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Faust - The Faust Tapes  CD (album) cover

THE FAUST TAPES

Faust

 

Krautrock

3.73 | 88 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UnearthlyChild
5 stars After reading many of the reviews given for this album on Prog Archives, I was initially quite surprised how much The Faust Tapes has polarised opinion. It goes from one extreme - 5 star review by Kaztor, to virtually a no star review from Easy Livin. In hindsight, it shouldn't be that surprising that an album like The Faust Tapes would attract such differing views as there is simply no other album out there like it. People's attempts to categorise this album pretty much fall flat. One reviewer pointed out that the album was compared to the music of Deep Purple by the NME at the time. Absolutely ridiculous! But then again, the NME always has talked out of its backside. I suppose the beginning of the live version of Lazy, on Made In Japan, when Jon Lord feeds his hammond through lots of distortion and effects, might bear a vague similarity to Faust's more fuzzy moments. The comparison is often made between this album and Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick, but again this comparison is silly. Okay, both albums contain one large track that is made out of several short segments, but while Jethro Tull's work - probably their best - is largely structured, The Faust Tapes is deliberately not structured at all, and a cut and paste method of editing is liberally applied throughout, with lots of jagged edges created in the process.

Reading that on its initial release The Faust Tapes was released for just 49p, made me wish I was alive in 1973. I seem to remember the CD reissue (with the cover shown above rather than the far better Bridget Riley Crest painting of the LP) cost me something like 12 altogether, back in 1996. I seem to remember buying about five CDs at once, and putting them in my multi-CD player. After about getting through about three of the CDs I had got bored and had started doing some work, and pretty much switched off listening to the music. When The Faust Tapes finally came on I had fully stopped paying attention. I seem to remember reading something and then suddenly thinking, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? All these bizarre sounds were coming out of my speakers. It sounded like people walking up and down stairs with the TV blaring out and the taps turning on. There was this seven minute-long distorted jam that suddenly cut in with lyrics which sounded like Che-Va Buddah, Che-Va Lopee-Easy. There was this spooky ghost voices section rudely interrupted by the sound of someone drilling. I just could not pay attention to anything else - this was one of the greatest albums I have ever heard in my life. To me, the music was absolutely life-changing. How could you get away with doing this kind of music?

From that point onwards and until this very day, I've been hooked on Faust. The Faust Tapes has everything near enough contained in its 26 sections over 43 minutes of music. There are structured songs - albeit about gardens made out of sandwiches - to crazy sound experiments, to free jazz, to acoustic guitar passages with a French person speaking over the top of it. Whether my high opinion of this album is the norm, is of course a different matter entirely. Throughout my teenage years, I always used this album to get my parents out of my room! It is probably the best example of an album that you will either love or hate. You will certainly not be indifferent to it. There is no blandness to it whatsoever.

Is is prog? The Faust Tapes certainly classifies as progressive music for me, because it breaks musical barriers. The talents of the musicians are unquestionable. The music is structurally diverse. The music is sonically diverse. For me, it even has the emotional peaks and troughs that all good progressive music should have. Track number 12 on the newly released fully sequenced version of the album is an amazing beautiful segment of the album - this truly haunting and powerful chord sequence. And then it goes into this squeaky bit which sounds like a pair of fighting chipmunks accompanied by a gorilla playing a drum kit (no not Phil Collins). If you like a challenge, go buy this album. But be prepared to have your life changed in the process.

UnearthlyChild | 5/5 |

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