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Faust The Faust Tapes album cover
3.78 | 164 ratings | 16 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Exercise - With Several Hands On A Piano (0:52)
2. Exercise - With Voices, Drum And Sax (0:21)
3. Flashback Caruso (4:01)
4. Exercise - With Voices (1:48)
5. J'ai Mal Aux Dents (7:14)
6. Untitled (1:03)
7. Untitled - Arnulf And Zappi On Drums (1:42)
8. Dr. Schwitters - Intro (0:25)
9. Exercise (Continues Track 1) (1:11)
10. Untitled (1:18)
11. Untitled (0:50)
12. Dr. Schwitters (Snippet) (0:49)
13. Untitled - Arnulf On Drums (1:03)
14. Untitled - Arnulf On Drums (0:47)
15. Untitled - All On Saxes (4:33)
16. Untitled (2:18)
17. Untitled - Rudolf (0:34)
18. Untitled - Rudolf (0:51)
19. Untitled - Rudolf (1:15)
20. Untitled (2:28)
21. Untitled (0:20)
22. Untitled (1:13)
23. Untitled (0:59)
24. Stretch Out Time (1:35)
25. Der Baum (3:49)
26. Chère Chambre (3:07)

Total time 46:26

Line-up / Musicians

- Rudolf Sosna / guitar, keyboards, vocals (3,24)
- Joachim Irmler / organ
- Gunter Wüsthoff / synthesizer, saxophone
- Jean-Hervé Peron / bass, vocals (5,25,26)
- Werner Diermeier / drums
- Arnulf Meifert / drums (not confirmed)

- Uwe Nettelbeck / vocals (4)

Releases information

Cut-and-paste album, from segments of songs not originally intended for release

Artwork: Uwe Nettelbeck

LP Virgin ‎- VC 501 (1973, UK)
LP ReR Megacorp ‎- ReR VF2 (2010, UK)

CD ReR Megacorp ‎- ReR F2CD (1995, UK) New cover art
CD ReR Megacorp ‎- ReR F2 (2000, UK) Remastered by Matt Murman, new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FAUST The Faust Tapes ratings distribution

(164 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

FAUST The Faust Tapes reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars I believe (but can't be sure) that there are a few different versions, and the one I have is the Cuneiform-ReR version (more on this later), and this album received a UK-only on the Virgin label release at the time. The album, as the title indicates was made of tapes lying around and assembled into one big 43-min track (how that was possible without having an audible cut somewhere, is beyond me) and apparently moved quite well in UK, since it was sold at the price of a single, but often returned after one play as "crap". The back cover assures us that the almost 44-mins are cut in the 26 (unnamed) tracks (digitally indexed), and a buddy having the original Cd ReR-version tells me it is the case. So obviously Cuneiform's version is not respecting it. But this detail should not let us forget the most important, the strange and weird music on Tapes. The artwork appears different on this issue as well.

While the first Faust albums were definitive Krautrock statemernts, their collab (Dream Syndicate) with a minimalist obviously perverted their spirit and Tapes is the real result: one of the very first RIO album (avant-la-lettre, though) that boggles the mind, but can also disturb unaware/unwarned listeners (which is exactly what I was last time I rented this album from the library. This often-phantasmagoric soundscape is one of its decade's most influential albums, obviously heard by the Henry Cows and others. Rather hard to describe, the music often is just "bruitages" and montages of almost-industrial noises, but has some rather more accessible (almost easy) moments and some downright strange/disturbing "tunes", rendering the whole mix quite unnerving. Quite a strange but sometimes-wonderful trip, but by the time you get to the French-sung finale (by bassist Jean-Hervé Peron), you'll be glad the album is over. And unless having masochist tendencies, you shall not press replay right away.

After this very strange record, Faust would go on to release their fourth album, which turned to be their last of the decade, even though the group has been sporadically active for the last three decades (and at the time of this review, I believe they are). It is hard to rate this essential album correctly, because of the fact that it is historically important, absolutely highly influential (one of the four Virgin label albums that history shall remember, along with Oldfield's Tubular Bells Gong's you and the Sex Pistols' sole album), but yet slightly over-rated because of its iconic status.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars A marketing disaster

This is the first, and I would think last, time I have given no stars to an album. (edit: the zero stars option has since been withdrawn, hence the one star rating).

"The Faust tapes" became something of a joke in the UK, as it sold so well, yet was almost universally derided. The reason the album sold so well was that it was one of the first ever albums by a contemporary artist, to be sold at a very cheap price in order to generate interest in the band. At the time of its release, the record companies fixed album prices, with discounting by retailers being virtually non-existent. The fact that this album of new material by a progressive band was originally available for less than a quarter of the normal retail price of an album meant that an extraordinary amount of interest was generated, and the album sold in vast quantities (in the UK at least).

Unfortunately, those who bought it found that it did not contain what could realistically be described as music. It is made up entirely of studio ramblings, and chat. There are no tracks as such, and no attempt appears to have been made to "compose" anything. Even for those who enjoy the most abstract and freeform of music, the contents of this album must be extremely challenging.

The damage done to the name and marketability of Faust in the UK must have been enormous. "Faust IV" was subsequently advertised as "very commercial" in an attempt to redress the balance, but "The Faust Tapes" must rank in music history as one of the worst own goals ever.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The Faust Tapes" is even more difficult to rate because it was and still is for me one of the hardest listening experiences. Probably THE hardest. The original vinyl record sleeve was a ordinary plastic bag depicting a saturated green photo of an ugly idiot-looking male face shouting (or yawning) with red eyes, perfectly matching the craziness of the sound contained therein. This is basically a pastiche of sounds and electronic noise, with one exceptional moment - "Flashback Caruso", which is quite listenable. The rest is a pure headache. As mad as it may sound, this album of nonsense has a sort of appeal and attraction, but you must be a bit deranged (like myself, ha, ha) to like it. Minimum 10 years of prog listening experience is required! Approach with extreme caution! Although I give only 3 stars, it is basically a category of its own and very much - unrateable (if this is a correct English).
Review by 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).
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The Faust Tapes" is the 3rd full-length studio album by German krautrock act Faust. The album was released in 1973 through Virgin Records. The album is quite the oddity as it was originally sold for the price of a single to increase the UK audiences interest in Faust. A very unconventional marketing decision to say the least, but considering the even more odd decision by Virgin Records to sign an act as experimental and far from mainstream as Faust, it maybe isn´t as surprising. The late 60s/early 70s were times of heavy experimentation by both artists and labels, and this is definitely one of those.

"The Faust Tapes" features 26 tracks which seque into each other to form a sort of sound collage. The kind of sound experiment that I often dismiss as art for art´s sake but there´s just something special about Faust that makes even their most odd experiments stand out among projects by similar acts. There are only a couple of the tracks on "The Faust Tapes" that I would catagorize as "real" tracks. Tracks like "Flashback Caruso", "J´ai Mal Aux Dents", and "Der Baum" are examples of that. Most of the tracks on the album are odd and generally very short sound experiments though. Strange tape manipulations and effects, short pop/rock song like sequences and several weird experiments titled "Exercises". You can probably imagine how they sound like with songtitles like: "Exercise - With Several Hands on Piano" and "Exercise - With Voices, Drum and Sax". Most tracks sound a bit unfinished to my ears and while many of the ideas in thecompositions are interesting the tracks often lack structure and direction. The usual references to Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention are as evident on "The Faust Tapes" as they were on "Faust (1971)" and "So Far (1972)"...

...the final product is unfortunately not as strong as the first two albums by the band and even though I don´t know this for a fact I suspect that the material on "The Faust Tapes" are actually leftovers from the "So Far" sessions rather than new studio recordings by the band. To my ears "The Faust Tapes" sounds more like an odd experiment than anything else and while those who are familiar with the first two albums by the band would expect nothing but that, the quality of the material just isn´t as high on "The Faust Tapes" as the case were on the two predecessors. A 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating is warranted.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 7/10

"The Faust Tapes" is a sincerely Avant-Garde that ought to be more respected.

Cult German band Faust's third album was something completely unexpected: although the first LP explored new realms no other dared to, the second album was much more accessible, even if it still was pretty strange, and had tons more personality. 'The Faust Tapes' cost 49 pence, and it managed to sell very well thanks to this clever technique. Otherwise, due to the extremely experimental and alien nature of the music, it wouldn't have been no way nearly as successful.

After 'So Far', it seemed like the band found a style to stick to, which was very different from the minimalistic debut. But then 'The Faust Tapes' comes along. Twenty six tracks, only a few of them longer than two minutes. Avant-garde as it had never been done before, where manifested, there are a huge array of styles, like Folk Rock, Proto-Ambient, Tape music, Folktronica, Noise Rock a-la-Velvet Underground (or pure Noise), Drone, Electronic little experiments, or almost undescribable Avant-Garde. They experiment with new sounds, using either traditional Rock instruments, like the guitar, or using more unusual ones like the wide range of percussion, which includes also different types of bells. They also love to play with studio effects, an activity that at the time had been trendy among experimental bands for a while.

These songs, because of their length, feel and are truly short, but it is an album to be considered as a whole: these twenty six tracks simply create a musical collage of a strange, yet curious picture. Twenty six tracks that each have something different to say, a collection of musical parenthesis all smashed into more than forty minutes. It is also an album that, because of it's controversial nature, has influenced many bands and albums that came out later on.

Among the tracks, there are a few that have a relatively normal length and can be considered normal songs, that find themselves hidden in between the shorter episodes: 'Flashback Caruso' is a sincere psychedelic tribute mixed with the melancholic musical wanderings of Krautrock. J'ai Mal Aux Dents' is much more noisy and dissonant, a proto- Noise Rock piece for sure. 'Der Baum' is somewhat catchy, in it's pure innocence, even though highly repetitive, and has a very unique rhythms section. As far as the rest of the songs are concerned, their story has been told.

'The Faust Tapes' is a sincerely Avant-Garde piece of music that ought to be respected more, not only for it's bravery but also for being an authentic pioneer for genres like Drone music, Ambient, and many others, without losing the genuine Krautrock feel.

Review by LearsFool
5 stars Suckerpunch: The Album. Throbbing Gristle circa 1979, take notes. First, you follow the discount model of record marketing in the '70s, and so price your new LP like a single. Next, have that LP be put together by some random bloke at Virgin with a penchant for surprises from a collection of all those old tapes of your music you have lying around. Now watch with glee as at least 50,000 members of the British music listening public become confused and disgusted by your and your Anglo label's Frankensteinian meisterwerk.

This concrete Adonis is built on hairpin turns through already strange, experimental, diverse, and unique musics and sounds and even some peppered in studio talks for that "In My Time of Dying" feel two years early. I can hear free jazz, noise, and proto- industrial alongside the snippets of more familiar krautrock kraziness. A happy surprise comes in the form of some pieces being long, providing some wonderful extended jams that are also respites from the insanity. This is more than just a representation of track skipping/channel hopping in intentional musical form, this is "Breathless" in album form. This defies category; it isn't even really concrete as we'd generally identify it; just mumble 'avant garde' and run. Excellent music in a groin smashing format. For the progheads who like surprises. I need to lie down.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
3 stars As a follow up with their album of So Far, Faust decided to do a different type of experiment, which was instead of making a complex and weird krautrock album (which this album definitely is one, but I digress) they instead create an album that'd sell at the same price as a single. While I do not know how much a single would cost in 1973, it clearly was some sort of hit, at least in the UK, selling over 60,000 copies. Whether that number was due to the UK having a bunch of Faust fans, which I doubt, or the sales pitch of the album being the same price as a single was enough to get people to buy it, it became one of Faust's best selling albums and solidified them in the Krautrock spectrum more than they ever were.

The reason for the small price was due to the band's producer, Nettelback, signing the band to Virgin Records, and with a deal that the record company can acquire the group's tapes they worked on when making So Far, in exchange for making an album at a very low price. Virgin agreed to this, which prompted the band to gain a lot more traction than they ever got before. The traction was so great that the album would land a 12 on the charts, but was redacted due to the price, which in today's world with albums being at pretty much any price, it'd probably stay on the charts.

The sales pitch and the title doesn't lie however, because what you get here are just a bunch of tapes the band recorded, featuring both a mix of sound collage, Avant Garde, minimalism, and the whole shi-bang of music the band messed around with. What I dig about this record is that no song here sounds the same. You get a bunch of different musical stylings and jams that all create this expansive sound that the band played around with from time to time. I like the fact that many of the songs here create this uncomfortable atmosphere, more so than what their first and second albums provided. It allows them to stretch their arms and grasp the expansive genre of Krautrock in new and exciting ways that makes things fresh and new each listen. I like this a lot in music since it just allows for more eclecticism, and this album really does sell in its novelty.

I also really like how fun this album can get, with how random the songs are, you cannot predict what will come next, and how long they can last. Sometimes you might get something like Flashback Caruso, but then you might get something like Donnerwetter, and it doesn't matter if you want something actually rocking, or ambient, or just an album filled with sound collages, this is an album filled with nothing but tapes, pure experiments the band just wanted to try out for fun, and that is what this album is at the end of the day, dumb fun. An album that is nothing but fun is something I can get behind, even if it has a weird Faust charm to it.

However, in the same retrospect, I really do not like a lot of these songs due to how little they have in substance. Since I am listening to the versions on Spotify, and not a vinyl version (which these days costs way more than what it used to sell for), I do not get the glory of simply calling both sides two separate songs, instead I have to listen to 26 songs, each with their more varied lengths, and whether or not they have any real amount of power they fill me. The longer songs, the ones that are not just a few seconds long, are the highlights for me. They feature a lot more than what some of the 20 second stuff gives, sadly though they do not appear as much as I'd hoped.

Songs come and go like lightning rounds in a pistol, and with it means that none of the shorter songs will last for me, aside from maybe Dr. Schwitters (Continued) having this very nice melody carrying the song. I think Faust works best when they aren't making incredibly short songs that do not last, and instead focus more on their craftsmanship of more pronounced songs. That is the reason why I did not like Mamie Is Blue, Picnic On A Frozen River, and Me Lack Space on So Far due to just how short and unimpactful they made me feel in comparison with many other songs on that album. This is the same deal, and sadly due to there being way more of those ones here, it feels less like a true improvement and more of just the same from So Far with a lot more shorter stuff than the better and more improved stuff the band would create later on, which the more I think about it, really does make sense since these tapes were made during the So Far sessions.

Despite the fact that this may not be the band's best record, I can say for certainty that this was an important record in the band's career, and one that is important for me as well. Personally I probably would not be reviewing these Faust albums if it weren't for my intrigue of this album. While I do not love it, I cannot deny its impact on me, and on a lot of folks in the 70s. Something interesting, but one that shouldn't be overlooked.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Not actually recorded as an album as such, The Faust Tapes is a compilation drawn from hundreds of hours of tapes laid down at the band's Wumme studios, the same tapes also being the source of their first two albums "Faust" & "So Far" for their former label Polydor gmbH, who, for reasons best ... (read more)

Report this review (#413983) | Posted by Starless | Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After reading many of the reviews given for this album on Prog Archives, I was initially quite surprised how much The Faust Tapes has polarised opinion. It goes from one extreme - 5 star review by Kaztor, to virtually a no star review from Easy Livin. In hindsight, it shouldn't be that surprisin ... (read more)

Report this review (#160836) | Posted by UnearthlyChild | Tuesday, February 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is without a doubt one of the strangest releases ever and also one of the most unconventional. Given to the band by a studio engineer -who collected and glued several song fragments together- as a friendly, personal gift, the band liked it so much they wanted it to be released. The new re ... (read more)

Report this review (#101700) | Posted by Kaztor | Tuesday, December 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Bought it for 45p in 1973 on my cousin's advice. I thought when i first heard it,what the hell have i got here! But 2 or 3 listens later i found that i actually loved it to bits! It was completely different to anything i had ever heard before. Go & buy it! It really is a masterpiece! ... (read more)

Report this review (#67155) | Posted by daz2112 | Saturday, January 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I recall reading in NME when this first came out that this band were similar to Deep Purple or the new Deep Purple. I thought I couldn't go wrong, an album for the price of a single), so I went out and bought it. What a mistake! I flogged my copy to a friend of a friend for 10p. I later heard ... (read more)

Report this review (#40704) | Posted by | Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Given out at cost (99p) when released, it was intended to bring in the Virgin Records fans and give them a taste of Teutonic madness. Absolutely the defining moment in Faust's career. Brain damaging, drug addled, and absolutely brilliant. If you only want one Faust release, this is it! Try to ... (read more)

Report this review (#37937) | Posted by prophet10 | Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A masterpiece in my book. Universally hated by most, or at least seen as some kind of joke. To me it doesn't matter whether it was intended to be taken seriously by Faust or if it was an interesting aside to their more usual work. I love it and I still get as much enjoyment from it today as I ... (read more)

Report this review (#32607) | Posted by | Monday, March 7, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars We must face a fact about "The Faust Tapes": it is one of the most polarizing recordings of all time. You'll love it or you'll hate it. Personally, this is one of my favorite albums of my 2000+ collection, and I've played it constantly since I discovered it when I was a mere lad of 15. A sound ... (read more)

Report this review (#32603) | Posted by | Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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