Faun Fables

Hailing from the sideshow circus scene in Manhattan, where she dabbled in cabaret-style skits and folk-singer ventures in the '90s, vocalist/guitarist Dawn McCarthy moved to the Bay Area three years ago to pursue "a fairy-tale romance" with Nils Frykdahl (multi-instrumentalist frontman for East Bay bands Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Charming Hostess, and the dearly departed Idiot Flesh). Now, under the auspices of Faun Fables, McCarthy and Frykdahl offer one of the most stunning discs of the year: Mother Twilight, a collection of songs inspired by McCarthy's 1997 solo trek through Europe.

The album resounds with clear, cool numbers that seem to rove wondrously through the mountain pines at dusk. On the opening track, "Begin," McCarthy transforms a medieval Norwegian melody -- which pitches to and fro on a sea of waltzing guitar rhythms -- into a haunting ode to the journeywoman's ambivalent spirit: "The traveler is vulnerable and charmed/ A distinct aloneness/ A sense of doom visits me/ But my heart is good." Mapping the soul's craggy interior is a McCarthy specialty. On the forward-pushing rocker "Catch Me," she extols in ringing falsetto and head-banging rhythm the mysteries of connection and obsession, the overpowering desire to entrance and tantalize: "The people told me I was mad ... Don't let the darkness keep you from knowing me/ Catch me, catch me/ Catch if you can."

The tunes of Faun Fables also echo the mischievous mythos of the group's namesake: reed-playing Pan, the Greek god of forest and meadow, a Dionysian reveler with a lusty streak of abandon. Themes of possession -- wanting to possess and be possessed -- run rampant. On the ballad "Traveller Returning," the singer pleads, "Is it enough to bow before you/ And weep/ To dedicate myself to you/ Returned?" She wraps her voice around the lyrics with a soulful longing both melancholic and full of hope. A finger-plucked six-string lays down a solitary harmonic and rhythmic foundation, which Frykdahl ornaments lightly with a wistful melody on the recorder.

The simplicity of Faun Fables' music is deceptive; it acts as a modest backdrop for the endlessly complex worlds embodied in McCarthy's every vocalization. This depth is brought into striking relief on the a cappella number "Beautiful Blade," where McCarthy and Frykdahl multitrack their voices into undulating chants, evoking an eerie hymnlike ambience that falls somewhere between the hypnotism of the Bulgarian Women's Choir, Led Zeppelin's near-mythic mysticism, and an operatic netherworld. McCarthy's ethereal falsetto draws listeners like moths to seraphic light -- a dangerous but irresistible lure.
By Sam Prestianni SF Weekly 7/4/01

Acrobatic Singing and Musical Magic
Mother Twilight (Earthlight) Faun Fables

In some world where artistic merit and creativity are more important than commercial success, Dawn McCarthy and Nils Frykdahl would be household names. Collectively (Nils also plays in Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) known as Faun Fables, this duo plays enchanting songs that have magical lives all their own. Instrumentation is minimal. However, no sound is wasted and the result, along with McCarthy’s lead vocals, is an extremely charming hour of eccentric acoustic music.

Fittingly, the first step into their world is entitled, "Begin." It is one of those "love it" or "hate it" songs, as it has a discordant guitar bouncing through it. Once you get past that one, though, you’re in the shadows and rainbows for the remainder of the hour. Next is "Sleepwalker," which is probably the most accessible song on the disc (which doesn’t mean it is accessible, though it is catchy). One of the highlights of "Sleepwalker" is something that you don’t hear very often. McCarthy makes a short series of vocal noises that sound like a cross between Syd Barrett’s "cuckoo" or psychedelic hiccup sound on "Flaming" (from Pink Floyd’s first album) and a similar noise from the "Punch and Judy" show in one of the Marx Brothers’ films. I won’t bet that McCarthy planned it that way, but that’s what it sounds like to me and I love it. "Beautiful Blade" is host to a wild breeze of amazing vocal harmonies that remind me of some of the more unusual harmonies on Queen albums.

Without giving away each song, let me summarize by saying that both Dawn and Nils are multi-instrumenalists (McCarthy is from a family of artists and musicians) and singers. Frykdahl sings harmonies and backs up his partner on various instruments, which, in the process, makes some great and extremely complementary music for McCarthy’s captivating voice to dance around. This music suggests a forest of shadows. Sometimes the shadows peek out at you shyly from behind trees or bushes. Other times they dance gleefully. They’re always beckoning for us to come and play.
- David Lilly

Mother Twilight
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Mother Twilight (a traveler's tale) I travelled alone in Europe the summer of '97 with many questions. Singing was my passport. Twilight was my favorite time of day to go for walks. It's a matter of kinship- a key for my prememory. I took refuge in my journals- where many of the songs on MOTHER TWILIGHT come from. Nils and I made this recording at home in a room with many windows. Our friend Dan Rathburn offered to get all its kinks out on his mixing board. This is the recording I've put out on my own.With this record, I salute two portals in my life - twilight and travelling.

  1. Begin
  2. Sleepwalker
  3. Shadowsound
  4. Hela
  5. Traveller Returning
  6. Train
  7. Beautiful Blade
  8. Mother Twighlight
  9. Lightning Rods
  10. Moth
  11. Girl That Said Goodbye
  12. Washington State
  13. Catch Me
  14. Live Old
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Vampire, aka Youri Yoshii a 24 year old from Tokyo is making waves in Japan with her hard driving, dark gothic, dance and heavily western influenced music. She fed on music by Kate Bush, Bjork, David Bowie and Duran Duran, while growing up in Japan. Added influences include Tatsuhiko Shibusawa, Moto Hagio, Nanami Shiono, Ann Rice, Tannins Leeand, and HP Lovecraft. Beast Of Venus contains all the elements above and she delivers it in the Japanese language in a unique and familiar way, even to those that do not speak Japanese, but get a sense of something vagually familiar.

I, Vampire, who gave a war cry under the blue sky over despair, tell you on my album "Beast of Venus", to exclude sentimentalism I might have believed, to admit the dark side that everyone has in her(or his) heart, and include it with the light, and then Let's go ahead by changing it to the Power!!

Beast of Venus
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  • My Wolfe
  • Sinner Kingdom
  • Venus
  • Masorthythm Majorhythm
  • Manifestation
  • Wow
  • Where Are You
  • Semicircle
  • No Vision
  • The Man Of Twilight
  • The Spiral Life
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    Paula Obé

    Paula Obe' has been writing poetry for over 15 years. She was born on the 15th February 1969. For the past 4 years she has been doing song poetry. She also writes straight poetry, and has had a number of poems published in various journals in America, Canada, England, Venezuela, Colombia and Trinidad & Tobago.

    A few years ago, she began experimenting with the spoken word, and began accompanying herself on guitar. She has performed in her own country Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Venezuela and America.

    She has just released her CD "Afterbirth" under Fishink Press, a company she and microsoft certified/ fellow Poet Annessa Baksh formed. Her style has been described as part coffee house groove, part back-a-yard jam. It has also been described as mood music.

    In addition to the CD, her second collection of poems, entitled "Walking a Thin Line" is currently in the hands of a publisher.

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    1. Mask
    2. Skin Back
    3. For You
    4. Solitary Sleep
    5. The Space
    6. That We Name
    7. In Between
    8. The Difference
    9. Fake Smiles
    10. Afterbirth
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