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Faust - The Faust Tapes CD (album) cover





3.81 | 126 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This recording has a very peculiar origin. It is indeed a Faust work if we strictly consider the source of inspiration, arrangements and performances; but the assemblage of all comprised sections as they appear in the actual album wasn't engineered nor conceived by the band, but a sound technician at Virgin Records who happened to be a proud Faust fan. He took the task of creating a bizarre collage of several home recordings the band had completed in their German studio just for fun or to entertain friends. Anyway, the final result was satisfactory for all Faustian musicians, so they granted their total conformity about its release in the music market. It was sold in the British stores for the prize of your regular single vinyl in order to promote the band's forthcoming first tour in the UK - it wasn't as a smart move as Virgin thought it would be, since it sold reasonably well but leaving no profit. Yet, all things considered, what better prize than a raving review for the album by Ian McDonald himself in the New Musical Express Magazine? (check for the article's transcript). Now I'll write a little bit about the album's material. "The Faust Tapes" is yet another Faust masterpiece in which their collage-oriented ideology meets a more robust and aggressive expression than in their debut album (which was, indeed, quite intense). Even the more conventionally pop sections and the calmer passages intrinsically bear that typical Faustian bizarre feel, since there's always that impending doom that signals at the possibility for an abrupt change to bring in some sort of insanity - you just can't stop keeping the whole picture in mind (either retrospectively or prospectively) while listening to a specific section. Let's check over what happens during the first 14 minutes: random piano chords on reverb - tribal drumming accompanied by a Zappaesque choral arrangement - an acoustic ballad that reminds the listener of Dylan and The Byrds - singers struggling to gradually reach their highest tone, which is followed by aleatory washes of piano, trumpet, guitar, harmonica, percussion and demented chanting - a half French/half English-sung rocker that states a compromise between The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead, with hints to Barrett-era Pink Floyd. All this and more in a most bizarre (at times ,verging on the intolerable) 44 minute pastiche! Once again, I find myself granting a very high rating for an album that I can't honestly recommend to all prog fans alike. While this album is patently designed to draw the unfriendly listener away (miles away, to be more accurate), that won't detract me from regarding it as essential in the history of prog rock, and of course, the history of krautrock. Well, if krautrock was in itself a world apart within the world of prog, Faust created their own world within the aforementioned world apart, and this album certainly epitomizes the most accomplished qualities of their hyper-subversive style. Once I've stated this conclusion, I hope I made myself clear about why I see myself obliged to give this album 4 stars (4 1/2 stars in my mind).
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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