Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Faust - 1973 - Faust IV

Faust IV

01. Krautrock (11:47)
02. The Sad Skinhead (2:43)
03. Jennifer (7:11)
04. Just A Second (Starts Like That!) (3:35)
05. Picnic on a Frozen River (Deuxieme Tableux) (7:45)
06. Giggy Smile (4:28)
07. Laüft... Heißt Das es Laüft Oder es Kommt Bald... Laüft (3:40)
08. It's a Bit of a Pain (3:08)

Total Time: 44:17

Faust IV - Bonus Disc (2006)
01. The Lurcher
02. Kraut Rock
03. Do So
04. Jennifer (alt)
05. The Sad Skinhead (Alt)
06. Just a Second (Extended)
07. Piano Piece
08. Lauft (Alt)
09. Giggy Smile (Alt)

- Werner Diermeier / drums
- Hans-Joachim Irmler / organ
- Gunter Wusthoff / synthesizer, saxophone
- Rudolf Sosna / guitar, keyboards
- Jean-Herve Peron / bass

Highly-experimental and irreverent, Faust were one of the prime movers of the Krautrock scene, producing a string of engaging, eclectic and genuinely innovative albums during the early seventies that still stand up as some of the most important German recordings of the era. Originally dubbed the 'German Beatles' by unscrupulous producers hoping to make a quick buck on the hip new Krautrock genre that was impressing the British underground, Faust were anything but, with the fiercely avant-garde approach of their self-titled debut a million miles away from The Beatles pop sound, exposing (once again) the utter ignorance of those in control of the record company purse strings back in 1970. However, despite the mis-judged attempt to bracket Faust as a pop act, it did garner the group a large recording budget, impressive facilities and enough promotion to give their burgeoning career a healthy kick-start which they grabbed enthusiastically with both hands. The producers who funded 'Faust' may have been horrified by the thoroughly uncommercial (and expensive) concoction the five-piece had created, but they was no denying the powerful sonic statement that had been created. After the dense, hypnotic, swirling electro-rhythms of their eponymous debut and it's impressive follow-ups 'Faust So Far' and the low-budget 'The Faust Tapes', the band would tone down the rampant sound collages in favour of a slightly more commercial approach for 'Faust IV'. For anyone unfamiliar with band, 'Faust IV' was and is definitely the place to start, featuring as it does a nice balance between the discordant electronic experiments of their debut and the more tuneful, playful melodies that characterized their later works, illustrating just what a creative group Faust were when on top form. A carefully-constructed and quietly-enthralling record, 'Faust IV' opens with the layered, droning, 11-minute-long haze of the simply-titled 'Krautrock', a track that ebbs and flows as naturally as breathing, slipping delicately from one mesmerising section to the next. As the last embers of 'Krautrock' slip away, the jocular cod-reggae fusion of 'The Sad Skinhead' ripples into life, showcasing the band's lighter side and penchant for simple, overlapping rhythms. These two tracks, alongside the catchy, softly-sung 'Jennifer' and the imperious 'Giggy Smile' are the undoubted highlights. However, unlike their previous efforts, 'Faust IV' becomes, after repeated listens, one of those indispensable albums that can always be listened to all the way through, with the seriousness of the the music's experimental nature undercut by the group's light touch and inventive playing. Alongside the likes of Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Amon Duul II, Harmonia, Neu!, Can and Embryo, Faust are one of the major Krautrock acts whose influence has grown over the prevailing decades, with 'Faust IV' a cornerstone of the electronic side of the genre. Both Avant-garde yet playful and sassy, 'Faust IV' is a remarkable album.