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Faust - Faust CD (album) cover





3.88 | 234 ratings

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3 stars Faust's self-titled debut is experimental, avant-garde, and wacky for the sake of wackiness. The musicians are competent, the singers are passable, the performances are adequate, and the sound quality is decent. But I'm not sure any of that matters. Faust is not comprised of songs in any traditional sense; the two tracks on Side One, for instance, are sound collages. The point - - and I do believe there is a point here - - seems to be the postproduction, not the performances.

The first side is comprised of two studio tracks. The first, 'Why Don't You Eat Carrots,' is the more musical, with a middle section built around a brass vamp. On the other hand, the final two minutes is almost like a medley of weirdness. Then there's the even more experimental 'Meadow Meal.' The stream-of-consciousness vocal section which ends right before the song's halfway mark could be an irreverent stab at a Zappa tune. Like 'Why Don't You Eat Carrots,' 'Meadow Meal' is evidently assembled from divergent recordings, some (probably) sonically manipulated beyond recognition. But unlike its predecessor, the most musical section of 'Meadow Meal' comes at the end. It's an atmospheric passage played on a heavily treated organ - - sounding quite a bit like Klaus Schulze's first two albums (both of which were released after Faust).

Side Two is taken by a live track, 'Miss Fortune.' It stars off like something from Ummagumma, but quickly heads for left field before settling into a trance-y - - but still Ummagumman - - groove for a few minutes before launching into a brief Krautrock freakout. And that's just the first five minutes! Some jamming follows, evolving back into a freakout situation. Then, just when I start to think that 'Miss Fortune' sounds like a different band than the one that performed the first side, the drummer stops, then the guitarist stops, leaving just the piano. Next in the pattern of non sequiturs is a heavily effected vocal duet - - you get the idea: it's almost like a pasted-together piece. And then, a little after thirteen minutes into the track, a squawking tape loop appears, and 'Miss Fortune' actually becomes a studio sound collage - - which is also a bit Zappaesque, come to think of it.

Faust is one of those albums that I appreciate more than enjoy; it succeeds more as art than entertainment. But it's not as successful as, say, Ash Ra Tempel's self-titled album or Tangerine Dream's Electronic Meditation, two other Krautrock debuts from the same period.

patrickq | 3/5 |


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