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Faust - Faust IV CD (album) cover





3.92 | 226 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Faust IV is iconic, unsettling, uniquely diverse Krautrock

That iconic cover covered in parallel lines, like a barcode, appears on many prog websites and magazines and I knew eventually I would be drawn to this album by sheer curiosity. Krautrock is familiar territory in my collection with the likes of Neu! Grobschnitt, Amon Duul II and Can, but Faust take it to a whole new level. The drone of the opening track doesn't prepare you for the myriad of musical directions this album takes you. It is like a journey and getting there is half the fun.

Not every track is listenable, in fact much of it is downright unsettling with bone jarring low drones and ethereal effects on synthesizer, like a horror movie soundtrack. Then there are accessible gems like the quiet contemplative 'Jennifer' and the punkified 'The Sad Skinhead'. One of the most popular is 'Giggy Smile' which is unearthly music that sounds like a bizarre mantra. The diversity is astounding and compelling, but it is extremely challenging at times, as all good Krautrock seems to be. There are hypnotic motifs, psych rock mantras and what is termed "musique concrete" made up of repetition and minimalism that is essentially the musical expressionism of Faust. The industrial techno rock of modern day owes much to this sound.

Occasionally I am reminded of the improv of Soft Machine meets early Kraftwerk. The music clip available of the 'Krautrock' track is introduced by Sosna stating that people laughed at the genre once and labelled it in the derogatory term it garnered, however he told the crowd that now they embrace the term as it is undisputedly German and proudly unique. Faust IV ended up naturally in the strange guide book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die", one of the few Krautrock albums that actually made the guide along with Can's "Future Days" and "Tago Mago" respectively.

It is difficult to recommend, such is the high strangeness of the material, in fact some of this would scare unwary music listeners away from Krautrock, however this is the diversity of Kraut and Faust were unashamedly dissimilar to any other band using asymmetrical time signatures and peculiar instrumentation. Dark, compelling music that is inaccessible at times, but important in changing musical directions and defining Krautrock.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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