Regular Price: $15.98
Online Sale Price! $5.00
Changing gears seven albums into a band's career isn't unheard of, but when the resulting recording is as spectacular as Faith & Disease's Passport To Kunming, one must stand up and take note. Once heralded for their gothic and ethereal textures and atmospheres, Faith & Disease have evolved into a band defining the best traits of the SadCore genre. Musically compatriots with Low, Idaho or late-period Velvets, their music possesses slow, downcast melodies, eerily isolated guitar or bass complementing the unmistakably beautiful emotions dripping from Dara Rosenwasser's heart-broken vocals. Dara's sublime voice floats over the melodic, chorus-pedal rich basslines, droney guitars, synth and vintage organ layers,as well as the tasteful, understated percussion. This is compelling SadCore evoking an updated version of classic ethereal-rock.
"For those of a melancholy turn of mind, Faith & Disease's ethereal, otherworldly chamber music for the damned is an ideal soundtrack. Built around Rosenwasser's lovely voice, coupled with Cooley's guitar and bass, Faith & Disease feels like a long, shadowed walk in a deserted patch of woods on a gray, bone-chilling day." - Ink19.com
The opening track is a gem, "She's Got A Halo" evokes a lost classic from early Factory Records-era New Order, propelled by a looping bassline and scratchy guitar. "How Far Does The Sky Go" veers into dream pop territory, with some fine Bowie Heroes-era guitar coupled with Dara's elegiac vocals. "Impermanence" is druggy '60s psychedelia, with a vintage Hammond organ drone and a middle spoken-word tangent. "Girl At The Window" is an anomolie track; A romanticized homage to the vinyl era with it's lonely distant piano-box and Dara's engaging narrative forewarning winters impending gloom..and Faith & Disease should know, they hail from Seattle after all. And once again, Faith & Disease are masterful at knowing when to strip it all down to the bare elements -- take "Made of Wood" for instance, a well-placed acoustic guitar strum and Rosenwasser's vocals are all that is needed to convey the songs beauty, poetry and vulnerability.
I am ashamed to say that I have never heard Faith and Disease before. Of course, the reason I am ashamed is because this CD is nothing short of breathtaking! Faith and Disease have a ton of albums to their name as it turns out and from what I understand, this is a major shift musically for the partnership of Dara Rosenwasser and Eric Cooley. This time out Faith and Disease find themselves at the forefront of the ever evolving, and quickly rising, SadCore genre. Passport to Kunming is a completely haunting piece of sadness. The music here is created largely by acoustic guitars, percussion, and bass played wonderfully into Dara's beautiful voice. There are points on this CD that can quietly overwhelm you, you feel the lyrics in an amazing way on here. I can't say enough great things about this album, if you are a fan of the darker moments of Depeche Mode or Over The Rhine or any guitar based band that fixates on their sadness then you must not miss this album. It's an album to get lost in for sure. Key Song: "Between the Folds" - Mark Fisher
4 Stars | Faith and Disease's slow transformation from a quietly elegant goth band to an equally quietly elegant group with a broader range has been one of darker music's better pleasures over recent years. Passage to Kunming continues that progression — the first song alone, "She's Got a Halo," suggests everything from New Order's warm bass flow to the Moon Seven Times's rich rural reflections and back again. It's a perfect sign that the core duo of Dara Rosenwasser and Eric Cooley aren't content to simply replicate their past, and if the album title and graphics would seem to promise an exploration into Chinese music more than anything else, the focus here is more on other interests. The growing interest in various forms of country and folk that the two have showcased in the past continues here, sometimes in very subtle ways. There's the gentle twang on Cooley's guitar on "How Far Does the Sky Go" or the Mojave 3-tinged stately piano of "Girl at the Window," but there's also the mighty fine cover of "Girl At the Window," originally done the previous year by Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. Elsewhere, the emphasis is more on drony psychedelia reworked for the band's sound — the acid fried solo growling down below the main rhythm of "Between the Folds," the moody keyboards of "Impermanence." The latter song could well be the album's secret highlight, a slow unfolding chiaroscuro of Rosenwasser's voice shimmering up through a slow, powerfully somnolent arrangement. For all this, the sense of what makes the band its own unit remains strong, and there are plenty of examples to show it, a continuing argument for the relevance of shadowy and sweetly sung melancholia in a 21st century world. The CD includes both a remix of "She's Got a Halo" and a video for said song. — Ned Raggett
Call me behind the times or just balancing way too much band wise, but this is my first time hearing this established and accomplished group. The vocals Of Dara Rosenwasser are sheer genius, like a line somewhere between Jarboe circa The Swan's "World Of Skin" and the vocalist of Mira (Regina I think her name is. Really tall and nice person in person by the way!). They emit that sense of cold atmosphere that seems to have an aura of warm and comfort inside of it as well, the true definition of melancholy. The guitar work of Eric Cooley gives it a soft gossamer to crawl on like a spider crawling across it's web on a summer's rainy day. The drumming reminds me a bit of Opeth's jazz-style drumming, very controlled and never clattering at all. Everything on here perks with a certain sense of balance and grace, able to pull off many elements that others make look very corny indeed. To me, it's hard to pick a highlight from such a CD, but if I would have to choose I'd have to say "Dyslexia", "In Between The Folds" and the dance remix of "She's Got A Halo". Another brilliant CD in the Projekt roster, but this time a little more so than usual. Definitely recommended for fans of later era Slowdive, Mira or the classic sound of 4AD. Rating:10. - KlingKlangBedlam
The new release of Faith & Disease entitled Passport to Kunming features nine tracks plus a video for "She's Got A Halo" and a bonus track re-mix for this song as well. Best know for their gothic music Faith & Disease have now evolved into what is being dubbed the SadCore movement. I feel this album falls into the ethereal genre but even so, Faith & Disease has shown an intense progression that far surpasses their musical history. The vocals courtesy of Dara Rosenwasser are melancholic and dreamy while the guitars and bass of Cooley carries onward in a dreamlike state drifting slowly and sweetly, and full of emotion. If you have been a fan of theirs all along you will catch onto this album and embrace it. It's hard to pinpoint my favorite songs but I love: "She's Got A Halo," "Lost in Translation," "Girl at the Window," and "His Faded Muse." Faith & Disease concoct brilliant melodies that cry of emotive sequences and flow endlessly. This is a beautiful album and one I will listen to a lot. - Sophie Diamantis-Fry
5 stars (out of 5), | Over the years, Faith & Disease has lovingly polished their lulling, downcast sound, subtly changing in character from slow Gothic rock to introspective ballads that make the most of Dara Rosenwasser's comforting, ethereal voice and Eric Cooley's intuitive guitar and bass playing. It seems a rare thing, that a band would be able to work together as long as and well as Faith & Disease have, and that their latest release would be their most satisfying. The album brings together and improves upon all the best elements of their previous work while it reveals their mature and ever-evolving creativity. The lightly catchy drumbeat and warm bassline of "She's Got A Halo" draw you in, and from there you're given room to dream and ponder in perceptive, searching songs. "How Far Does The Sky Go?" "Lost In Translation" and "Made of Wood" are among the best, fusing meditative bass and guitar with refined melancholy vocals and touches of piano and xylophone. Sweet, nostalgic piano on "Girl At The Window" and psychedelic guitars (Greg Forschler of Fear of Dolls) on "Impermanence" add to the retrospective mood. With Passport To Kunming, Faith & Disease have finally settled in for the journey they've been on all along. -Carolee
As the press releases came out, the big word was "change of style" for this popular, but well-rounded band. Their style never really has fit well into a genre, ethereal was too light of a term to describe it, because the music was often quite dark and more minimalistic than ethereal or neo-classic. The buzzword for the genre they fall into now is "sad-core" which I don't entirely agree with either, but could be argued as a great description of most of their music. They continue with most of the elements of their original sound, remaining mostly laid-back without any real upbeat or danceable songs, so they will appeal more towards the minimalistic, dark gothic folk and ethereal crowds (mainly because of Dara's beautiful vocals). I love this album and feel it fits perfectly within their discography without alienating any fans, so don't hesitate in picking it up just because of what a press release might say. So, on to a little bit more about the music on this disc. The ultimate captivating song is definitely "she's got a halo". Apparently they planned it this way, because it appears on this album as a remix as the last track and as a bonus multimedia video track. The video is great, very melancholy and dreamy. The remix is fun too, not really deviating, but mainly just a adding a little more of a beat to the song. If you were to pick up the album for one song, this would be worth it. Of course there is a ton of other material to enjoy though, so you won't be picking up the CD for just one great track. For me it's every track on the album, but some excellent highlights are the dreamy, yet very moody "How Far Does The Sky Go". One minute you're swooning to the soft and subdued vocals, then you're listening to some grinding guitars and then a soft piano solo. "Between The Folds" drifts back into a blues-like approach with a prominent bass, snare drum and guitars grinding away in the background, non-obstrusive and very nice. I don't think we could have a decent album from this group without the minimalistic approach taking shape in the form of one or two songs. A great example is "Girl At The Window" which is mainly Dara, piano a slight guitar throughout providing a somewhat lazy and slow-tempo atmosphere. There is an excellent set of this style of music mixed with other more mid-tempo tracks to make this album very interesting and excellent. I've been very impressed with each album released by this group. They have managed to continue on in their excellent talents and way of making music. A very highly recommended album. Rating: 4.5/5
As a long time fan of Faith and Disease, I’ve always been impressed by the combination of Dara Rosenwasser's comforting, ethereal voice coupled with Eric Cooley sometimes intricate, sometimes simple, and consistently satisfying guitar work. And yet, there’s always been a sense with each of their previous releases, that this was a band in search of something; With Passport to Kunming, Faith and Disease appears to have found what they were looking for. The album opens with the bass driven “She’s Got a Halo,” which spotlight’s both Rosenwasser’s soothing and quietly powerful vocals and Cooley’s masterful guitar arrangements in a way that is at once reminiscent of classic Faith and Disease while also being evocative of the band’s current foray into the world of lo-fi, scaled down, sadcore, arrangements that seem more appropriate to labels such as CMK or Kranky than Projekt. “She’s Got a Halo” is followed by tracks that become successively more stripped down, successively more vulnerable, and successively more beautiful. This is no more evident than on the album’s 8th track “Made of Wood” which, despite its lo-fi production consisting entirely of Rossenwater’s hauntingly beautiful vocals and Cooley’s perfectly minimal acoustic accompaniment, may be the album’s most powerful track. The album’s final track, a remixed version of “She’s Got a Halo” brings the listener full circle with a strangely satisfying dance-reworking of the album’s first song. Overall, Passport to Kunming, while somewhat of a departure for Faith and Disease, seems like the natural next step in the journey of this talented and unique Seattle based band. - JENNIFER JONES
It seems like nothing can stop Faith & Disease. They do not fit neatly into any genre of music, although they have been adopted by Goths because of the sheer beauty of their music and ghostly graphics. Faith & Disease's seventh CD, Passport To Kumming is their most commercially viable release in their 12-year history. Dara Rosenwasser's dreamy vocals have never sounded better and music man Eric Cooley has proven his mettle as a songwriter, arranger and producer. Often compared to Mazzy Star, Cowboy Junkies and This Mortal Coil, Passport To Kumming has elevated Faith & Disease to the same level as the Cocteau Twins as far as quality goes. The Cure-like "She's Got A Halo" and "Lost In Translation" could be radio hits. A cover of Jesse Sykes, "Made Of Wood" is even starker than the original. - David A. Kulczyk
FAITH & DISEASE was founded in 1991 in Seattle, USA, and has since then released six albums. Now they're back again with their seventh release, Passport To Kunming and Dara Rosenwasser's angel-like voice is as beautiful as always. Sadcore is what FAITH & DISEASE call their music and personally I think it's actually a good description. There are quite big similarities to ethereal but the feeling in the bands music is more melancholic and dark. In brief the music contains of Dara Rosenwasser's beautiful voice that is being backed up by guitar, bass, synth and drums (the guitar and bass are handled by the second band member, Eric Cooley), everything in a low and peaceful tempo. Especially the bass has got a big place in the music, far bigger that for example the guitar has got. That works musically great and contributes to the special feeling on the album. The feeling of melancholia and sorrow lays heavily on the music but creates on the same time an inner peace for the listener. It‚s very easy to dream away and forget about everyday things when you listen to the music and that is why the album so good. The music is created with feelings to bring forth feelings within the listener.
The album begins with the song "She's Got A Halo," which is without a doubt this album's "hit song." Apparently the band has thought the same because they have decided to also include a re-mixed version, which have a higher tempo and is a little more dance-friendly than the original version as well as a video for that song on the album. You can have different opinions about the video, personally I wasn't that impressed, but I won't bring done the grade on the album for that because the music is the important thing here. More good songs can of course be found on the album, "Between The Folds" and the quite minimalistic but unbelievably beautiful "Lost In Translation" belongs to that group and the ninth song "His Faded Muse" are also one of the albums highlights. With their album Passport To Kunming, FAITH & DISEASE have managed to create a great album that doesn't leave any listener emotionally unmoved. Tums up and warm recommendations. - Janne
The characteristic of good gothic ethereal is the inherent beauty of the songs. Subtleties, simplicities, and the underlying gift to make it all an emotionally immersive experience is not an easy thing to accomplish. Passport to Kunming is the interestingly named Faith & Disease’s latest release in an already strong body of musical art. The core appeal of a basic gothic approach is the freedom to pursue and to combine multiple styles into a canvas of sound. Provide the right synthesis of musical blends and lyrics and you have a work that is enduring long after you have taken it out of your player. Ethereal in every thread, the band’s passport to kunming is easily the band’s best.
Passport to Kunming is like an intriguing dream. You wake up from the spell of it and you have a direct connection with the wispy fragments. But then, like smoke and fog, it becomes one with the ‘everything’ that surrounds you and the impact of the dream leaves you with a longing. Once that occurs, you’re left with the inevitable overwhelming sense of loss. You’re acutely aware of something important that takes minutes to diminish only to leave with you a sad sense of departure.
This Projekt release has 9 songs that bring an immediate connection to Love Spirals Downward, the Suzanne Perry years. The soft intro found in every song bring about a mood set, effectual as it prepares the listener for a float down a dark, tree-lined river with the barest hint of moonlight. Every song is gorgeously rendered with memorable openings, flexible, and artistically painted with the vocal range of Dara Rosenwasser, whose haunting voice resonates long after the song has become dreamlike.
The mix and employ of instrumentation brings about an exotic tribal rhythm, almost trancelike in its playback. There is a hypnotic hang in every song that, like a dream, stays with you for a very long time. Mysterious, unreal, and varied, this album begins soft and creates a build that accentuates the depth of songs.
“She’s Got a Halo” begins with a bass drive that merges with softly screeching guitars and overlayed by capturing vocals. The flow continues with the tenderness of “Dyslexia," which uses quiet rhythms and dreamy tones.
If you want an album of lilting and quietly communicated ethereality, you need look no further. Every song on this magnificent album contains a strong and effective style that will give you much pleasure in the quality of the tunes.
SADCORE POETRY: Faith & Disease tried to shake the "gothic" label a couple of years ago by releasing Beneath The Trees, a heady confluence of neo-classical and folk rock, but their ethereal goth-loving fans embraced the diverse album just the same. On their new release (their seventh full-length in their decade together), the band takes a minimalist turn. Eric Cooley's warbling bass and Greg Forschler's shimmering, spaced-out guitar provide the moody canvas for Dara Rossenwasser's haunting voice, especially on "Between The Folds". "She's Got A Halo" stands as the disc's first track and also the first single, and it sounds both mesmerizing and heartbreaking. The combination of bass high-tones and mournful vocals cries out like the forgotten love child of New Order and Mazzy Star. There are various of other familiar influences here, too. The fierce, black energy on "Impermanence" sounds eerily reminiscent of the Velvet Underground. Add in a little Slowdive and some distance memories of 4AD Records for good measure when "Lost In Translation" floats out of the speakers. But no matter what notes of nostalgia you hear on this gorgeous album, it's all Faith & Disease. This may be their quintessential record. Wounded, hopeful, bleak and beautiful-it's a sonic dichotomy. -David Slatton
Seattle's own Faith & Disease still have firm roots in their overtly U.K. goth-styled start. It's the source of their striking cover of the Cure's "All Cats Are Grey" some years back, to pick one example. On the new Passport to Kunming, the band's inspirations are plain: The rich, rolling bass that Eric Cooley plays on the lead single, "She's Got a Halo," draws on that of not only the Cure's Simon Gallup but many of his post-punk peers as well. Vocalist Dara Rosenwasser doesn't belt, but her voice has a rich beauty that's neither fragile nor thin; its tone calls to mind fellow travelers-in-black This Ascension or Faith and the Muse. However, Faith & Disease have seldom simply looked 20 years back; they find their inspiration elsewhere. Collaborations with members of the Walkabouts, reworkings of classic murder ballads, and, on Kunming, a fine version of Jesse Sykes' "Made of Wood" demonstrate their sound's unexpected variety. The drowned romanticism of early Mojave 3 surfaces on "Lost in Translation," whose calm guitar reverb is set against an almost subharmonic drum beat, and "Girl at the Window," with its quietly dramatic opening piano. Fully arranged and balancing majesty with subtlety - the strong instrumental break on "Between the Folds" perfectly balances impact with quiet volume - it's the sound of a band coming into its own. - Ned Ragget
After years of involvement and commitment, F&D doesn't need further introduction. This new opus means a new voyage into the realms of sadness and melancholia. The dreamy-haunting vocals of Dara Rosenwasser remain the splendor and the enigma of their work. Her wafting style of singing opens the gates of heaven and the departure towards a pure psychedelic-gothic voyage. The main influences are constantly moving in between gothic and neo-classical while this particular floating accent makes the particularity of F&D. I personally enjoy the very dreamy side of ãLost in translationä, which perfectly illustrates the feelings of evasion emerging from this band. In a rather neo-classical way, the "Girl at the window"-song stands for pure sadness. The last cut entitled "His faded muse" is much more into rhythmic and brings some more diversity to the quietness and emotional content of the album! (DP:7/8)DP.
Since their 1993 debut album Beauty and Bitterness, Faith & Disease has gone through numerous lineup changes and explored genres as diverse as world music and ambient to folk and country. On their fifth album, named for the aborted trip to China where they had intended to record it, the Seattle-based project returns to the wistful, moody pop roots from which they sprouted. Their music, however, has grown in many ways, with the light, one-chord guitar strums replaced by intricate, fingerpicked arrangements, richly layered organs and pianos, and a cymbal-heavy, almost jazzy rhythm section.
Although this album has its moments of lyrical surrealism, particularly on “Dyslexia” and “How Far Does the Sky Go” (a reworking of a song from their collaboration with ambient composer Jeff Greinke), the emphasis is still on the lyricism itself. Instead of the dreamy wordlessness of “Fortune His Sleep” (from the 1995 album of the same name), we get such enigmatic yet evocative fragments as “Ocean song, dyslexia perplexed” and “How far does the sky go? Mouths full of flowers.” In lead singer Dara Rosenwasser’s honeyed soprano, these words are otherworldly, to be sure, but from a world close enough to our own that we can at least still recognize it.
The best moments on Passport to Kunming, though, are closer to pop than straightforward ethereal music. Eric Cooley, the band’s principal songwriter and the only member other than Rosenwasser who has contributed to all five albums, is primarily a bassist at heart, and it’s the lovely bass line that stands out in “She’s Got A Halo.” This is a track that you could almost imagine dancing to, at least someplace where people still swirl and wave their arms to the Cocteau Twins or the Cure’s “Charlotte Sometimes.” The old time piano sound and understated guitar of “Girl at the Window” are more lighthearted. Though the song is still languid and bittersweet, it at least sounds more like a winter nap near a fireplace than freezing to death in a snowy forest.
On their previous two albums, Faith & Disease has explored folk and Americana, covering the Byrds, the Cowboy Junkies, and traditional murder ballad “Banks of the Ohio,” but Passport to Kunming’s one offering in that vein – a version of Jessie Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter’s “Made of Wood” – sounds less like the alternative country of the original than British folk-pop darling Beth Orton without all the techno and trip-hop dabbling. Taking things in a more grand direction are the lofty organs and soaring vocals of “His Faded Muse,” which also features an extended guitar passage that, if not for the wash of shoegaze reverb, might recall the beautifully intricate work of Current 93 contributor Michael Cashmore.
While Passport to Kunming might not have the elements of surprise – “Oh, she’s singing in Hebrew!” or “Oh hey, slide guitar!” – that characterized previous albums, it is perhaps Faith & Disease’s most accomplished album, and certainly their most mature. Subtly weaving together all the elements that the band has explored without overemphasizing any of them, it’s the perfect musical accompaniment for somber, gray afternoons. - Matthew J.
What we have here is more from the Ethereal side of Goth, but with a bolder remit to strip sound down, but still keep things solid. In many ways they remind me of how different Bang Bang Machine sounded in the UK during the Shoegazing era. (Remember the enthralling 'Geek Love'?) They have that lightness of being, but quite a mad, angular approach to some of the background sound, and unpredictable guitar. Soft vocals inflate as they make their dangerous journey over poisoned obstacles.
'She's Got A Halo' could be what Joy Division might have sounded like if they had been a Goth band, with burning bass. The remix at the end is worth the price alone. 'Dyslexia' shows their usual knack of being slow without just resting on dreaminess, because they assume their form so strongly, with intriguing percussion. 'How Far Does The Sky Go' sees piano softening dark, morose passages, and if anything I guess this album sounds a little more mature than most Ethereal music, without becoming pompous. The guitar fuzz in 'Between The Folds' is strange; vocal fingers waving over some swooning bass, and the exquisite 'Lost In Translation' reminds me a little of the early 80's bands, but without lyrical frills.
Strangest track is 'Impermanence' that seems almost Scandinavian art-rock, from the time of Bo Hansson, scraping a mood off grim guitar and nervy vocals, and then we have the tinkling historical feel of 'Girl At The Window' where Butch Cassidy & Sundance finally retreat into the shadows when Dara's reflective singing takes hold.
The cover of 'Made Of Wood' is also a bit odd, because we're suddenly introduced to a different lyrical structure and more of a folk-rock style, and then it's remix time.
Not a huge album, maybe, and almost modest in tone, it is nevertheless very high quality, and if you missed it first time round go sleuth like mad things.