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FAUST / SO FAR

Faust

Krautrock


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Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
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.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#39224)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Considering that both of these albums are otherwise available as more expensive imports it's great to have the opportunity to buy this 2-fer. Not only is it convenient, but it boosts a cool sound and is nicely packaged with complete lyrics and extensive liner notes about the albums. Sadly, the song-related paintings of So Far aren't included, but these you can find on various Faust websites so you can print them. It's cool to hear these albums back-to-back because both show different sides to the band, making for one completely satisfying release.

The debut's legendary because there was nothing quite like it when it was released. It was inspired by Frank Zappa's 'musique concrete', using tapes with everyday sounds and creating collages with them, but it was much louder and harsher. It starts off with Why Don't You Eat Carrots, a barnstormer of an opener that immediately tests your patience. Shreds of The Stones and The Beatles are followed by mad, evil-sounding piano chords, followed by an even more deranged fanfare. It all ends with a male/female conversation, spliced by loud, spacey bleeps. Meadow Meal consists of three parts, starting with various percussive effects, an intense jam bookended by call- and-response vocals and ending with some tender classical-sounding piano. Then comes the mighty freak-out Miss Fortune (gettit?) that grabs The Velvet Underground's avant garde tendencies and turns it upside down. If I say the band recorded this (and most likely much of their output) under the influence of marijuana you might know what to expect. It's a breathtaking experience, to say the least! The album itself was originally released as a clear vinyl in a clear sleeve and clear inner sleeve, adorned with an X-ray of a fist and a couple of random newspaper stories. Unique indeed!

So Far's a shred more song-oriented, but no less intense. It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl starts things with a simple, insistent Moe-Tucker-like beat with the band chanting 'It's a rainy day, sunshine baby, it's a rainy day, sunshine girl' over it. It's pretty basic but some subtle additions are added to make the 7 minutes worthwile. A truly gorgeous little instrumental follows, showing that Faust isn't all about shocks and controverse. Things get truly weird from then on and No Harm (yeah, right) shows this in spades, with a long, intense, crazy jam following a foreboding, eerie take on Wagner and classical prog. Lots of chanting it has too: 'Daddy, take a banana. Tomorrow it's sunday!' A groovy, hypnotic title track follows with some awesome atmospheric sounds. Listen closely to the funky beat in 4/4 in relation to the other instruments! It segues into Mamie Is Blue, a scary electronic freak-out with all kinds of machinal buzzes and hums. It is followed by a goofy little song with an awesome hook at the start and a short, fast, enjoyable jam that sounds Zappa-like. Some inventive use of voice manipulation brings us to the end, In The Spirit, which sounds like a close, weird cousin to Zappa's America Drinks & Goes Home. So Far originally arrived in a black sleeve with paintings inside which corresponded to each of the tracks. These perfectly capture the dark mood of the music.

This 2-fer is a killer way to get hold of those classic albums!

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Send comments to Kaztor (BETA) | Report this review (#101693)
Posted Tuesday, December 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
thellama73
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars This collection is absolutely essential for anyone interested in progressive music. Faust were some of the most daring Krautrock pioneers, and nowhere is that better displayed than on their debut, which consists of three long chunks of sound collage that will take your breath away.

Swirling feedback fuzz opens the album, followed by a sample of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, as if to say "This is what you're not going to hear." The next thirty minutes would be difficult to describe in detail, so let me just say that it's a combination of Rock, Jazz, Classical and Musique Concrete at its best.

The second album, So Far, is much tamer and not as good, in my opinion, but there is still plenty to love about it. "It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl" is a masterpiece of rather minimalist pop, gradually adding elements to a simple beat and melody until the dramatic saxophone climax. There are also so inspired jams and a whirlwind of stylistic shifts, that will keep you on your toes the entire time. If you're going to buy only one Krautrock CD, this should probably be it.

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Send comments to thellama73 (BETA) | Report this review (#120807)
Posted Saturday, May 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The 2 first Faust albums on one cd, if you have never heard faust before thers two things you can do depending on waht type of person you are or your tast in music if you like realy chalanging stuff then this is the album by faus to start with, if your into a bit easier stuff then i recomend you to start with Faust IV that was my first faus album and it was a very good start. The msuic on this disc or rather the first half of it the deburte album is no doubt the hardest stuff very avantgarde but there are moments of melody that makes it whort the trip. The music culd be described as alot of noises from all types of diffrent things that normaly is not used as music instruments. This is simply essential krautrock that you must own if your intrested in the genre altough i recomend you to start with IV this is realy groundbreaking and shuld not be missed if i where to give the indivual album a score i whuld give the debute 5 stars and so far 4 but toghter like this on one disc there is no other score then a solid 5 star. A must have krautrock cd that you might love or hate but give it a try and hopefully you will understand. Yust dont throw it away after the first lisen let it sink in as with all good music it takes time.

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Send comments to Zargus (BETA) | Report this review (#160400)
Posted Friday, February 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Faust/So Far" is a compilation album by German Kraut/avant garde/psychadelic rock act Faust. The compilation features the first two albums by the band on one CD. The debut full-length studio album "Faust (1971)" and the second full-length studio album "So Far (1972)". The compilation was released on CD in 2000 through Collectors Choice.

The material from both albums are high quality Kraut/avant garde/psychadelic rock. Innovative, adventurous and unique. The debut album "Faust (1971)" is a very experimental avant garde rock album with lots of electronic sound manipulations and other weird experiments. A bizarre sound collage. "So Far (1972)" sees the band venturing into a more accessible direction with more structured songs featuring more ordinary rock instrumentation. The latter album is still a highly experimental album though and shouldn´t in any way be mentioned in the same breath as the word mainstream.

This compilation is a very recommendable purchase and a great way to get access to two excellent albums on one CD by an outstanding and very influential act. A 4 star (80%) rating is more than deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#229891)
Posted Tuesday, August 04, 2009 | Review Permalink

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