All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

6

Faun and a Pan Flute: Traffic

Dave Wayne By

Sign in to view read count
Atlanta, the home of OutKast, CeeLo Green, Usher, and really the whole "Dirty South" hip hop thing, is not a place normally associated with bands that play super-complex all-original instrumental art-rock. So, you may have to pinch yourself when you hear Traffic by Atlanta-based prog-rockers Faun and a Pan Flute. And to be totally frank, "prog-rockers" is a pretty poor choice of adjectives to apply to this strangely-named nonet. Starting out as an indie-rock / post-rock outfit with a female vocalist, the vicissitudes of life and the comings and goings of various band members re-routed the band's stylistic center through several post-rock and prog-metal-ish incarnations before landing in a sphere that has much more in common with European-based movements such as Belgian Darkwave (i.e., Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, etc.) and Rock In Opposition (e.g., Henry Cow, The Muffins, etc.) than pretty much anything else going on in the States at the moment. Faun and a Pan Flute's music is also completely instrumental, unlike similar-ish US-based ensembles such as Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Thinking Plague.

Regarding the name, Faun and a Pan Flute used to be one of those bands that changed their moniker for pretty much every gig they played. It became a bit of a joke that semi-backfired when they did several gigs in a row with the worst band name they could think of... and it stuck. Oh well. Fortunately, these guys do not take themselves too seriously.

Comprised of conservatory-trained classical musicians, self-taught ex-metalheads, and super-motivated guys with day jobs, the band's cooperatively-written compositions are a crazy quilt of interlocking sections during which different instrumental combinations come to the fore as others drop into the background. And though the music on Traffic possesses the forward motion of the best fusion and progressive rock, the modus operandi on this EP does not include improvisational solos. In essence, Traffic is an album of through-composed pieces that have more in common with contemporary classical music. Unlike classical musicians, the band does not utilize written scores in performance. All of their music is highly rehearsed and committed to memory. Thus, their musical flow comes completely from the jazz / math rock / prog continuum.

To give a blow-by-blow description of the three pieces on this EP would be boring. Each of the pieces here are different, and each balances turbulent energy with meditative rubato, dense interplay with wide-open duos and trios, and sweaty, hypnotic rhythms with near-ambient soundscapes (produced without the use of synthesizers or samplers). The instrumentation, though heavily tilted to the percussive (drum set, percussion table, marimba) and the low-end (tuba, electric bass, and cello) sides of the sound spectrum is surprisingly clear, precise and un-muddy. Chalk that up to the band's superior arranging skills.

Faun and a Pan Flute might just be the most remarkable band you've never heard of. Suffice it to say that fans of all of the previously-mentioned bands would do well to drop everything and investigate their music. Now.

Track Listing: Brevity; Ball; Height.

Personnel: Adam Babar: guitar; Daniel Bailey: fretless bass; Daniel Betts: drums; Chris Childs: marimba; David Gray guitar; John Gregg: percussion; Julian Hinshaw: tuba; Ben Shirley: cello; Peter Webb: alto saxophone.

Title: Traffic | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read We Out Here CD/LP/Track Review
We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Best of the Bootlegs 2017 CD/LP/Track Review
Best of the Bootlegs 2017
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read The Asylum Years CD/LP/Track Review
The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Solo Contra CD/LP/Track Review
Solo Contra
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Ellipse CD/LP/Track Review
Ellipse
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "Solo a Genova" CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2018
Read "Runnin' for the Ghost" CD/LP/Track Review Runnin' for the Ghost
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Another Time: The Hilversum Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Komitas:  Seven Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Komitas: Seven Songs
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 7, 2018
Read "The Fever: The Remastered Epic Recordings" CD/LP/Track Review The Fever: The Remastered Epic Recordings
by Doug Collette
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Live At The Magic Triangle" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Magic Triangle
by John Sharpe
Published: January 13, 2018