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SO FAR

Faust

Krautrock


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tony@super8re
4 stars Faust's second LP is a more accessable, less crazy affair than their first. True, all the elements of the first album are present (bizarre electronics, fuzzy distorted keyboards and guitars, a jazzy underpinning, thundering drums, strange lyrics and song ideas), but this time out they are structured to help the listener enter Faust's unique soundworld. The band was under pressure to produce a more accessable album than their first, and "So Far" fits the bill, yet does not compromise in the areas of sonic exploration and outright weirdness. "It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl" starts things out with a drony Velvets-like melody and Zappi Diermeir's pounding proto-punk drumming. The insistant, unchanging title chant leads into sections featuring keyboards, harmonica and finally a goofy sax solo (perhaps a sardonic comment by the band about the album's "commerciality")."On The Way To Abamae" and "No Harm" show Faust's contasts- the former is a gentle acoustic meditation, the latter a harsh electronics-infused rocker. The shorter songs on side two show a lot of range also, from "So Far" (horn-propelled dance music from Saturn) to "Mamie Is Blue" (Throbbing Gristle industrial splooge eight years early) to "I've Got My Car And My T.V." (sarcastic social commentary developing into a blasting psychedelic jam) to "Me Lack Space" (Stockhausen-like tape manipulation). Oddest of all is the closer, "In The Spirit" which, other than the German-accented vocals and rocket-takeoff electronic noises, is basically a simple jazz swing tune. As if to accent the difference in approach between "So Far" and the first LP, this album came in an all-black sleeve with the band name and album title embossed on the cover. Unfortunately for Faust and Polydor records, "So Far" didn't sell much better than the first one (although both sold quite respectably for music this uncompromising). Still, it remains the easiest disc of their early albums for novices to get into and is highly recommended.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#32596)
Posted Thursday, September 02, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Faust's second album is probably the best possible entry point to Faust's incredibly bizarre sonic world, So Far being the most accessible for uninitiated outsiders. Among all of the Krautrock movement that include so very bizarre group (like Kraftwerk, K/Cluster, Can), Faust was probably tops in the

Starting on the lengthy and binary Rainy Day (one of their longuest-lasting song in their live repertoire), this very minimalist piece gets most people to wonder WTF, but further down once the sax comes in, the "song" takes a more normal turn since there is a semblance of a melody. A shorter acoustic guitar piece Abamäe makes a welcome interlude to another lengthy repetitive track, JH Peron's No Harm. While repetitive and minimalist, the song is much more interesting than Rainy Day, while the highlight of the album, the title track has the same repetitive quality, but here it becomes hypnotic with great horn sounds and some space whispers.

Mama is blue is weirder tracks were the music become more concrete and comes with unbelievable noises that came to make music. The following I Got My Car & TV is a stooped spoof track at first but turns out to be their most virtuosity-minded track. Two short spoof tracks like Picnic, Space and Spirit are just more insanity bordering some ragtime jazz (the piano mostly) crossed with swing jazz (trumpet ala Louis Armstrong).

Best used as an introduction of Faust, this album iwill be only a warning to Faust's weird world, but it will not prepare you for some of the shocks the other albums will give you. In the meantime, So Far remains the only Faust album I return to every second year or so.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#32597)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I don`t know if it`s fair to write a review about an album that I heard almost 20 years ago. But I`m writing this. In 1985 I was playing in a band which had 8 members (!), and the keyboard player, who is still playing in bands since then, lent me several albums of some bands/artists: Return to Forever, Vangelis, Banco, Peter Gabriel, Faust, The Dregs, and other albums that I don`t remember now.I liked some of those albums and I recorded them in cassettes, and I recorded some songs of the albums that I didn`t like very much in one cassette only. FAUST was one of the bands that I didn`t like very much. I still have the cassette where I recorded the only song which I liked from this "So Far" album: "On the Way to Abamäe", which is an instrumental piece with an acoustic guitar or classical guitar, in the style of Steve Howe or Steve Hackett, with an organ in the background. It is a sad song but it is very good. I remember that the rest of the music in this album is noisy, sometimes funny, with some funny lyrics, but not very interesting musically.Maybe the best memory that I have from this album is the cover design: it had the black cover which is included in this website, but it also had a booklet which included the lyrics and some good paintings that illustrated each song. I think that the record I heard was a re- issue of this album which was released by a British label called Recommended Records or something like that. "So Far" is only for the fans of FAUST and this kind of music called Krautrock.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#32598)
Posted Monday, December 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
2 stars A poor album by a magical musical tribe...sorry but here the alchimy dosen't work. Very far from the classic and powerful post-experimental pieces of Faust, BBC sessions and few others. It's a kind of concept album, with short pop, noisy and weird compositions. Too many vocals and structured songs here. There is however some nice uses of electronic and sound tape manipulations...but well if you don't want to waste your money and your time just pass the way and run on BBC sessions!!!

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#32599)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
egebamayasi@h
5 stars After the poor sales of Faust's rather caustic debut, producer Uwe Nettlebeck and Faust returned to their studio known as the Wumme to record "So Far" with the intent on recording a slightly more accessible offering. While this is far more accessible than their debut, this is hardily pop rock and roll. The album opens with the amazingly catchy and possibly Faust's most well known track "It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl," which can best be described as seven minutes of trance inducing bliss. "On The Way To Abamae" shows a more gentle, melodic side of Faust, while "No Harm," "I've Got My Car and My TV" and the title track rock on in a rather dadaistic manner. While Faust can be thought as quite disturbing, if you listen to the album closely you'll see that the band actually has quite a sense of humor. Faust's "So Far" is truly a masterpiece and is a far more significant artistic statement than most of the so called progressive dinosaurs could ever dream to produce.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#32601)
Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars More accessible than the famous "clear" debut, "Faust So Far" is probably the best place to start for those unexperienced but daring and brave warriors who are prepared to face the music! Do not expect anything conventional about FAUST and be prepared for everything! "It's a Rainy Day" is a good choice for exemplary download from here, so you can test your ears and nerves. This type of "music" is hard to rate, because it falls outside the conventional prog music and even music in general. It is definitely not an excellent addition to any prog collection, since a typical prog fan would probably go fine without it. But it is also not a merely collectors/fans only category, since I would really recommend to any devout progger to give it a listen: you don't loose anything, but you may gain a worthwhile insight into the most avant-garde of the Krautrock. The choice is yours! "Daddy take a banana, tomorrow is Sunday!"

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#37914)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yeah, I read the warning about the 5 star reviews, but this one deserves every star I can give it. By trimming down some of the white noise sprawl of their debut, Faust unknowingly created their masterpiece, on a par with Can's Tago Mago or Neu!'s first album. Be warned their are still some pretty abrasive (and alien) passages in here, this is Faust after all!

And what better way to get things going than with Faust's best ever song "It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl". It plays like a big, shiny cartoon version of the Velvet Underground: repetitive beyond belief with drums that will pound your head into mush, distorted acoustic guitar, nicely off-key vocals chanting the title of the song, and a guitar solo that's all feedback. As if that weren't enough we also get (why not?) a harmonica and sax solo just for good measure...

"On the Way to Abame" follows with soft acoustic guitar, one of the few "pretty" sounding tracks Faust made. A little medieval sounding perhaps. But we can tell things are about to turn ugly: some dark synth tones are lurking deep in the mix.

All hell breaks loose on "No Harm": after a brief intro reminiscent of Atom Heart Mother, a police siren comes in and splattery fuzz guitars start panning all over the place and we are launched headlong into a psychedelic jam, yet with a distinctly German groove. About 4 minutes in the band starts screaming "DADDY, TAKE THE BANANA! TOMORROW IS SUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!", and this continues for some 10 minutes. All this sounds like a mess on paper, but it's incredibly fun to hear. Quintessential Faust.

"So Far", another fun track with the band playing a lopsided R&B groove and ambient electronics in the background, which get louder and louder until they swallow up the song entirely. Some heavily processed drums are faded in, forming the base for "Mamie Is Blue". This track is really advanced for 1972, a dadaist proto-industrial groove that quite literally sounds like the inside of some futuristic robot factory! Pure genius, especially when you consider that this predated Nurse With Wound and Throbbing Gristle by 5 years or so.

"Iv'e Got My Car and My TV" sounds like a lullaby-for-children-you-hate, or maybe it's from some German-language Sesame Street ripoff. In all honesty it doesn't matter, it's a quick silly little song. The lyrics seem vaguely satirical. It's less than a minute before we head into the theme from "Picnic on a Frozen River" (although not labeled as such) with some jazzy sax and guitar solos. Faust would later re-record this for Faust IV.

The track that is labeled as "Picnic on a Frozen River" is a 40 second blip of musique concrete. It sounds like they were trying to compose a song with short clips of found sound. It ends as quickly as it started and we hear...

...another 40 second blast of musique concrete. "Me lack space in the spirit..." the voice creaks, sounding like what a rusty water spigot might sound like if it could sing, and all manner of crazy noises are going on in the background. The album concludes with, of all things, a music-hall ditty. More dadaist lyrics bring everything all back home with a woozy brass section to boot. Proof positive that even Faust's supposedly "normal" albums are still weirder and funnier than anything a normal rock band could serve up!

All in all, one fiendish rollercoaster ride of an album, not as abrasive as their debut, but just as entertainting to those with an open mind. If their is any album to start your Faust collection with, it's this one.

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Send comments to TheGreatGlorph (BETA) | Report this review (#130926)
Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It seems like the band made a conscious attempt to record an album that would be more accessible and easier on the ears than their first record was.This still has it's experimental with silly moments, but they've shortened the songs, and replaced the trumpet with sax. Syd Barrett would be a good reference point to some of these songs, although this has more in common with Krautrock than Psychedelic.

"It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl" has this simple, relentless beat that is joined by piano, then vocals, and finally by guitar. I like this song, it's addictive. "On The Way To Abamae" opens with some dark organ before some nice acoustic guitar and flute take over. Good tune. "No Harm" is the longest track at over 10 minutes. It opens with drums, sax and organ. The sound changes 2 minutes in as guitar, drums and sax create a nice sound. Another change 3 minutes in as the emphasis is on the drums and percussion. Vocals 4 minutes in with some great guitar and bass to follow as it gets a little crazy "So Far" opens with dissonant sounds before a good rhythm comes in with some spacey synths and sounds in the background. Good beat to this one as well.

"Mamie Is Blue" is kind of odd with the machine-like pulse. What is that ? I don't know but it sounds amazing ! Vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. "I've Got My Car And My TV" is a Barrett-like psychedelic tune with the silly lyrics and sounds, there is children singing as well. It's surprisingly catchy late. "Picnic On A Frozen River" is a catchy little number with sax, drums and keys, with the guitar coming in late. Good song. "Me Lack Space..." is experimental with sax and dark piano sounds with no real melody. I like it. "...In The Spirit" is a silly closing track with someone speaking strangely to open with freaky sounds all around. You can hear someone trying to find a radio station. It ends with bass, sax and yelling.

These guys still had lots of great ideas at this point and they aren't repeating themselves at all.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#141909)
Posted Thursday, October 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "So Far" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German Kraut/psychadelic/avant garde rock act Faust. The album was released through Polydor Records in 1972. Faust self-titled 1971 debut album is a wildly experimental avant garde rock album featuring electronic experiments and sound collages mixed with psychadelic rock sections. "So Far" is ultimately a very different sounding release.

"So Far" is a much more structured album and the trademark repetitive krautrock beats are much more a part of the sound on this album than they were on the crazy debut. Compared to the difficult listening experience of the debut, "So Far" is generally much more accessible. This time around it´s audible that the band employ ordinary rock instrumentation like guitars, bass, drums, keyboards/synth/organ and saxophone. The vocals are mostly chanting the same lines over and over again as if they are more an instrument than actual vocals but there are more ordinary vocal parts on the album too. The album is greatly varied and in addition to repetitive krautrock sounding tracks like "It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl", "So Far" and "No Harm" (which features an almost mellow symphonic prog intro), we´re also treated to a classical inspired acoustic guitar piece in "On The Way To Abamäe", the cold almost industrial sounding "Mamie Is Blue" as well as the last four tracks on the album "I've Got My Car And My TV", "Picnic On A Frozen River", "Me Lack Space..." and "...In The Spirit" which to my ears sound heavily influenced by the avant garde/experimental rock of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention.

The musicianship are on a high level and "So Far" features a very well sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. So the album is a quality release in every way possible. "So Far" is generally a more easily accessible way to enter the world of Faust than the group´s much more challenging debut album, so if you´re new to the band, this would be a great place to start your Faust journey. This shouldn´t be misunderstood though, and compared to mainstream music "So Far" is still a very challenging release full of experimental ideas and innovative playing. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#229888)
Posted Tuesday, August 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After their accomplished expression of extravagance delivered on their debut album, the Faust combo created yet another manifestation of kraut weirdness on their sophomore release "So Far". This musical work continues on that combination of bizarre joy and rebellious humor that defines the craft of this peculiar ensemble. In this album, we have a larger number of shorter pieces, and you can also notice some nods to the mainstream roads of rock, but by no means does this mean that Faust gave up on their artistic goals of experimentation and surrealism ? mostly, what takes place in this album is a stronger focus on the elaboration of specific moods for each individual track. All in all, the group's sound bears a more robust feel, which may be perfectly due to the fact that the guitar inputs are more worked on and, subsequently, enhanced in the mix. The band's style, as a whole, has a more kaleidoscopic variety, in this way providing an unequivocal impulse to the band's eclectic disposition. 'It's a rainy day, sunshine girl' opens up the album with a joyfully poppish vibe, comfortably relying on a mechanic tribal drum pattern that serves as a sort of homage to the immediate catchiness of your regular pop song. The ostensibly silly lyrics seem to reinforce this aura, which in my mind works as a resource of parody against the pedestrian simplicity of pop music. 'On the way to Amabae' shifts to a very different area: this 2 ¾ minute long nocturne on dual acoustic guitars brings a moment of serious, ceremonious solace ? this is a lyrical facet of the band that doe not usually show. But well, things don't take too long to "go back to normal", and this is exactly what happens in 'No Harm'. This piece starts with a Gothic-like motif that states a somewhat dense motif heavily relying on the mixture of organ layers and guitar progressions. Once we get to the 3 minute mark, the track shifts to a frantic exhibition of R 'n' B-infected rock and roll with heavy-like undertones and happy psychedelia. And you really can't lose with the sort of poetry that proclaims "Daddy! Take the banana! Tomorrow is Sunday!" over and over again ? this is the sort of progressive craziness that works no one knows how. So far, this is the album's first half, and the second half starts justly with the eponymous track ? 'So far'. This piece is quite vibrant, joyful, based on a monotonous use of a jazz-rock motif punctuated by sparse horn chords and featuring a solid endeavor by the rhythm duo. The tricky presence of spacey ornaments gives it a moderately weird twist. 'Mamie is blue', despite the pop- related suspicions instilled in its title, happens to be the one with biggest leanings toward the scary side of psychedelic rock: with its menacing industrial overtones and oppressive utilization of sound effects to recycle synth and guitar effects, it provides a contrast of darkness against the easy-going vibe of the preceding number. 'I've got my car and my T.V.' retakes the happy mood of previous tracks and takes it to its most refined expression in the album: with two distinct motifs that alternate comedic ambiences and jazzy jamming, this piece is quite effective in its attempt to generate colorful, classy frivolity. With the sequence of the last three tracks we are back into Faust crazy territory: 'Picnic on a frozen river' is an exercise on minimalistic chamber, 'Me lack space?' is a snippet of radio interference and '? In the spirit' is a fake cabaret piece augmented with psychedelic effects. This is how this album ends, completing yet another picture of the definitive sonic spectrum that Faust made its own.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#238424)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars An attempt at a more conventional album, So Far shows Faust trying to create more digestable 'songs' out of the sprawling noise that made up its debut. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt and the album ends up being rather uneven.

The new approach is most justified on the opener 'Its a Rainy Day...' which begins with a quick tempo, hypnotic drum beat and slowly adds piano, guitar, organ, harmonica and finally calminates with a lovely sax cresendo. The album continues with the simple classical guitar piece "Abamea' and then lurches into 'No Harm' which is an excellent jam blending the best of both new and old Faust. The title track is a nice, mellow groove great for cruising down the highway and is followed rather naturally by the hard, industrial sound of 'Mamie Is Blue'. The rest of the album however is comprised of mediocre snipets snoozable at best, skippable at worst.

Overall, So Far lacks the unity of its powerful debut and thus it is rated lower in my book. Ill admit though, if your a beginner who prefers to dip their toe in Faust's alluring waters rather than jump right in, this is the place to start.

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Send comments to cohen34 (BETA) | Report this review (#249053)
Posted Sunday, November 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars There is one thing I have to get out of the way here. This album is only a diminutive bit proggy. Happy? OK, let's move on.

"Faust So Far" is a very easy album to review because there are tracks that are either really good or really bad, except for the opener. The opener is an oddball, repetitive number, but it has a cool, occasionally syncopated, guitar part with an awesome ringing tone that goes on forever. The second track, 'On the Way to Abamae', is definitely a favorite of mine, a nice guitar-and-organ soundtrack suitable for pastoral landscapes and a couple of kittens awkwardly trying to walk. After that we have a ten-minute proggy noise collage that I think lots of rock listeners will be able to relate to. An organ, a trumpet, a rock-n'-roll-n'-fall freakout (that will potentially exorcise the demon of boredom out of you), it's all there.

Now you've come a long way to find a strange number, the title track. It has always puzzled me every time I heard it or even read its name. Should I give it a second star just for the intro and outro? I don't think I really should do that because most of the track, that is less than five minutes of it, is nothing but a plain waste of time, a monotonous and cold texture. In other words, it has nothing to do with emotions or entertainment. Next patient.

Uh, this is one of my favorite patients. 'Mamie is Blue' is also monotonous, but this is where repetition really pays off. It is mean and it is unpredictable. As someone once said, "cuddle that porcupine". Also, don't miss out on the extraordinary sonic butcher (in a good sense) called 'Me Lack Space ?'. It happens to be my most favorite track of all on the record, so hear it at least once in your life if you haven't yet. Listen to and learn from those crazy Germans.

'I've Got My Car and My TV' is yet another weird moment that has nothing to do with entertainment (unless you care so much about the guitar solo) or emotions, even if it has a humorous (in a mediocre way) intro. The track that comes after that also has no value. The album's closer is quite a waste of time too. You won't be missing much. What they are doing on the album is beyond me. It's like as if the band decided to fill up the time of the record to please the label, "Virgin", under which they were working at the time.

Ratings/comments (if you have to ask):

1. 'It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl' - *** ; 2. 'On the Way to Abamae' - **** ; 3. 'No Harm' - **** ; 4. 'So Far' - * ; 5. 'Mamie is Blue' - **** ; 6. 'I've Got My Car and My TV' - ** ; 7. 'Picnic on a Frozen River' - * ; 8. 'Me Lack Space ?' - ***** ; 9. '? in the Spirit' - ** ;

Stamp: "I like it."

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Send comments to Dayvenkirq (BETA) | Report this review (#613891)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The second album by Germany's answer to the Mothers of Invention is the most accessible of their early (and best) efforts, and yet still wildly creative in a typically dissident Krautrock way. But it's an odd choice of title for a band with only one previous album to their credit, unless the intended message was, "So Far, we've really screwed Polydor Records, ha ha!"

Here the group made a genuine effort to manage the sometimes slapdash anarchy of their 1971 debut, but without compromising any of that album's tongue-in-cheek, anti-establishment attitude. The packaging of the original LP even reversed the cover concept of the first album in a way that reflected the music within: in this case a model of opaque artistry instead of the earlier all-transparent weirdness. (Included with the original vinyl was a lavish portfolio of artwork illustrating each song, happily intact in my own music library.)

Their collective nose-thumbing was more discreet, better crafted, and is still amusing to listeners in on the joke. That trademark dry German wit underpins the willful simplicity of the album opener, "It's a Rainy Day (Sunshine Girl)", a prototypical pop song reduced to its most basic elements: a steady beat (to say the least) and a silly lyric. Both are repeated in a robotic monotone for over seven minutes, eventually reaching a climactic mock saxophone solo that never fails to make me smile.

Even more radical (for this group) was the tasteful acoustic guitar melody of "On the Way to Abamäe". Faust was often many things, but rarely so pretty. Compare that brief interlude to the driving rock 'n' roll posturing of "No Harm", with its shouted nonsensical mantra ("Daddy, take the banana...tomorrow is Sunday!"), or to the more unsettling "Mamie is Blue", sounding like the earth-shaking footfalls of some great Teutonic behemoth lumbering across the Lower Saxony countryside.

The title track meanwhile works like a Faust playbook, opening on a drunken stumble of overlapping acoustic guitars before settling into one of the most hypnotic Krautrock grooves this side of CAN, played in a flat-footed but swinging count of seven. And the consumer parody "I've Got My Car and My TV" is the band at its iconoclastic best, complete with rinky-dink melodies, children singing (and coughing), and arguably the catchiest instrumental break ever recorded. It might have been a satirical take on the post-war Wirtschaftswunder, and was apparently good enough to merit a revisit, on the "Faust IV" album in 1974.

The balance of the disc is pure ZAPPA, ending in a Dada cabaret deconstruction blended from equal measures of pure craft and tacky pastiche.

I'm not the only ProgArchive reviewer to recognize "So Far" as the ideal port of entry for newcomers to the off-kilter universe of Faust. But I'll go a step further and award the album an unreserved five stars, for quality and longevity, and for marking an essential pit stop along the winding Krautrock autobahn.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#871948)
Posted Tuesday, December 04, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Faust's second album finds the band casting about for something to do after their bizarre debut and not finding much beyond weird for weird's sake. They'd eventually succeed in adapting to shorter songs and creating a sound which is accessible enough for newcomers whilst still retaining their own bizarre attributes on Faust IV; here, we find them fumbling in the general direction of that album but not quite making it. The thing about being a highly experimental rock band is that sometimes experiments, no matter how well-conceived, fail to actually work - and that's the case here a little too often for me to recommend the album to anyone other than collectors.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#986821)
Posted Thursday, June 27, 2013 | Review Permalink

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