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Faust - Faust / So Far CD (album) cover





4.71 | 22 ratings

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5 stars This reissue of the first two Faust albums on one disc is superlative value for money and a perfect introduction to probably the most challenging experimental rock music of the 1970s. It also shows two very different sides of the band's character.

'Faust' came like a bolt from the blue in the 1970s - the transparent outer sleeve showed an x-ray of a fist (the name means fist in German), the transparent sheet of liner notes contained a couple of apparently random newspaper stories and the information that producer/manager Uwe Nettelbeck liked the Beach Boys and the record itself was on transparent vinyl. All this seemed positively normal compared to the music, which made Zappa's Lumpy Gravy sound like Abba. The two lengthy pieces on side 1 were the result of painstaking work in the band's studio. They are dizzying collages of sounds and musical styles that reveal new subtleties every time they're heard. The side long Miss Fortune is an edited version of a drunken/stoned studio jam session that went further out than rock improv had ever gone before.

'Faust So Far' arrived in a black sleeve with paintings inside which apparently corresponded to each of the tracks. The album opens with the stomping, primal beat of 'It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl' - Roxy Music used a similar pattern on 'Bogus Man', and Brian Eno identified as one of the essential beats in 70s music. Following this outbreak of near-normality, the dream logic of the first album reasserts itself with abrupt shifts in sound and style. Acoustic interludes of almost classical formality are contrasted with electronic freak outs, and there are passages on this album which sound almost conventional. Of the two albums, this is the more readily accessible but also the more experimental - having mastered their studio technique, Faust created a seamless, otherworldly sequence of musical events that owes little to anything that had gone before but which was to have an influence out of all proportion to their album sales.

Faust are one of the legends of underground music, and these are the albums that the legend is based on. Essential listening.

Syzygy | 5/5 |


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