01. The Lurcher (7:56)
02. Krautrock (11:42)
03. Do So (2:33)
04. Party 9 (6:06)
05. (360) (3:38)
06. Party 10 (1:12)
07. Party 1 (3:39)
08. We Are the Hallo Men (4:30)
09. So Far (alternative) (3:38)
10. Meer (alternative) (3:13)
- Jean-Hervé Peron / bass
- Werner Diermaier / drums
- Rudolf Sosna / guitar, keyboards
- Hans Joachim Irmler / organ
- Gunther Wüsthoff / synthesizer, saxophone
Tracks 1-3 are the BBC session, recorded 1/3/1973. Other tracks are previously unreleased selections, recently unearthed, plus We Are The Hallo Men, taken from the LP The Last LP, (ReR 1988) and Party 1 from the LP Munic and Elsewhere (1986).
"They were crazy; we were all crazy-- we had a code of honor that said: no compromises; we could do absolutely what we feel like with no respect for anybody and no consideration of any consequences no matter what."
-- Jean-Hervé Peron, May 2000
This was the Faust way; a band whose members may never have considered what kind of influence they would have on the future of rock and shock and everything in decent civilization. And anyone who hears them either understands Peron's code or goes home disappointed (or frustratingly off-put) with the music. For me, one of the great things about many of the classic Krautrock bands is their familial ethics, wherein the individual only exists in relation to the whole, and the end result is always more than the sum of the parts. Faust was communal like that, and Faust was classic.
Interestingly, thirty years of rumination on what possible inspiration (besides the drugs, of course) might have pushed Faust to make such wonderful noise has left very little concrete information. We know that they were six strong, then five, and that they had something of a guardian angel watching over them and providing them with the bare necessities-- food, money, manufactured importance to their record company-- in Uwe Nettlebeck. We know that they worked and lived in a small, abandoned schoolhouse in Wümme for a time, and that most of what came out of that schoolhouse gave the alternative education to innocent and willing students everywhere.
One thing we don't know is exactly how it all came to pass in Wümme. Jean-Hervé Peron and the rest of the remaining members (including Nettlebeck and engineer Kurt Graupner) have all given interviews detailing what went down in during those sessions, and relatively insignificant details have come out over time: most of the music was recorded on eight-track; the group would often spend days in one room recording without a producer to tell them if they were on to something; they often built pieces up like parts of chain because they'd recorded so many disparate elements at different times. When I read these things, they seem like mostly technical revelations, but nothing ever tells me about the impetus of the music. Where did it come from?
So, Julian Cope calls Faust the most "mythical" of the original Krautrock bands, and I suppose it makes sense. The only thing we have from them that's anything like informative is the music. They left their humble schoolhouse in 1973 for the Manor (courtesy of omni-label Virgin), and made an album that was predictably wonderful, but more refined-- and possibly more civilized-- than their earlier works. Faust left behind most of their wildest dreams in Wümme. So that it turns out we have a tad more to digest than we thought-- with the release of BBC Sessions +-- is good news. It's almost great.
BBC Sessions + collects any remaining material not issued on the first three proper Faust studio albums or their compilation, 71 Minutes of Faust, and adds some music in alternate mixes that appeared elsewhere. The disc had previously only been available as part of the absolutely essential Wümme Years box set, but has now been issued separately, I guess for anyone who has all the remastered original albums and yet didn't buy the box. No guilt trip here though, because this album works well on its own, even if you still have no excuse for not owning all the proper albums. There, I've said my piece.
As it happens, there's only one track here that had anything to with a BBC session, and even that is dubious. "BBC 1.3.73," containing "The Lurcher," "Kraut Rock" and "Do So," was put together by the band for broadcast on a BBC radio show. It's not a live Faust performance, and in fact, it contains two-thirds previously released material, albeit with alternate mixes. "The Lurcher" is an atypically appropriately titled funk-rock tune, featuring Peron's maxi-bass and some very nice sax work. With its mid-tempo swamp groove and echo effects, it almost manages to sound like space-jazz contemporaries such as Donald Byrd or Headhunters-era Herbie Hancock. Of course, Faust always had too many rough edges to ever really sound like anyone else, and this bit of new information fits into the canon as easily as ein, zwei, drei.
"Kraut Rock," to my ears, is the same as the first song on Faust IV, though it's mixed slightly differently, perhaps a bit less claustrophobic. The liner notes list no information to dispute this, but I've never read anything from the members of Faust about doing this. It's interesting to note that this version of the song actually appeared before IV's, because the BBC tape aired several months before Faust finished that album. "Do So" is an elongated version of the "Stretch Out Time" section of The Faust Tapes. This version is a little slower, emphasizing guitar and groove more than the original, and it doesn't feature the sax doubling the melody in the chorus. A curio? For completists? Well, we're not done yet.
"Party 9" is the end of "Munic/Yesterday" from 71 Minutes until it turns into a completely different tune midway through (similar to "Giggy Smile" from IV). "(360)" is a disorienting piece of German radio broadcast spliced with what sounds like a game of ping-pong and a dog barking in the background. Then, some boogie-woogie piano comes in, and kids begin shouting, "Happy birthday to you!" in broken English. After that, "Party 10" enters without a break, as a fanfare of sped-up trumpet enters along with something like a wet kazoo.
The previously unreleased "Party 1" is a fantastic example of the kind of exotic ethnomusicology experiment Faust could come up with on a moment's notice. It begins as a Latin-funk solo drum extravaganza, interspersed with electro-distortions and kinetic tom fills. But just as you make room for an ad-hoc dance-floor in the living room, it stops, leading to "We Are the Hallo Men." This tune originally appeared on a 1986 release, Munich and Elsewhere, which was later compiled on 71 Minutes. "Hallo Men," however, was left off 71 Minutes due to space considerations, so its tripped-out gutbucket funk was prematurely hidden from the ears of 21st Century fans. Phased mellotron and stream-of-consciousness proclamations give it that extra jais ne se quoi of all the best Faust music. The album closes with "So Far" and "Meer," both alternate takes of tracks from So Far and 71 Minutes, respectively.
As a whole, this album makes absolutely no sense, pulling elements from several great Faust releases, but seemingly randomly as if the whole thing is just an excuse to cull everything that didn't fit anywhere else. And who knows, maybe that's what it is, but I prefer to think of it as the most recent in a line of efforts to bring out every known "fact" about this band to the fore. When everything was over (before it got started again in the early 90s with the reunion albums), I imagine Faust's first fans were either still reeling from the dazzling display of inspired madness of the classic albums, or busy starting their own riots with punk and new wave. Of course, I would strongly urge anyone who hasn't heard the proper albums to check those out well before delving into BBC Sessions +.