DVD Review – ‘Von den Elben: deluxe edition’ by Faun

This is a rather long, description of the contents of the DVD part of ‘Von den Elben: Deluxe Edition’, reviewed here. The aim of this is to help people to decide if it’s worth buying the Deluxe Edition of the album when they already own the CD and therefore includes quite a lot of detail as to what is discussed in the documentary, although it doesn’t tell the stories of contain a full explanation of events that are discussed.

Personally, I think it’s well worth buying, even if you already own the CD and can be bought on their website.

The menu comes up basically all in English unsure if this is, at least partially because I’ve had English subs on or if it’s English for everyone. To set up subtitles, or to switch them off, go to ‘optionen’. From what I can tell, there’s only an option for English subs, not for German or other language subs. Also, just to annoy people, the subtitles don’t extend to the live clips of shows even though the introductions of the songs are included.

Main menu
The Acoustic Tour videos are Sao Roma, Subrali, NeAludj El, and Belle Dame Sans Merci. The Eden Tour videos are Lupercalia, Rosmarin, Da Que Deus. They include a lot more of the aesthetic of the Eden tour which is quite nice to experience although I think that the visual of the video does sometimes suffer because of the lighting/smoke/curtains etc., which are effective live, making a clear picture difficult. There are then two videos from the Festival Medieval, Andro and Jyansa, which, again, suffer visually because the lighting seems too strong for the camera. That said, the clips are lovely and are also of a high quality sound-wise. The Video Clip of Diese kalte Nacht explains itself really and is the music video of the song.

The documentary, 10 Years of Faun, is by far the highlight. The documentary ties together footage and photos of the band performing/traveling etc. with the members talking about their memories of the band’s life so far and their views on each other. I’ve split the sections into the chapters included in the DVD, written a few words as to what’s included, and then written a more in detail summary of the things discussed. I’ve not said when you get every picture or live clip or whatever because that would be even more confusing. I’ve also lost all of the charm and humour that comes across when the band are talking but this is basically a list so here goes….

Opening with footage of each (current) member performing and their name it then cuts straight into Oliver sitting by a lamp that I’m slightly jealous of explaining how the band (at that point Lisa, Fiona, and him) started to work together.
Chapter 1 –The early formation of the band, Zaubersprüche
Oliver and Fiona joke about how they met and started to play music together and then mention that Lisa joined them and they became a group of three. They then go onto talk about how they ended up recording an EP and clips of Oliver and Fiona speaking alternate with Oliver playing acoustic. We then move onto how Neil got involved in the project and, of course, Neil himself starts to talk about how he felt joining an acoustic band as an electronic musician. There’s some focus on the song Nechein Man. Throughout this section there are a lot of lovely photos of diddy-Faun!
Chapter 2 – And then Rüdiger joins in, Licht
This opens with an explanation of how Fiona and Oliver met Rüdiger for the first time and how he joined Faun. This leads on to recollections of the early shows of Faun including a rather amusing story of Neil basically being smuggled into what was supposed to be an acoustic event.
Neil then talks a bit about the development of ‘Egil Saga’ and the band goes on to talk about the development of ‘Licht’.
Chapter 3 – Oliver, Renaissance
The band members basically say that Oliver is a bit of a musical genius and Oliver himself explains how he got into playing music and also how he got into the medieval scene, although now as a musician at first.
We then move onto the album ‘Renaissance’ and the themes that run through it. They talk about their producer and how they had to learn to record in a different setting with different pressure. Neil also talks about his own personal ties to the record and both he and Fiona talk about how ‘Das Tor’ is a piece that has a lot of meaning to them.
Chapter 4 – Totem, Neil being a mad professor, Lisa’s departure
More early performance talk, including Oliver reminiscing over his early lack of professionalism (he was the one who said they were more likably than professional, not me!!).
They talk about building their own studio and experimenting with different instruments and stuff during the production of Totem. They focus in on the inspiration behind ‘Zeit nach dem Sturm’ which is quite interesting.
We then focus in on Neil and the way he works, which is probably best described as organised chaos. This bit’s actually quite interesting because, as someone who regularly breaks technology, I am totally out of my depth with everything he says but it’s fascinating because of that.
And then back to talking about Totem and the fact they had a proper bus! This is also the moment when Lisa left and they talk about how it affected them personally when she left, and also how it left the band in an uncertain position.
Chapter 5 – finding Sandra, Buch der Balladen, Rüdiger
Continuing with the aftermath of Lisa’s departure, the band explain how they struggled to find a replacement but a stroke of luck led them to find Sandra. They talk about Sandra and her abilities as well as the difficulties she faced ‘replacing’ Lisa.
We move onto the decision to produce an acoustic record and the production of ‘Buch der Balladen’. There’s some explanation as to the design process of the album’s cover and the book of sheet music and lyrics.
Rüdiger is the next member to be focused on and we get to listen to a pretty awesome drum solo as he explains how he got into drumming and medieval music. He also discusses some of the difficulties faced when writing drum lines to go with Faun’s pretty unique sound.
Chapter Six – Trip to Norway, Fiona
This opens with Oliver playing Nyckelharpa which is one of my favourite instruments so that makes me happy. You didn’t really need to know that but I couldn’t ignore it 😉 Anyway, continuing to talk about ‘Buch der Balladen’, Oliver explains the influences of Scandinavian music leading onto the trip to Norway. Fiona tells a story about how the band had a bit of an interesting journey to the gig. There’s a bit about the Viking ship (I think the clip used is on youtube)
The next section focuses on Fiona, who Rüdiger says is the creative one. Again, Fiona says how she got into playing music, in her case, from a really, really young age. We also get to meet the fujara that Fiona made and she talks about playing it.
Chapter Seven – Eden, Sandra’s departure and Rairda
This starts with an explanation of the concept behind ‘Eden’ and the long process of developing the record. Sandra’s departure is discussed briefly and the band’s meeting Maxi, and how her personality added to the album is covered.
The process of building the concepts around Eden is discussed. Brian Froud and his involvement is explained. They explain how they wanted to transfer the aesthetic onto the stage and the work that went into that, as well as the inspirations behind it.
Chapter Eight – Stephan
The decision to bring in another musician and the discovery of Stephan is covered in this section. The story of how Stephan ended up joining the band is told and everyone obviously rates him as a person and as a skilled musician. Stephan explains how he learned to play various instruments, including the hurdy-gurdy.
Chapter Nine – Sonja and the Medieval Spring shows
How they met Sonja in America, having admired her music with her own band, and somehow ended up playing with her. We also have some clips of them while performing and Stephan rapping… and the whole band rapping.
Chapter Ten – Von den Elben, Katja
Faun discuss how they were getting to a stage where they felt they needed management so they could focus on music. They talk about the pressures, once again, of producing the CD with different constraints… little time, new teams etc.
The band explain how and why Katja joined the band at this point. Again we get an insight into Katja’s musical past and also how people have been judging her as a pop singer.
The documentary closes with the Neil and Oliver discussing the fact that Faun is ten years old and what the future may hold and written thanks to the people who have helped them along the way.


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