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Faust - Faust CD (album) cover

FAUST

Faust

 

Krautrock

3.80 | 147 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Some find this album very weird and don't recommend it. I have heard a lot weirder music than what you will find here. However, it must be noted that when this came out, there was almost nothing else like it. This album was a huge influence on later unorthodox rock music (Industrial for example). Sometimes called "Fist" due to the cover being an X-ray of a fist, it was originally released as transparent vinyl. The members of Faust wanted not only the music to be weird as hell, but the packaging as well.

Like Can, these guys do a lot of tape editing and splicing to create their music. Unlike Can's music, you can tell the music has been greatly altered here. Chris Cutler has stated that Faust were a big influence on Henry Cow, and by extension, much of the avant-prog that came after Cow. Whereas a lot of early Krautrock was influenced by British psych, Faust seems to be influenced more by experimental American rock. Specifically, The Mothers Of Invention and The Velvet Underground.

On this album you will find some of the greatest English-as-second-language lyrics you will ever hear. Examples: "You are the fruit-fork"; "A wonderful wooden reason"; "I lift my skirt and Voltaire turns as he speaks, his mouth full of garlic"...etc. I'm guessing this was all intentional. On the CD version, the song "Miss Forune"(misfortune, get it?) is 2-3 minutes longer. I have never heard the original vinyl so I don't know what was added, but it sounds seamless to me.

The album begins with "Why Don't You Eat Carrots", which you can listen to on PA. After some static and feedback you briefly hear the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love." Some piano before a school marching band sound. A weird, evil sounding school marching band. Some weird vocal effects and back to the marching band with a trombone(?) solo. Then a different marching band theme with fuzzy guitars and trippy synthesizer noises. Some singing and handclaps. More trippy synth noises before you hear a man and woman having a conversation in German. Different sounds come in and out while they are talking. More marching band to end it.

"Meadow Meal" begins with the sound of someone blowing in a glass bottle, along with some piano. Weird echoed and speed altered percussion noises follow, then guitar and vocals. Later a great rocking section; this is the most stereotypical Krautrock sounding part of the album. Then the music stops and you hear the sound of a thunderstorm. Some symphonic organ plays over top.

"Miss Fortune" has wah-organ joined by a repeated bass note and some drumming. Then fuzzy guitar. It then goes into a Velvet Underground style groove. Later some spacey electronic sounds. Then piano, cymbals and some oddball almost operatic singing. Fuzzy sounds join in. Drums start to play a steady beat and it almost sounds 'normal' for a brief moment. Later on some almost classical piano and some more weird vocals. Then jazzy piano playing that reminds me of The Residents. Bird-like synth noises and a voice that sounds like Gollum from the Lord Of The Ring movies. Instead of saying "my precious," the voice says "explosion." Weird electronic effects and then the music stops. Then some acoustic guitar with two overdubbed voices saying one word at a time, back and forth creating sentences.

You may have noticed I used the word "weird" a lot. This is indeed very strange music, especially for 1971. But it's not as unaccesible as some would have you believe. It helps to have a sense of humour when you listen to this album. I could see some of the noisier moments turning some people off, but they are few and far between. Like most people, I did not know what to think of this album the first time I heard it. But the more I listened to it, the more I "got it." An album that needs to be fully absorbed to understand it. It may take more effort than some are willing to make. Most people should start with Faust IV, which is a lot easier to get into. I can't give this less than 4 stars because it is a great album, although admittedly is not to everyone's taste.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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