars Germany's Prog Folk masters' second major release and quite a step forward from Zaubersprüche in that the band loosens up a bit and diverges and varies its path from straightforward Renaissance Faire music. The album shows the band putting their instrumental chops on full display from the get-go: The first two songs are instrumentals with 2. "Andro" (3:45) using a metronomic stroke from its to really amp things up. This is a kick ass grooving, jam song. (10/10)

3. "Unda" uses some great lute, hand drums and hurry gurdy to support the recorder, voices, and bagpipes which alternate for the front and center melody holder. (9/10)

4. "Von den Elben" opens with harp and berimbao playing support for the lilting voice of first one and later, with the help of the lute and hand drums, a second female voice. Wonderful performance by the lead voice. (9/10)

5. "Ne Aludj El" has a bit of a Gypsy/Moorish sound to it despite using pretty much the same instruments as above. Upbeat and festive tune. (8/10)

6. "Deva" is just a -supported wordless vocal dirge.

7. "Punagra" (4:41) opens with some group chanting of the title before some wonderful upper register penny whistle work takes over the show. Later a balalaika solo takes center stage. Awesome percussion support on this one. Interesting key change with a little over a minute left--which, along with the chalumeaux (reeded recorder that is the predecessor to the clarinet) gives the music a bit of a Middle eastern flavor. (9/10)

8. "Wind & Geige" is a fairly simple, repetitive foundation for "geige" (violin) and whistle solos to be showcased between fairly brief lyric sections sung by the two women in harmony. (8/10)

9. "Isis" opens with a male voice reciting some spell or invocation before the same balalaika chord progression from the last song fades in to support the singing of a quite extraordinarily beautiful male voice (which kind of reminds me of Mariuz Duda's gentle upper register). Giege and harp slowly join in support of this singer. If my German were better, this lovely song might not seem so long and soporific. (9/10)

10. "Cernunnos" (5:02) is the odd duck on this album for its long narration from a male voice (Christian von Aster). Again, not knowing enough German, the significance is lost on me. Plus the musical support consists of only drums. Probably a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm.

11. "Egil Saga" (5:10) opens with some kind of synthesized percussives in support of a single female voice. I swear these sounds goes straight back to 1980s New Wave--of which the German scene was quite advanced. (Think Bauhaus, Schilling, Nena, and Yello.) A little weird--especially for a folk song! (7/10)

12. "Fort" (3:54) is a beautiful folk song in the "Scarborough Faire" tradition with some awesome Celtic harp playing and nice three part vocal harmonies throughout. A nice high note to end the album. (9/10)

I have reconsidered my rating of this album due to it's rather narrow instrumental variation and its two rather weak songs ("Cernunnos" and "Egil saga"). Yes, wind & violin player Fiona Rüggeberg is wonderful, as are percussionist Rüduger Maul and strings player Oliver Sa Tyr. And, while this is a step forward for the band, there are great things to come!

 Eden by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.76 | 10 ratings

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Eden
Faun Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars This is perhaps the best pure folk Prog Folk album I've ever heard. Every song is engaging and so well balanced between gorgeous melodies, amazingly coordinated and complementary instruments and voices interwoven in magical balance, plus there is a great warmth and to the recording and fullness of the sound. There are many songs on Eden that are longer than the band has traditionally recorded, which, due to the mesmerizing weaves and melody lines, is something I enjoy tremendously. The drones, samples, and electronic contributions of computer whiz Neil Mitra are back with a vengeance (after a break from 2009's "acoustic" album, Buch der Balladen) and I have to admit that he's really found his perfect place in the mix: never overpowering but always present, helping to fill the field with warmth and emotion. Band-leader and lead male vocalist Oliver Sa Tyr has truly mastered his gentle but emotional instrument. Sometimes, haunting, others romantic and enticing, he sings as if the heir apparent to the God Orpheus. And the band has finally found in Margareta Eibel the right female vocalist to replace the superb soprano, Lisa Pawelke. Teamed with founding member Fiona Rüggeberg's professional alto voice, the two soar. Plus, Margareta comes with more instrumental diversity than Lisa had (hurdy-gurdy was Lisa's lone instrumental contribution at that time) and Fiona has added a few new instruments to her spectacular repertoire. Eden sounds more full blood Celtic than previous albums but it is a sound that suits FAUN. If there is any "flaw" and I'm not sure if this can be considered a flaw considering the power and beauty of this album's songs, but this album represents quite a departure in linguistic choice as many songs and narrations are done in English, and far less of the songs are gathered from ancient and mediæval tongues as was done on Licht and Renaissance.

1. "Prelude" (2:04) sets the appropriate "ominous industrial" tone for the subject of this album, man's fall from Eden. A Neil Mitra masterpiece. (9/10)

2. "Lupercalia" (3:15) opens with ominous base note, synth wash and treated drums setting the stage for Fiona and Margareta's perfectly timed, sacred/religious-sounding harmonies. Harp, haunting ghost-like background voices and intermittent bursts from a sonorous horn complete the spell cast by this masterpiece. (10/10)

3. "Zeitgeist" (4:03) opens with clock-like harp-bass lines and straight-timed drumming before Oliver's rather thin voice enters. Strings harmonics accompany a sample narration of environmentalist content. Bagpipe and hurry-gurdy play into the mix as well. Another display of Mitra's masterful electronic "glue." The lone acoustic harp accompanying Oliver's voice to song's end is brilliant. I just wish I understood German. (9/10)

4. "Iduna" (3:22) opens with a Celtic bagpipe and hurry-gurdy melody weave accompanied by a throbbing electronic bass line, clapping, and Oliver's bouzouki. Fiona and Magareta weave their voices into the lead vocal followed by "la-la-la-las." Trilling flutes also mix into the mid-song instrumental weave. Quite a rousing jam! (10/10)

5. "The Butterfly" (1:34) opens with Oliver and Fiona (and later Margareta's harp) weaving a very traditional (and familiar) sounding Celtic reel sans percussion. Gorgeous recording. (10/10) The melody line carries forward to become the basis for the vocal weave of:

6. "Adam Lay Ybounden" (4:37) is the album's first song sung in English. Here Margareta displays a high trilling in her vocal approach that is similar to that of early Elisabeth Fraser. Also, the vocal duet is unusual (for Faun) for its alternating timing and different style of harmonizing. The song's highlight is the whistle and bouzouki carried Celtic melody. (8/10)

7. "Hymn to Pan" (6:57) opens with gently picked bouzouki and sequenced percussion setting up for Oliver's low and confiding vocal (again entirely in English). Fiona's harmonizing background voice soon joins in as do full hand percussion and Fiona's wood flute. The song's instruments soften to the extreme as Oliver and Fiona continue singing the chorus. An African/Balinese-sounding marimba weave takes the fore as support to Fiona's flute and Oliver's delicate, almost-nervous solo voice. Amazing vocal performance! At the end of the sixth minute the support of the full band instrumentation rebuilds until again falling away as Oliver and Fiona finish the song's vocal. (10/10)

8. "Pearl" (5:05) opens with a Peter Gabriel computer sequence before Margareta explodes onto the scene with a LOREENA MCKENNITT-like vocal (in English). Full percussion, bagpipes, and strummed bouzouki fill out the rest of the band's contribution but this is Margareta's song to shine on. (10/10)

9. "Oyneng yar" (5:34) tambourine-support is all Fiona needs to open this song with her awesome vocal. Oliver on nyckelharpa, Rüdiger and Neil laying down an awesome percussion weave, Margareta's hurry-gurdy (and background harmonies) and Fiona's flawless recorder play complete this full-bodied, full-spirited song. (10/10)

10. "Polska fran anderson" (4:37) is an instrumental that begins with a gorgeous three-part weave of Oliver's nyckelharpa, Margareta's hurry-gurdy and Fiona's high whistle. Somebody switches into harp (Margareta) while Oliver adds bouzouki (multi-tracking?) in continued support of Fiona and Oliver's solos and weaves. (9/10)

11. "Alba" (7:17) bouzouki and percussives provide background support for another one of Oliver's hypnotic vocals (in German). A quiet song that I wish I knew German for I know that the story being told is the key to really valuing this song. (9/10)

12. "Ynis avalach" (5:09) is another instrumental traditional Celtic weave with full percussion on display, full band playing at first at a rather hypnotic pace before picking up the pace significantly at the three-minute mark. Nice trick to shift into third gear for the last two minutes. (9/10)

13. "Arcadia" (7:16) opens with nyckelharpa, whistles/chalumeaux, hurdy-gurdy, big percussives and electronic drones, all blasting away in a powerful weave before yielding to the lovely and, again, different duet vocals of Fiona and Margareta. Margareta's echoed solo vocal in the second half of the song is almost religious ecstatic. Fiona later takes up the lead with Margareta's angelic soprano supporting her in such a protective way. Brilliant song--so well conceived and constructed.

14. "The Market Song" (5:51) is a rather traditional folk song sung in English by Oliver and Fiona, at first alternately, and then in harmony. Some wonderful soloing from Fiona on her special transverse wooden bass flute (chalumeaux). Also kudos for the standing vertical violin (saz) solo and later bagpipe solos. The band really takes out all the stops on this one! (9/10)

15. "Golden Apples" (7:35) may be the most beautiful and most powerful song on this an album of many powerful and hypnotic songs. The finale is so deliciously and dangerously tranquilizing that I feel I must warn the reader/listener to be on his awares! Set up by a slow, methodically repeated harp arpeggio, soon Fiona is singing like the most seductive siren to grace these ears. I would definitely be tempted by her offer of this apple! Absolutely stunning, gut-wrenchingly emotional song! Neil and Rüdiger's contributions are also very important to this one--they just kind of sneak up on you. What an end to an incredible album! (10/10)

Without doubt one of the finest albums of this genre I've heard, it is also one a handful of albums that I've heard from my lifetime that leave me weak, drained, so well-satisfied and aurally coddled that I call it among my favorites.

 Licht by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.86 | 11 ratings

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Licht
Faun Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Just one year after their mildly interesting but amorphous debut, FAUN took major strides to define their own sound on "Licht". Moreover, the contributions here seem more deliberate while simultaneously less predictable. The group has achieved an appealing balance of fragile and robust (harp vs hurdy gurdy) instrumentation, male and female vocals, and instrumental and sung passages, even if the overall moods remain dark and oddly sinister.

Only the passively spoken "Cernunnos" and the weak"Wind and Geige" fail to impress, but a few of the others merit special mention, and, interestingly, these are bolstered by Fiona Ruggeberg's sprightly flute, providing a contrast to the downbeat sentiments no doubt expressed while strangely mournful in their own right. "Von Del Elben" is more typically sombre but "Punagra" is fairly boisterous by group standards, based on heavily strummed guitars and relatively spirited melded female and male vocals. Oliver Sa Tyr leads over an elegant string and acoustic guitar backing on "Isis", the melody hypnotic and entrancing. "Egil Saga" is one of the most foreboding of all, from the inventive and nimble percussion to the vociferously chanted chorus.

After indulging on and off for about a month, I now feel comfortable illuminating four stars over this progressive folk de light.

 Zaubersprüche by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.77 | 9 ratings

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Zaubersprüche
Faun Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars The most progressive aspect to FAUN's debut is that anyone outside of the intractible folk scene was performing this type of music at all in 2002. Whatever "cool" could be connected with Northern European folk was usually processed through a musical cuisinart into ENYA, and that trick was simply recycled after its 1988 smash, chiefly by ENYA herself. I suppose BLACKMORE's night could be counted as another success, but are they really taking themselves seriously? Because I think FAUN is.

This is familiar and not particularly striking, but extremely well played, a kind of amalgam of Gothic folk from Northern lands. Groups like SILEAS, CLANNAD, MUZSIKAS' , BROSELMASCHINE, and even WHITE WILLOW and PERERIN all come to mind at different times, as well as a few limbs snapped right off the main branch of the Celtic family tree - think ANDY IRVINE and DAVEY SPILLANE's collaborations. This is dark and ominous music that, at its best, hypnotically captures a sense of foreboding much like a classic vampire flick, and I don't mean the modern versions with the beautiful young people cavorting about. The male and female harmony vocals, the hurdy gurdy, the didgeridoo, and the mournful melodies all thicken the atmosphere in a manner rarely achieved since DEEP FOREST's "Boheme", which actually featured MUZSIKAS' Marta Sebastyen.

While all but the longest tracks hold interest and sway, Zauberspruche lacks any sort of wow factor, even if "Tempus Transit", "Des Wasserman's Web", "Keridwen and Gwion", and "Konig Von Thgule" are all more than impressive in a contained sort of way. The album title translates to "Magical Language", and I suppose the goal is partially achieved, proving that one doesn't have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to graduate from magic school, but rather avoid conjuring up a skunk.

 Totem by FAUN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.15 | 8 ratings

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Totem
Faun Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Faun’s longtime mix-master/sounds effects man Niel Mitra’s work seems to be a little less prevalent on this, their band’s fourth album. As a result there is both more of an ‘unplugged’ feel as well a greater emphasis on vocals throughout. The unplugged part makes sense anyway since Mitra seems to be the only one who requires a power chord when the band performs live, the rest of the members relying instead on a wide variety of traditional and sometimes obscure acoustic folk instruments.

This album is also quite a bit slower and less tense than either ‘Licht’ (their second) or ‘Renaissance’ (third) albums, although I have to say that if you play back their first four records in chronological order there is a noticeable progression from rougher, almost dark metal-like songs to these mellower tunes highlighting the ladies’ singing and Oliver Sa Tyr’s proficiency on a range of stringed instruments (though quite heavily reliant on Celtic harp and bouzouki).

While I personally would classify the band’s early work as a sort of blend of neofolk (with heavy pagan undertones) and goth without the mascara and black clothing, this album has almost a renaissance feel to it, especially the middle portion of the record including the female vocal-intensive tunes ‘Tinta’, ‘November’ and ‘Unocorn’. This comes after a fairly tense and brooding opening track ‘Rad’ that includes heavy drone and vocal chanting that characterized much of their first two albums.

After that things slow down until toward the end of the album, beginning with the driving and pulsating “Gaia” and following with “Zeit nach dem Sturm”, a song that were it not for the female vocals reminds me an awful lot of sound Green Carnation perfected on ‘the Acoustic Verses’. The album closes with an a capella rendition of “Der stille Grund” courtesy of Elizabeth Pawelke and Fiona Rüggeberg.

Pawelke would leave the group shortly after this album was released for reasons I’m not aware of. Can’t say as I’ll miss her too much though since there’s only so much you can do with a hurdy-gurdy and that seems to be about the only thing she can play. The band continued their descent into folksiness in 2009 by releasing the all-acoustic ‘Buch der Balladen’, which I suppose signals that the band may next be considering a concept album or greatest hits or something, not sure.

Anyway this one is pretty good, not awesome but not bad either. I keep waiting for the band to blow me away with a studio album and that isn’t happening. But I have to admit every time I see a live video of them I’m inevitably impressed. Not sure they’ll ever wander across the pond and show up in South Dakota, U.S.A. (come in the summer!), but if they do I’ll happily pay to see them. Three stars for this one, same as pretty much all the others and just as recommended.

peace

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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