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FAUST

Faust

 

Krautrock

3.81 | 146 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Faust" is the debut full-length studio album by German Krautrock/psychadelic/avant garde rock act Faust. The album was released through Polydor Records in late 1971. The members of Faust were brought together by leftist-journalist Uwe Nettelbeck (who alledgedly was also associated with the infamous Baader-Meinhof movement), who had been asked by Polydor Records to find a German band, who could rival some of the contemporary commercially successful British artists (needless to say they were not impressed by the outcome). The label provided the band and Uwe Nettelbeck (who acted as producer on the recording project) with enough money and time, for the band to spend most of 1971 writing and recording the album. Actually the story says that the band did very little for the first half year and only started seriously working on the project when the deadline was near. They struggled to write enough material for a full album though and had to go back and use some of the jam recordings they had done in the first part of 1971 and patch them together to form coherent material enough for a full-length release.

The actual recording process took a mere 3 days which is quite an achivement considering the high quality of the material. Faust had a rather interesting and very relaxed approach to the recording process, which is obvious from reading a quote from the liner notes (from the booklet to the 2000 "Collectors Choice" CD release) by drummer Werner Diermaier: "For the first record, the first side was constructed and the second side was where we smoked many hashish and drank much alcohol. In three days, the record had to be ready. It was very funny".

I nearly fell down my chair choking with laughter after reading that. Thatīs just brilliant and an insight to the early days of Faust. Itīs refreshing to read such a statement these days where eveything are usually planned down to extreme detail and everything have to be absolutely perfect before you enter/leave the studio.

As an album "Faust" usually has the reputation that itīs a very difficult and avant garde listening experience, and while that is certainly true to some extent, the sometimes crazy sounding experiments actually work well together and the music isnīt completely devoid of hooks either. The album for instance features several great psychadelic rock parts and to make a comparison I donīt find the music on this album much more inaccessible than the most experimental output by 60s Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention.

In addition to the more "regular" rock parts on the album, the music on "Faust" features lots of studio tricks like tape manipulations and experiments with electronic devices. The vocals on the album which are in English are rather unique. Sometimes almost chanting and other times reciting the lyrics. It sounds like complete madness at times but itīs ultimately very charming. The 31:24 minutes long album only features 3 tracks: "Why don't you eat carrots", "Meadow Meal" and "Miss Fortune". The two former were featured on side 1 of the original LP and the latter was featured on side 2. The album is very short with itīs 31:24 minutes playing time but with music as extreme as this I think itīs a suitable length.

The version I own, which is the 2000 "Collectors Choice" CD release where "Faust" is paired with the second album by Faust titled "So Far (1972)", features a total playing time of 34:08 minutes as the version of "Miss Fortune" is a couple of minutes longer than the original version and the version of "Meadow Meal" is about one minute longer than the original version. The two tracks on side 1 are both structured (I use the word structured loosely here) experimental avant garde rock tracks while "Miss Fortune" is a long experimental jam. While the recording history and the relaxed nature of the band might suggest otherwise, this does not sound like senseless noodling or strange noises put together in random order. Faust appear to know exactly what they are doing and how they want to achive their goals.

The sound production is hands down fantastic. All those sounds collages and tape tricks must have been a real challenge handling in the studio and keeping in mind that the album was recorded in 3 days, there is a time pressure factor here too that makes it an even more incredible achivement. The spontaneity and laid back approach to the recording process that these musicians had could have resulted in a terribly bad and sloppy end product, but as Faust were incredibly talented musicians, they could pull something as bold as this off with conviction. They also fully understood that avant garde rock has to have some degree of accessibility and some memorable parts to be entertaining to the listener and therefore this weird experiment works wonders. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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