Friday, October 26, 2007

Faust "Faust"

Artist: Faust
Album: Faust
Label: Polydor
Release date: 1971
Genre: Rock
Style: Krautrock/Experimental Rock/Psychedelic Rock

01. Why Don't You Eat Carrots
02. Meadow Meal
03. Miss Fortune
Total running time: 34' 08"

[Faust - Open MySpace Standalone Music Player]

[Faust - Picnic On A Frozen River - Live in Lyon, France (2006)]

[Teaser of "Ist FAUST Schön?" Documentary]

"Ah, Germany in springtime. The leaves have returned, and the air is cool and of noble weightlessness. You can clearly see what the past has left behind in the medieval town squares, and hear the music of Bach's day playing continually from the opera houses and churches. Germans, like most of us, enjoy admiring nature. And since their cities have many parkland areas, it's no surprise to find the tourists crowding shops while the locals gaze in an auburn splendor. This is a country of quaint Bavarian villages and major metropolitan centers, majestic mountains and beautiful waterways, castles and culture. So, wouldn't it be nice if we dropped some acid, holed up like trolls and made an album?

Faust's records have never been the kind you dissect. The band seems to have some kind of plan at work, but not the type of plan left for others to follow. It's not the kind of algorithm that bears any scrutiny; yet, 30 years later, the music remains. And given the state of the boys in der Gruppe, that alone makes it worthy of reissue.

After spending several months in 1970-71 lazing, smoking, and existing rather superfluously (on Virgin Records' dime, of course), Faust moved their commune to Wümme in western Germany and decided to get serious. By serious, I mean they decided to put to tape the sugarplum visions in their heads. By sugarplum visions, I mean the acid-damaged prototypes of the New Solution for Music. By music, I mean their self-titled 1971 debut album and its contents, which consist of the music they played and processed using Kurt Graupner's infamous little black boxes. And by Kurt Graupner, I mean Faust's engineer, the sound wave savior who, perhaps more than any other, was responsible for bringing the group's adventures in hi-fi to acetate.

"Why Don't You Eat Carrots?" gets the movement underway with a knall ("bang," my kliene Kinder). Actually, it's more like the wake of a small jet whose engine roar is panned out all over your speakers. In the jet's cockpit, we have "All You Need is Love" and "Satisfaction" blaring, if only to remind you that Faust were at one time human and listening to your music. Upon reaching an altitude of about 120 decibels, our captains decide to let the aerodynamic vehicle coast, dropping a vaguely Bill Evans-esque piano interlude before launching a vaguely Zappa-esque groove that features some vague kind of shinai solo (or maybe one of their homemade synthesizers). I wish I could translate the sheer romantic terror of the thing, but it's all rather vague.

"Meadow Meal" follows, and though the intensity has died down a bit, Faust still resides in the hall of mirrors. There doesn't seem to be much reason behind the stuff (other than the "wonderful wooden" variety), and though the by-product may be skewed art-pop along the lines of Throbbing Gristle or Nurse with Wound, the overwhelming vibe here is of playful curiosity rather than oppressive abstraction. After a mystical incantation ("And the guess I get it/ And the gate I get it/ And the game I get it"), they break into a trashy rock joint, shimmying like Monkees on parade. I suppose they couldn't have kept it down if they'd tried.

And that ends the program as Faust planned it: a total of about 18 minutes of music before running out of steam and/or money. What to do, then, but jam out the mother of all documented freak-outs. "Miss Fortune" is probably not Faust's greatest legacy, but it is a testament to some fairly unadulterated haze-charisma. Recorded live, it consists of two rock-esque instrumentals (again filtered through Graupner's little black boxes), and one fantastic piece of prose set to a ghostly backdrop of acoustic guitar and admirably understated shakers. "And at the end, realize that nobody knows if it really happened." And at the end, I say "amen."" [source]


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