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4 stars The Sex Pistols were mere amateurs- it was Faust that pulled off the Great Rock and Roll Swindle! Uwe Nettlebeck, their manager and svengali, convinced Polydor Records to bankroll the new German band he was assembling (like the Pistols, the Monkees, Moby Grape and many others, Faust was an "assembled" band). Nettlebeck talked Polydor into refurbishing an old schoolhouse at Wumme into a recording studio/ living space and arranged to have the services of engineer Kurt Graupner around the clock. How did the member of Faust react? By wasting most of the first year smoking dope and staging nude darts tounaments! But when Polydor put the pressure on, they responded with their eponymously titled debut. More than 30 years later, it is still one of the strangest musical experiences in progressive rock. Starting with tiny excerpts of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones set against a sawtooth blast of white noise, "Why Don't You Eat Carrots?" works it's way through Faustian versions of Beethoven piano and James Last oom-pah before settling into a manic horn-led riff that out-weirds Frank Zappa. The music is disrupted by spoken- word tape samples and throbbing electronics. You may not like it... but you'll never forget it. Following this is the relatively gentle "Meadow Meal", featuring finger- picked folkie guitar duetting with fuzzy electronic distortion and a call-and- repsponse vocal featuring some of the oddest English-As-A-Second-Language lyrics you'll ever hear ("You are a fruit fork" sings Jean-Herve Peron sweetly). After two verses, the song suddenly erupts in psychedelic guitar fuzz/fury, settles down for a third gentle verse and ends with an exquisite and beautiful duet between keyboardist Joachim Irmler and a thunderstorm. Nice! The entire second side of the original album is taken up by the extended psych-noise jam "Miss Fortune" with layers of bizarre electronics, distrorted guitars and even an opera pastiche towards the end. It was recorded live in the studio and has a more raw sound than the previous two cuts. The album originally came packaged in a clear plastic sleeve (with an X-Ray of a fist imprinted on it) a transparent lyric sheet and a see-through record, an astounding package which unfortunately cannot be duplicated in CD format. Despite its sketchy origins, this album is highly recommended to fans of Frank Zappa, Sun Ra and Henry Cow (Faust's pals and occasional tourmates). Just don't expect a "normal" listening experience and you will be richly rewarded.
Report this review (#32593)
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Well , the original Lp was certainly just that: Original. Not only was the disc in transparent Vinyl (!?!?!) but the sleeve it came in was a sort of X-ray of a hand . Not this sorry excuse of sleeve here above . You can actually have an idea of it by looking at acetate sleeve of the 2 on 1 Cd re-release of 2000 in the discography. As far as the music is concerned , if you are not familiar with the music from Faust , start with the following one called So Far, because you will be in a shock as this is barely listenable at first and it took me quite some time to come to term with this strange minimalist music full of bizarre electronics doodlings. Krautrock probably never got so experimental this going much farther than CAN or NEU!. This is not for the faint hearted or for the neo proghead just starting out.
Report this review (#32594)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a progressive ultimate masterpiece. Presumably the best Faust album - it stands comparisons to Faust Tapes and Rien (those 3 I would consider undisputably as the Faust masterpieces). The most stunnig is the usage of the studio itself as a fully-hired and skilful musician. Although it is not a Faust invention (take for instance Cage, Schaeffer, Zappa, Silver Apples or Byed of the United States of America, not to mention European tradition of the Plannet Gong and Faust sould-brothers in experiments - The Residents), Faust and their producer Uwe Nettlebeck took it far beyond the 'normal'/'usual' limits that rock bands (if we agree that Faust is a rock band...) traditionally explore. The same is for Faust music on the album - psychedelic and hippie-like folk songs are freaked out almost to the limits breaking the usual thinking about the rock albums. Among the German bands of the time, to name only Kraftwerk, Can, Amon Duul II and Cluster, presumably Faust was the most impressive, the most essential and experimenting one, as the pure epitome of Krautrock.

To sum up: a masterpiece, one of the most important albums in the rock music history. In my opinion, it is the best way to introduce young people to the world of Krautrock.

by Marek Jeziński, Poland.

Report this review (#38957)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Faust is arguably. arguably?. evidently and unabashedly!!. the most extravagant and multicolored band in the krautrock movement - as the band's biography liner notes for the ProgArchives clearly state, their music is not for the faint-hearted, and so any sympathetic reviewer could reasonably hesitate at giving a 5 (or even 4) star rating to any of their albums. But after the initial hesitation, the fact is that all of us, lovers of Faust music, cannot but admit publicly that their best recordings are essential (while remaining not totally recommendable) in any good prog collection. This is, precisely, the case of their amazing debut album, which serves, most of all, as a manifesto of distorted hard rock, uncompromising psychedelia, radical pastiche, Dadaist humor and electronic avant-garde in a very cohesive progressive amalgam. The fact is that this musical offering preserves its inner myriad of sonic contrasts in a unitary whole. While not having the finesse of Can's musicians nor portraying the raw energy of ART or Guru Guru, the truth is that Sosna, Irmler, Wüsthoff, Peron & Diermaier together make up a very tight ensemble. Each one of the three pieces in the album's repertoire comprises an open field for diversity - two of them are 8+ minute long and the other, 16+. 'Why Don't You Eat Carrots?' starts with brutal slide guitar layers upon which samplers of The Rolling Stones' 'satisfaction' and The Beatles' 'All You Need is Love' appear; then, a semi- chamber grand piano section is accompanied by the sound of an angry man giving orders in an almost Nazi way - go figure! The two main motifs that follow combine the dexterity of jazz-rock and the peculiar joy of circus fanfare, both of them seasoned by Zappaesque vocalizations and more slide guitar effects. I don't know how they managed to do it, but they did: this is an opus of musical aggression that bears no sign nor clear evidence of sheer aggressiveness. 'Meadow Meal' has two distinct parts: the first one is pure late 60s-early 70s psychedelia; the second one consists of eerie dual organ layers surrounded by the sound of rain. 'Miss Fortune' is the suite that fills the B- side of the vinyl edition, and it pretty much reiterates the band's penchant for complex psychedelic rock and unpredictable nonsense as exhibited in the previous two tracks. A specific note regarding this track: the acoustic guitar based coda bears a buoclic beuaty in its simplicity, but it is preveneted from becoming "romantic" by the presence of a double voiced soliloquy. If you're a listener whose aesthetic feel is in tune with Faust's demanding musical ideology, then this is a record that you will surely enjoy and may even find essential (as I personally do). This is also - together with the sophomore "So Far"' - the recommended hit-or-miss try for the listener regarding the music of Faust: either if you ultimately enjoy it or you do not, it is clear to me that your "Faust" (or "So Far") experience will necessarily define your future interest (or lack of) in exploring the band's catalogue further.
Report this review (#41741)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
con safo
4 stars An insane experience!

A truly original Krautrock album, Faust's first album is one of the most psychedelic and experimental albums ever released, the sounds this band creates are not of this world! Faust sufficiently blends groundbreaking electronic effects and 60's psychedelia into one insane combination. The album packaging was just as weird as the music, the vinyl being clear and a sleeve with an x-ray hand on it. Many bands were experimenting with electronic sounds at the time, but Faust took it farther than anyone else, elevating the traditional psych/hippie-folk song to insane new levels. It isn't exactly and easy listen, and is NOT for the faint of heart. The opening track, "Why don't you eat carrots" opens with heavily distorted slide guitar, dense sheets of fuzzy guitar swell until they are interrupted by some nice piano, but not for long. The song takes another sonic turn and we enter an eerie circus -like jam. The vocals in this one are quite weird, but then again, this is Faust! The music is soon overcome by intense electronic noodling, and what sounds like a conversation. The song ends with electronic experimentation, but the main musical motif returns throughout the chaos. "Meadow Meal" features some very odd vocals, the first part of the song being somewhat normal, some dissonant vocal melodies followed by a traditional psych jam. The second part of the track is sounds of a thunderstorm overheard, soon joined by atmospheric organ that brings the song to a dreamy close. The album ends with the 16-minute opus "Miss Fortune", which again combines the bands love for late 60's psychedelia, and complete insanity. The song opens with a very psychedelic jam, fuzzbox guitar and bizarre electronic noodling make up the first 5 minutes, until the song (in true Faust fashion) falls into utter madness. Unusual vocals accompanie a slow building instrumental, until it takes off in far-out splendor. The minimilast keys create an dense texture alongside odd electronic experimentation.

I wouldn't go as far as to recommend this to new prog fans, but for fans of the Krautrock genre, this can't be missed!


Report this review (#58527)
Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This is another krautrock album. Krautrock is my least favorite progressive rock subgenre and this album still confirms it. The Faust album has VERY little interesting things to offer. On "Why don't you eat carrots", there are some dissonant RIO elements that make this track the best of the 3 ones; one can notice the psychedelic voice similar to the ones on Pink Floyd's "Fearless". Some relaxing piano parts having a very good sound really contrast with the overall gross sound & arrangements. There is a very intimate German conversation between a man & a woman. "Meadow meal" is VERY irritating and disoriented, with TONS of bizarre sounds: from the metal can hit with a spoon to the inoffensive electric guitar having a sound similar to a puff through a filiform leave that you place between your thumbs! The organ-like solo in the end is not bad. Finally, the last track, "Miss fortune", breaks the limits of what is bearable in terms of sounds, voices and effects: this track is VERY, VERY, VERY annoying and irritating: it consists in unprecedented cacophonic random arrangements that go nowhere: there are still the psychedelic voices a la Pink Floyd's "Fearless". I compared this record to the band Can: at least Can is more rhythmic and sustained. On the other hand, Faust are pretty similar to the 2 worst tracks of Can's Tago mago: "Aumgn" and "Peking O".
Report this review (#78410)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best Krautrock, and a true masterpiece(insert your favorite description), and one of the greatest albums of any sort of all time. It's up there with Unit Structures, most of Coltrane's stuff, Mingus, and any other rock, even could stand in the top 100 or so of all time works. The key is that it is not original, the cut up technique was founded with Virgin Forest by The Fugs off of their Second Album, and pushed further with Zappa, and has feelings of Floyd, Beefheart, and the Velvet Underground. They came after all of them and in my mind is third to only 2. White Light/White Heat & 1. Blonde on Blonde. I know that Blonde on Blonde seems to be out of place for some people in this argument but it was the first true concept album and Dylan is the father of all after him in the sense of using the album as a portrait rather than a simple collection of songs, but thats all any of them are! Faust, like most anyone or anything else that is good in art or leisure, is rejected by those who have no respect for themselves or others. I understand that for those who like Faust there are those who dislike them by simple definition of like and dislike, but those who like generally or exclusively like psychedelic music should salivate at the experience of Faust. Those who like this I would recommend Faust IV(no surprise), White Light/White Heat, Velvet Underground & Nico, Parable of Arable Land, Saucerful of Secrets, and Neu! Yes, there are endless of other Krautrockers I like, but this is beyond the category that was so helpfully defined on the opening track to Faust IV.
Report this review (#89928)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's not easy to find out what this album is really about except for being one of the most bizarre recordings I've ever laid my ear on. After a listen to the ProgArchives sample of the opening cut I ordered this album thinking it would be interesting to hear the whole thing. After the first spin in my CD player (in the middle of the night, mind you) I was left completely puzzled and almost disturbed. It was unlike anything I've heard before it and it blew my mind both sonically and mentally. Very trippy, very psychedelic, very original and very, experimental!

The album is very dominated by electronic and percussive sound effects, used creatively throughout. The music is never predictable, but also suffers slightly from the use of the "cut'n'paiste" technique though it doesn't really matter here and while the whole album was recorder under heavily influence of pot and booze (it says so in the booklet!) the result is strange, but facinating and highly enjoyable in the end. Particular highlights is the wonderfully disturbing "Why Don't You Eat Your Carrots?", which settles the mood perfectly in the beginning before bursting into a deranged series of psychedelic circus music, off the wall chanting and gritty fuzz guitars, and believe me; it sounds completely different than what I described. This album is not for the faint of heart, but definitely for the adventurous listener. 4.5/5

Report this review (#102993)
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the key krautrock albums of the 70's! It's very experimental with some cuts from beatles, rolling stones.. the importance of this work to this genre and to the post-rock and noise rock it's great! A must in every serious prog and rock collection!
Report this review (#111739)
Posted Monday, February 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Well, not much can be said in order to describe this album, you ought to hear it. It is one of the defining moments of Kraut-rock and one of the strangest records out there (along with equally revolutionary work of THE RESIDENTS). A pioneering and groundbreaking work that foresees in many aspects the later work of post punk alternative music. If you like weird stuff FAUST debut is a must.

"A wonderful wooden reason"

Report this review (#111757)
Posted Monday, February 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I would say this is the most experimental record I have ever heard. It is filled with strange electronic sounds and weird spoken vocals. I really believe that the band had the attitude that anything goes,and so they became very inventive and imaginative in the studio and came up with an album that defied description. For this alone they deserve a lofty place in the realm of Krautrock. Only three long tracks on this their 1971 debut. I will also mention that this band is one of the most influencial groups on the planet.

"Why Don't You Eat Carrots" opens with some THE BEATLES and ROLLING STONES references before strange sounds come in. Get used to it. Piano arrives followed by a drum led melody. Vocals with trumpet, drums and spacey sounds 5 minutes in.This is silly and strange. It stops 7 minutes in as odd spacey sounds come and go. We then hear parts of a conversation as the previous melody comes back briefly along with some other sounds. "Meadow Meal" opens with some freaky sounds that are sometimes loud.This is beyond bizarre. Vocals come in that have an echo and speak out words and sentences. Hey we get some music before 3 1/2 minutes in, and it's very good. More spoken words 5 minutes in. Thunder and rain only can be heard as we listen to a storm for a while with no music. Very cool. Organ after 6 minutes to end it.

Miss Fortune" was recorded live, and it's a side long suite. It builds with drums, guitar and spacey sounds. This is incredible ! Bass lines are good 4 minutes in and the scorching guitar is even better. It all stops 5 minutes in as vocal sounds, piano, cymbals and spacey sounds come and go. We get a calm then drums and piano start a melody 9 1/2 minutes in with some weird sounds sprinkled in. A calm follows as a new section comes in with odd vocals and piano. Next up are sounds that are like hearing someone scraping a blackboard with their nails. More weird vocals make me cringe. Acoustic guitar 15 1/2 minutes in with words that are spoken by two members of the group. One says a word, then the other says the next word and so on. Do you know how annoying this (Haha). Absolutely insane !

Report this review (#141864)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars This record has a great gimmick, its transparent and so is the cover it also features a skeletal hand. If this was a cover and art work site this record would score very highly. However this is a music review site and this record is just awful. This is not up to the standard of Nue or Can , or even Birth Control. I suppose it is closer to one of Throbbing Gristle's less essential live albums than anything else. It is a collection of noises rather than a progressive music recording. If Faust's output consisted of just this record they would have been forgotten long ago. It sounds like the work of fakers rather than the work of artists. It has all of the charm of a bad live punk rock band but without the beat. Those few who claim this record is a classic are so out of touch with reality that I would question their sanity. This is not a great record by any stretch of the imagination. It may appeal to those who think banging a few milk bottles or mixing a few noises together amounts to music. Its a lazy exercise in pretentiousness. Yes this is an experimental recording but its an experiment that doesnt work. Seriously if you must try the music of Faust buy the far better Faust tapes to start with. I suppose if you see the vinyl going cheap (some hope) you might want to buy it for its excellent cover art work. However this is not a record in any sense of the word it is the work of crooks and con men.
Report this review (#146362)
Posted Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I JUST DON't GET IT !

To my tastes, there are short interludes of music surrounded by large pieces of strangeness that is not really music. I am not a fan of CAN (which this reminds me of) or RIO so if you are then you can freely ignore my opinion. I tried really !

Report this review (#174129)
Posted Monday, June 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars This is not easy music to listen to in any way shape or form but that is what makes so much RIO (Yes this is rock in opposition not krautrock) so much fun to listen to. The first track Why Don't You Eat Carrots starts with some just plain weird static noises but eventually turns into some nice piano with a catchy beat. This is probably the best song on the album, (Although it may just seem that way to me because it is the most symphonic prog on the album). Meadow Meal is almost as delightfully weird as the first track and although hard to listen to at first winds up being very entertaining. Miss Fortune contains more guitars than the other songs but that does not make it better, it is actually the worst track on the album to me. It gets just plain weird in the end when people start talking, changing who says something every word or so leaving the album with just a sense of awe. Overall I give it a 3 because lets admit it, this is very hard stuff to take in.
Report this review (#212623)
Posted Monday, April 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#229610)
Posted Sunday, August 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you 'get' Revoution 9, youll get Faust.

That's the most concise statement that can be made about this most mythical of albums. Rightly considered to be the quintessential krautrock album; it is the innovative, radical and disciplined statement that showcases the genre in its purest most distilled form. Like the skeletal hand on the jacket, this is music exposed to its core: noise, raw sound. Arbitrarily divided into a trio of tracks, it is best to view these as movements in one giant sound collage which combines dissonant rock, the spoken word and avant-garde experimentation which is really light years ahead of its time. Its greatness rests on its daring and unwillingness to compromise with what pop music was typically thought to consist of. I think its safe to say that if you realize that music can transcend the sugar-coated 3 min. sound byte you'll appreciate the profound beauty of what Faust has trying to achieve here. In that sense, all progheads can potentially admire this album.

There can be no half measures with Faust. You either get it or you don't. You either acknowledge its brilliance or treat it with disdain. I unabashedly fall in the former category.

Report this review (#249044)
Posted Sunday, November 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars The self-titled debut album from Faust is a surprisingly effective classic of the Krautrock genre. Still, I would't want to give anyone the false impression that this is an essential album that everyone should own in their collections.

I feel that this album deserves a lot more praise from me. Unfortunately it is not easy to enjoy the second side as much as the excellent first one. Why Don't You Eat Carrots is amazing to say the least. This 10 minute composition basically defines the Krautrock-genre for me! Meadow Meal might not have quite as high composition-quality to it but still manages to leave an overall positive impression. Still it's the final improvisational piece called Miss Fortune that completely ruins this experience for me. The track drags on for almost 17 minutes during which there aren't really that many interesting moments.

After saying that I still urge everyone who found what I mentioned to be exciting and is interested in broadening their musical horizons to give this album a spin. Who knows, maybe you will find it a whole lot more enjoyable?

***** star songs: Why Don't You Eat Carrots (9:31)

**** star songs: Meadow Meal (8:02)

*** star songs: Miss Fortune (16:35)

Report this review (#257864)
Posted Saturday, December 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#372004)
Posted Monday, January 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The soundtrack for when you're on a merry-go-round and just about to throw up.

The crazed world of Faust began with this stimulating oddity from '71. A bit like Stockhausen jamming with Can where an assembly of cacophonous sound effects mixed with tortured guitars and vocals make this an album you won't forget.

Clearly the kind of music your mum and dad would loathe even though they're the same age as these guys. Commendably uninspired by American and British music of the same period Faust set out on a path untramelled by any of their predecessors. Isolating themselves in a converted schoolhouse in Wümme probably helped the album along no end, but certainly not their sanity.

The lyrics are meaningless and would have been better off left in German, but the sheer weight of ideas present are enough to fill three albums. Plainly speaking, this makes Beefheart sound top 40.

The strange thing is that it doesn't sound weird for weirdness sake, just genuinely unhinged.

Report this review (#403575)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Faust is fun!

Since a really started to like Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa and Henry Cow I was looking for more music related to the Rock-in-opposition/ Avant-Garde movement. So I found Faust described as RIO on PA and bought their first record on vinyl.

After the first listening I realised that Faust was very different than the earlier bands I've mentioned; there are no polyrythmic sessions or avant-garde wind-sections and is less complex. This debut contained many acts that fits well in the psychedelic/acidic spacerock movement. Faust had surely listened good to the early Pink Floyd records, because many of the admospheres on their debut are quiet the same, but with different sound-effects.

Faust is described as a record not for the faint-of hearted. I do really disagree with this position. I just thought Faust is fun. I've heard my wife complaining with Captain Beefheart and the Mothers of Invention, but surely is much more accessible than those bands. Faust does experimentate with new sounds and makes use of tape-manipulation, but is IMO as accessible as early Pink Floyd composition like "The saucerfull of secrets" and "Be carefull with that axe, Eugene". I don't mean that those compositions are accessible, but that's just the case with the progressive movement: it was never meant to be accessible for the crowd!

So, it's not that accessible. What is Faust alike then? Faust is just fun. This debut contains some psychedelic party music with some false happy emotions. There is always some dissonance, but it became never really dark. This music is narcotic and relaxed and has some really original ideas (that is the reason that this music is called RIO). This music is dynamic: their are some full-sounding acidic spacerock parts, but also minimalistic parts.

This music is not just a nice addition: the material is really original and therefor I'll give it five stars, while in fact the quality of this record is about 4,5 star.

Report this review (#605523)
Posted Sunday, January 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5, actually. Faust ist Schon!

Here is something that really amazes me: I'm not into "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and "Future Days", yet I'm into this product of freaks of nature. I don't know why, but I got the hang of the album's "musical" logic from the first listen. Everything on it is so crooked, yet it makes sense to me. All three tracks here make the record an ugly counterpart to "Close to the Edge". I don't think Frank Zappa or Ian Anderson could have come up with this as a parody on prog rock.

The tracks sound like experimental compositions rather than experimental improvisations. Think 'Supper's Ready'. It is 23 minutes long because it is constituted of seven sections. The tracks on Faust's debut have the same kind of structure, where one section follows another one. Here is a cookie, though: if you are new to Faust's work, brace yourselves; this is by far their most erratic piece of work I've ever known. Keep in mind that most likely you would have to abandon the normal logic you probably were assuming about music while growing up unless you were born into messy stuff. This is a whole another world, completely on its own, and it has nothing to do with "The Lamb" or "Future Days", from where I'm standing. Every section has its own character in terms of dynamics and musical style, which is one of the important features of the album.

Another important feature of the record is the nature of individual sounds. The album opens with a sound that I personally consider as an immortal exposition. Who else could think of opening an album like that? There is another sound on the first track that is my personal favorite, a sudden ferocious strike followed by a terrible (in a good way) roar. I like "sudden". There are plenty of other surprises on this album, which makes it even more exciting.

The tracks also sound like lengthy grotesque states of mind that probably demand your future preparation for the next time, so that you would know when to sing along with those nutjobs. The singing is even weirder than that of David Byrne from Talking Heads. The lyrics do not have to make any sense at all. It's just a compilation of awesome grooves and sounds stitched together in sequences that provide you with an aural room for turning yourself inside out (if you know what I mean), and I really like that. If you are tired of social rules and conventions, just walk back into your cave and go mental.

Keep in mind that I'm not suggesting this album as a musical equivalent of a horror movie. The way these guys incorporate elements of experimental electronica, jazz, classical music, minimalism, boogie, Italian opera, and Oriental music (what did I miss?) is, actually, funny on occasions. I believe that the whole concept behind the album is to allow you to get loose inside. If it is not, then I thank Faust for that anyway. God bless this mess.

To sum up, get this album unless you are normal. If you have lost all of your faith in it, you might as well forget about it for some time or, maybe, even eternity. In that case just stick with "The Lamb", "Future Days", or whatever other weird record that would make you feel different.

Ratings/comments (if you have to ask):

'Why Don't You Eat Carrots' - *****

'Meadow Meal' - ****

'Miss Fortune [Live]' - ***

Stamp: "I like it."

Report this review (#613890)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars The debut Faust album was one of the greatest middle fingers ever directed at a clueless music industry. Did producer / con artist Uwe Nettelbeck really convince Polydor Records that this band of anarchists could be the next Beatles? And did they realize he was rubbing the company's nose in the dung of its own gullibility by including brief snippets of the Fab Four and the Rolling Stones at the top of the album opener, "Why Don't You Eat Carrots?"

You can hear it both ways: as a daring act of musical non-conformity, or just a ploy to use Polydor in the same way the label was no doubt exploiting its other artists, by taking their money straight to the bank. Legend says the group wasted a generous advance of time and cash on drugs and other idle recreations, before making a late attempt at actual music-making. Once the tapes were rolling, however, all bets were off.

There may not have been a kitchen sink in their Wümme studio, but everything else was thrown into the mix, and the end result was a compelling mess of song, noise, dada absurdity, musique concrete, rock 'n' roll exuberance, and free-floating what the f*ck weirdness. Some of it almost sounds (halfway) normal, like the horn melody in between the interruptions of mind-frying cosmic radiation in "Why Don't You Eat Carrots?" or the crude but invigorating garage band jam following the silly nonsense poetry of "Meadow Meal".

But the yardstick of normality was set pretty low to begin with. The side-long assembly aptly (for Polydor) titled "Miss Fortune" sounds like a haphazard collage of leftover rehearsal tapes. And the playful arrangement of the closing narration, recorded word by separate word in alternating left and right channels, was quintessential Faust iconoclasm, like some of the best Krautrock both comic and thoughtful at the same time.

"The idea was not to copy anything going on in the Anglo-Saxon rock scene", said Uwe Nettelbeck afterward: pure Barnum & Bailey B.S. of course. But then again, Frank Zappa wasn't an Anglo-Saxon, was he? The arrival of Faust could almost be seen as the second leg of a long musical itinerary that began with Zappa in late '60s Los Angeles, continued all through Germany at the end of the decade, and eventually came full circle back to California in groups like The Residents and Chrome: two direct descendants of the patchwork Faustian method.

We can only speculate what the Polydor suits must have thought of the band's first album, when they recovered from their collective faint after first hearing it. But give the poor suckers a round of applause for their misguided zeal in signing such an unlikely act, and turning this musical lynch mob loose on an unsuspecting world.

Report this review (#866240)
Posted Sunday, November 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Opening with radio static with the strains of the Stones' Satisfaction and the Beatles' All You Need Is Love fading in and out, Faust's debut album sounds chaotic at first listen, but care and dedicated listening reveals the carefully judged compositional calculations underlying everything. Maintaining a shrewd balance between being undauntingly experimental and keeping the listener's interest, it's a radical release which as well as representing the more disciplined and composed end of Krautrock could act as a sort of RIO manifesto when you consider how the experiments on this album would find echoes later in the works of the likes of Henry Cow.
Report this review (#963084)
Posted Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permalink

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