Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Faust - 1997 - Edinburgh 1997

Edinburgh 1997

01. The Opener (1:51)
02. Allerdings Weisst Du (13:48)
03. Drachentoter (9:09)
04. Largo (9:32)
05. Was Soll Das (8:00)
06. Druck - Walk Under Pressure (10:23)
07. Water Impression (4:59)
08. w.b.d (11:32)

- Hans Joachim Irmler / organ, electronics
- Lars Paukstat / percussion
- Michael Stoll / bass
- Steven Wray Lobdell / guitar
- Werner Diermeir / drums

Since their reunion in the early 1990s, there have been two versions of Faust in action; one featuring bassist Jean Herve Peron, and the other keyboard player Hans Joachim Irmler, with drummer Werner 'Zappi' Diemaier playing in both. This album is one of 2 live sets from 1997, both by the Irmler version of the band with essentially the same line up that would subsequently record Ravvivando - guitarist Steve Wray Lobdell also played in the Peron version of the band resposible for Rien.
Drums and percussion are well to the fore, with the grinding industrial rhythms that would characterise Ravvivando very much in evidence. There are some lighter touches along the way, with nods to the band's roots in the early days of krautrock and some almost psychedelic passages in between the piledriver rhythmic assaults and squalls of electronic noise. There are also occasional vocal interjections that recall some of Christian Vander's more blood curdling utterances in Kobaian, but this is principally an instrumental album. There's a sense of space that is sometimes missing from Ravvivando's densely packed grooves, but the band never relax into self indulgent jamming - they're tightly focussed and at the top of their game.

Recently made available as a downloadable album on emusic, this is a worthy addition to your collection if you're into Krautrock, and fans of post rock experimentalism may find it intriguing as well. What you don't get is the visual impact of the band on stage, and of course the innovative studio wizardry that Faust elevated into a fine art is absent, but this album is ample proof of how powerful Faust can be in concert. The sound quality is good but not exceptional. Well worth checking out.

Faust - 1996 - You Know Faust

You Know Faust

01. Hurricane (4:15)
02. Tenne Laufen (0:14)
03. C Pluus (7:03)
04. Irons (0:21)
05. Cendre (2:02)
06. Sixty Sixty (2:53)
07. Winds (0:31)
08. Liebeswehen (4:52)
09. Elektron 2 (1:10)
10. Ella (1:59)
11. Men From the Moon (1:59)
12. Der Pfad (0:55)
13. Noizes From Pythagoras (0:33)
14. Na Sowas (14:31)
15. L'Oiseau (2:53)
16. Huttenfreak (0:31)
17. Teutonen Tango (6:59)

- Hans Joachim Irmler / organ, electronics
- Thomas E. Martin / guitar
- Jean Hervé Peron / bass, vocals
- Werner Diermeir / drums

"You Know FaUSt" was released in 1997 and it carries on their seventies tradition of making a lot of freaking noise while at the same time showing they know how to compose somewhat normal music. Experimental is the word though when it comes to this band and certainly innovative is another word that comes to mind. These guys have been a huge influence in the world of music.
"Hurricane" begins with yelling before we get this heavy beat with clashing cymbals. It stops after 3 minutes then kicks in again quickly. "Tenne Laufen" is a brief sample of someone running and other noises. "C Pluus" has what sounds like a faint heart-beat then a more prominant beat takes over with bass and organ. Guitar and horns after 2 1/2 minutes. Nice. The abrasive guitar after 4 minutes comes and goes. "Irons" sounds like iron pipes banging into one another. "Cendre" has this acoustic guitar that builds. Beautiful stuff. "Sixty Sixty" has strummed guitar and spoken words then percussion joins in. Cool sound. "Winds" is another short piece with banging sounds and a disturbing atmosphere. "Liebeswahen" opens with percussion and cymbals as the guitar joins in then experimental sounds. Insanity 2 1/2 minutes in ! Keyboards too. Nasty !

"Elektron" has this high pitched noise that pretty much blew out my left ear-drum. It does stop but the pain continues. Pulsating sounds take over to end it. "Ella" has these abrasive riffs then a cool sounding beat takes over a minute in. "Men From The Moon" sounds like a music box at first then the vocals join in with a beat. This is almost Kevin Ayers-like. Horns then operatic vocals too. "Der Pfad" is keys and a beat before the horns come blasting in. "Noizes From Pythagoras" is again short with atmosphere and what sounds like a typewriter. "Na Sowas" opens with drums and noise. It does settle back as we get some yelling thrown in at times. A calm before 5 minutes. A beat with vocals starts to rise up. A deep noise before 9 minutes as the beat with vocals stops. "L'oiseau" has a beautiful atmosphere as the keys join in. "Huttonfreak" is a short vocal expression piece. "Teutonen Tango" is spoken words at first then a beat with noise joins in. Vocals are yelling at times. There's two of them as well.

Well if you know FAUST you'll know what to expect. Another challenging and innovative recording.

Faust - 1996 - Untitled


01. Not Nearest By (5:37)
02. Komm Mit (4:19)
03. Sad Skin Two (2:32)
04. A 70's Event (11:49)
05. Expecting S. in Love (3:14)
06. Fastened 60/60 (1:15)

 Werner Diermeier / drums
- Hans-Joachim Irmler / organ
- Jean-Hervé Peron / bass
- Gunter Wüsthoff / synthesiser, saxophone
- Rudolf Sosna / guitar, keyboards

First release on Faust's Klangbad label.

Limited edition of 1000 copies.
Edition for the 25th anniversary.
Contains unpublished and remixed material from 1971/72/73 (#1, 2 & 3), two live songs (#3 & 4), as well as two completely new songs (#5 & 6).

Track 1 written 1972; remixed 1996.
Track 2 written 1971; remixed 1996.
Track 3 written 1973; live performed 1974; remixed 1996.
Track 4 written 1974; live performed 1995; remixed 1996.
Tracks 5 and 6 written and performed in 1996.

Stereolab / Foetus / Faust - 1996 - Überschall 1996

Stereolab / Foetus / Faust
Überschall 1996

01. Faust Right Between Yr Eyes
02. Stereolab Percolations
03. Foetus Herds

A1 –Faust Right Between Yr Eyes
Mastered By – Lutz Vogelsang
Mixed By – Hans Joachim Irmler
Producer – Faust
Written-By – Hans Joachim Irmler, Jean-Hervé Peron, Zappi.W.Diermaier*
A2 –Stereolab Percolations
Engineer, Mixed By – John McEntire
Producer – John McEntire, Stereolab
Written-By – Sadier*, Gane*
B –Foetus Herds
Written-By – J.G. Thirlwell
This 7" was introduced at the 1996 Überschall Festival in Germany. It is limited to 2,000 pressings, with each artist getting about 1/3 of the pressings. A limited number of copies were given away free at the festival, the rest retained by the artists to do with as they wished.

A1: Aufgenommen im Home Studio Schiphorst
A2: Recorded at Idful Studios, Chicago
B: Unreleased song

Faust & Tony Conrad - 1995 - Outside The Dream Syndicate Alive

Faust & Tony Conrad 
Outside The Dream Syndicate Alive

01. untitled (0:42)
02. untitled (2:56)
03. untitled (4:11)
04. untitled (1:44)
05. untitled (3:01)
06. untitled (2:01)
07. untitled (4:17)
08. untitled (3:53)
09. untitled (3:52)
10. untitled (2:55)
11. untitled (5:49)
12. untitled (1:55)
13. untitled (4:21)
14. untitled (3:06)
15. untitled (1:38)
16. untitled (1:59)
17. untitled (2:01)
18. untitled (8:22)
19. Encore! (1:58)

Live at Queen Elizabeth Hall February 17, 1995

- Jean-Hervé Peron / bass
- Werner "Zappi" Diermaier / drums
- Tony Conrad / strings
- Jim O'Rourke / violin

Recorded live at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London in '95 this was the reunion of one of minimalist's great torch holders Tony Conrad along with one of experimental rocks greatest bands Faust. When they originally teamed up at a German filmmakers request, they made Outside The Dream Syndicate over three days together in 1971. A landmark record that took Conrad's affinity for building drones mixed with a rhythm section that added intense pulsations and textures to the sounds.

While apparently Faust didn't really remember the recording sessions (what were they on?) they met up only two more times since the original recording to perform the piece live. This show was the third and last time they performed together and at this show they were also joined by the helping hands of Jim O'Rourke (is there a band he hasn't played with?). And wow! What an amazing show to have been at. With his La Monte Young cap on tightly, Conrad masterfully created a piece that no matter when it was produced evokes such a strong physical reaction. This is raw, building, blistering, pounding, droning brilliance! The way momentum keeps building works its way into your body and about half way into the piece you can't stop from getting completely wrapped up in it. The droning violin, the dirty percussion, the gut wrenching passion underneath and above it all!

It's amazing how in these sounds you can hear so much of a handful of contemporary favorites: Godspeed You Black Emperor's explosive drama, The Dirty Three at their most wild and rocking, Swans/Angels Of Light's blistering poignancy, but it all ends up seeming sorta like little league in comparison to the blood and guts that oozes out of this performance. As always Table Of The Elements appropriately package the cd with the care it deserves including some nice short conversations with Conrad and two great stickers of Conrad's face. Absolutely recommended!

Faust - 1994 - The Faust Concerts Vol.II

The Faust Concerts Vol.II

01. Opening of The Marquee (1:25)
02. Abamae (3:58)
03. Das (S)tier (22:05)
    1. As Tu Ton
    2. Du Rouge De Bleu
    3. Dying Pigs
04. Viel Obst (2:03)
05. Stadtluft (8:16)
06. Axel Goes Straight (4:38)
07. Pentatonische Kinderlied (4:17)
08. Promotion (8:28)
09. Excess... (6:41)

- Werner Diermeier / drums
- Hans-Joachim Irmler / organ
- Jean-Hervé Peron / bass

This is very much a companion piece to Faust Concerts 1. It was recorded in London in 1992, again by the trio of Hans Joachim Irmler, Jean Herve Peron and Zappi Diemaier, and has a similarly rough, bootleg sound quality.
Like Faust Concerts 1 it was a limited edition release that would be an excellent souvenir for anybody who had been at the concert or who had seen any other performances at around that time, but it is also of some interest to a wider audience because it features mostly new material. This includes the obligatory chainsaw/power tools routine, but on this occasion it is saved for the end of the performance. The preceding 50 something minutes veer between the kind of grinding Industrial sound that Irmler's version of the band would unleash on Ravvivando and the more absurdist approach favoured by the Peron/Diemaier axis, with the Industrial groove dominating the proceedings. Unfortunately the recording quality means that a lot of the fine detail is lost, and without the accompanying visuals some aspects of the performance fall rather flat.

As with Faust Concerts 1, this is an item that occasionally changes hands for inflated sums. It's really one for the completionists, although there is also some historic interest in the otherwise unavailable material.

Faust - 1994 - The Faust Concerts Vol.I

The Faust Concerts Vol.I

01. As Tu Ton Ticket? (9:19)
02. Legendare Gleichgultigkeit (4:05)
03. The Sad Skin (3:18)
04. Haarscharf (4:00)
05. Schempal Buddah (6:06)
06. 13/8 (2:22)
07. Rainy Day (9:01)
08. Voltaire (3:38)
09. Rien (3:57)

- Werner Diermeier / drums
- Hans-Joachim Irmler / organ
- Jean-Hervé Peron / bass

This is one of a pair of concert recordings from the reconvened Faust of the early 90s, featuring the trio of founder members Hans- Joachim Irmler, Jean Herve Peron and Zappi Diemaier. I didn't see any performances by this particular incarnation, but having seen Faust live on more than one occasion I know just how powerful they can be on stage and how well they can reinterpret their studio work.
Unfortunately, this limited edition release doesn't really do them justice. The bootleg level sound quality doesn't help; vocals and drums tend to drown out everything else a lot of the time. Also, Faust's studio albums are painstakingly assembled sonic events, whilst onstage they add a strong visual and theatrical dimension to their work. The use of power tools is very effective in a live context, but on CD you just get to hear the sounds of chainsaws and angle grinders over Zappi Diemaier's muscular drumming. This is a pity, as there are some interesting ideas audible here and there - Gorecki's Symphony No 3 comes in for a mauling (which would become one of the most effective tracks on Rien, itself based on live recordings from a US tour) and a Beethoven piano sonata underpins an eccentric version of It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl.

This was a very limited edition which occasionally surfaces on ebay or in second hand shops at inflated prices. If you saw them on that particular tour it's a nice souvenir, but otherwise it's definitely one for completists and diehard fans only.

Faust - 1994 - Rien


01. [Untitled] (0:03)
02. Rien (5:29)
03. Long Distance Calls in the Desert (4:10)
04. Eroberung der Stille, Teil 1 (9:18)
05. Listen to the Fish (15:24)
06. Eroberung der Stille, Teil 2 (6:54)
07. Fin (1:17)

- Werner Dermeier / drums
- Jean-Hervé Peron / bass

- Jim O'Rourke / tapes
- Keiji Haino / guitar
- Steven Wray Lobdell / guitar
- Michael Morley / guitar

Rien was Faust's 'comeback' album - apparently they never really went away, but it was their first release of new material in 20 years (not counting previously unissued 70s material). Comebacks can be a mixed blessing, but since their return to active service Faust have released some of their strongest material and have turned in some remarkable live performances.
The basic tracks were recorded during an American tour and were subsequently assembled into this album by Jim O'Rourke, whose contribution is at least as important as that of the two founder members. The sound is the heavy, industrial side of the original albums dragged brutally into the 90s - there are none of the acoustic interludes or eccentric fragments of song that cropped up on their early albums. Jean Herve Peron and Werner 'Zappi' Dermeier lay down dense, lumbering rhythms over which the various guest musicians weave all manner of strange and sometimes disturbing sounds. The packaging was also in keeping with the band's traditions - the 8 page booklet was a uniform blank metallic grey, and the spoken credits are the last track. Outstanding tracks include Long Distance Calls In The Desert, a field recording (from Death Valley apparently) of the band and some fans playing wind instruments in the desert night, and the 15 minute long trance-rock epic Listen To The Fish. Eroberung der Stille, Teil 2 features the palintive sound of Gorecki's Symphony No.3 gradually disappearing beneath layers of industrial noise, a piece of art terrorisim that could have misfired badly in the wrong hands but which works here, perhaps because Faust are not attacking the music itself but rather the way in which it has been appropriated as a lifestyle accessory and the way that fragments of it are used in adverts and soundtracks.

In the 20 years between Faust IV and Rien bands like Einsturzende Neubaten and Nurse With Wound had continued to explore the territory Faust had opened up with their early 70s releases, so the shock value was somewhat diminished. Despite the fact that they no longer sounded so raw and original, Rien demonstrated that they had moved with the times and remained as uncompromising as ever. Not an essential release, but highly recommended to any fans of the wilder side of Krautrock.

Faust - 1988 - Seventy One Minutes Of...

Seventy One Minutes Of... 

01. Munic A (11:56)
02. Baby (4:53)
03. Meer (2:50)
04. Munic B (11:49)
05. Don't Take Roots (4:22)
06. Party 2 (7:05)
07. Party 8 (1:23)
08. Psalter (4:09)
09. Party 5 (4:33)
10. Party 1 (9:48)
11. Party 3 (0:43)
12. Party 6 (3:24)
13. Party 4 (4:48)

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

After "Faust IV" the band packed things in but in 1986 their label released "Return Of A Legend : Munic And Elsewhere" which was a compilation of unreleased and live tracks from the early seventies. Then in 1989 the label released "The Last LP" or some call it "Faust Party" which was again a compilation of unreleased songs and live tracks from the early seventies. No the band was not back together at this point. The label then combined those two albums to make "71 Minutes Of Faust" but they did drop some tracks in the process. I have to mention how amazing the album covers were for those two earlier compilation albums.
Now I may not be the biggest fan of experimental music and it's taken years for me to appreciate FAUST but man I love this particular release. It's not as experimental, in fact a lot of this music is even catchy and CAN did come to mind several times.

"Munic / Yesterday" opens with organ and distortion then a beat and more takes over after a minute. Vocals a minute later. The guitar is getting crazy ala Karoli from CAN before 6 minutes. What a great track. The beat stops 10 minutes in as we get a calm to the end. "Don't Take Roots" features distorted guitar as these beats come in. Again this sounds amazing. Spoken words and laughter follow as the music stops. Strange sounds take over 1 1/2 minutes in then banging sounds a minute later. More spoken words and laughter. This is one crazy tune man. It kicks in again 3 1/2 minutes in. "Das Meer" has a relaxed beat with piano and vocal melodies. Cool sound. "Munic Other" has a beat with sax playing over top. Catchy stuff. It settles down around 5 1/2 minutes and changes a minute later. Nice drum work too. "Baby" is like a sixties parody. There's that Karoli- like guitar as a beat and vocals kick in. Yup this reminds me of CAN. Great track !

"Party 2" has this beat that I love as the guitar then vocals join in. Almost spoken vocals join in as well around 1 1/2 minutes. Freaking amazing ! "Party 8" is a short piece with an electronic beat and more. "Psalter" has melodic guitar then another sound joins in then the drums. It continues to build. Clapping too. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. It settles back before 3 1/2 minutes. Nice. "Party 5 / 25 Yellow Doors" has this noisy rhythm as the vocals join in. Crazy stuff with yelling too. Nice keyboard work after 2 minutes. "Chronmatic" has these sounds that beat and pulse as we get atmosphere too. I like it ! "Party 6" is a short piece with funny Zappa-like sound affects.

Faust - 1979 - Faust Party Extracts 1-6

Faust Party Extracts 1-6

A. Chromatic (9:44)
B1. Party 6 (0:42)
B2. Giggy Smile (3:23)

- Werner Diermaier / Drums
- Hans-Joachim Irmler / Organ
- Jean-Hervé Péron / Bass
- Rudolf Sosna / Guitar, Keyboards
- Gunter Wüsthoff / Synthesizer, Saxophone

Recorded: Wümme, 1971 - 1973

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.

Faust - 1973 - The Faust Tapes

The Faust Tapes

01. Exercise (0:52)
02. Exercise (0:21)
03. Flashback Caruso (4:01)
04. Exercise (1:48)
05. J'ai Mal Aux Dents (7:14)
06. Untitled (1:03)
07. Untitled (1:42)
08. Dr Schwitters #1 (0:25)
09. Exercise (1:11)
10. Untitled (1:18)
11. Untitled (0:50)
12. Dr Schwitters #2 (0:49)
13. Untitled (1:03)
14. Untitled (0:47)
15. Untitled (1:33)
16. Untitled (2:18)
17. Untitled (0:34)
18. Untitled (0:51)
19. Untitled (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)

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

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.

Faust & Tony Conrad - 1973 - Outside The Dream Syndicate

Faust & Tony Conrad
Outside The Dream Syndicate

101. From The Side Of Man And Womankind (26:58)
102. From The Side Of The Machines (26:21)

201. The Pyre Of Angus Was In Kathmandu (3:38)
202. The Death Of The Composer Was In 1962 (3:16)
203. From The Side Of Woman And Mankind (31:11)

- Tony Conrad & Faust / all instruments

Tony Conrad is an American multimedia and experimental artist. He is musically known in the 60's for his abrasive violin drones and collaboration in the American "Dream syndicate". In 1972 he visited the krautrock band FAUST at Wumme and recorded a first album with them called Outside The Dream Syndicate (1973). The album is a vast catalogue of shimmering drones for violin, accompanied by percussive minimalist pulses and moving bass guitar lines. The result is tripped out, engaging the listener in strange rituals (almost buzzing "raga" dreamy sounds. In 1993, when the album is reissued by Table of elements, Tony Conrad goes back to the scene (after a long break) and records an new solo album "Slapping Pythagoras" (1995) for sonic violin dissonances and harmonies. Eternal!

Krautrock, particularly the more experimental strand, always had an affinity with minimalism; think of Can's metronomic rhythms, Neu!'s single chord excursions and the lengthy, near-formless electronic drones of early Kluster or Tangerine Dream circa Zeit. It's perhaps a little odd that Faust, whose recordings were among the most intricate and complex of the krautrock genre, should have participated in this album, perhaps the ultimate minimalist statement of the era.
Only two members of Faust actually perform on this recording, bassist Jean Herve Peron and drummer Zappi Diemaier. They were one of the era's more muscular and inventive rhythm sections, capable of rocking out but also of playing with great subtlety when the music demanded it. From The Side Of Man And Womankind sees the stone age hooligan stomp of It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl stripped down to the bare minimum; tom tom hi hat tom tom hi hat two note bass line dead on the beat and one note drone on the violin plodding along for 26 glorious, almost static minutes. Zappi occasionally forgets himself and includes a cymbal crash, and there are slight tonal variations in the violin drone, but it's about as basic as you can get and utterly mesmerising into the bargain. The boys from Faust get to cut loose, relatively speaking, on From The Side Of The Machines; tom toms played with mallets, cymbal crashes and at least 4 notes on the bass, the whole thing sounding like a fragment from Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun or a similar psychedelic journey looped and repeated ad infinitum, with the Tony Conrad's single note drone floating in space as always. The musicians manage to create an enormous amount with almost no resources whatsoever, and they manage to make an eerily uplifting sound although it sounds like they're straining to avoid any form of self expression at all.

The original album contained just those two mighty slabs of noise, but the reissue includes some bonus items. Two short pieces open disc 2; The Pyre Of Angus Was In is presumably a reference to Conrad's contemporary (and briefly member of The Velvet Underground) Angus Macalise and has a similar groove to From The Side Of The Machines, with Jean Herve Peron getting quite melodic on his bass. The Death Of The Composers sounds like an alternate take of the same piece, with a bit more psychedelic grooving from the rhythm section. From The Side Of Woman And Mankind brings proceedings to a close, and it's basically From The Side Of Man And Womankind taken at a slightly faster tempo. Peron's bass occasionally slips out of sync with the drums and there's a touch more variety in Conrad's bowing technique; if you've been paying attention and you've listened this far, it makes an enormous difference.

If you like the post rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt Zion, John Cale's viola contributions to the Velvet Underground, the hypnotic grooves of early Can, the academic minimalism of Steve Reich, Terry Riley and Philip Glass, the side long drones of Soft Machine Third or pounding rhythms of Faust then this is essential listening. If you're not into minimalism it might just make a convert of you.

Faust - 1972 - So Far

So Far

01. It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl (7:27)
02. On The Way To Abamäe (2:39)
03. No Harm (10:17)
04. So Far (6:19)
05. Mamie Is Blue (5:59)
06. I've Got My Car And My TV (3:45)
07. Picnic On A Frozen River (0:38)
08. Me Lack Space... (0:40)
09. ...In The Spirit (2:16)

- Werner Diermeier / drums
- Arnulf Meifert / drums
- Hans-Joachim Irmler / organ
- Gunter Wüsthoff / synthesiser, saxophone
- Rudolf Sosna / guitar, keyboards

"So Far" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German Kraut/psychadelic/avant garde rock act Faust. The album was released through Polydor Records in 1972. Faust self-titled 1971 debut album is a wildly experimental avant garde rock album featuring electronic experiments and sound collages mixed with psychadelic rock sections. "So Far" is ultimately a very different sounding release.
"So Far" is a much more structured album and the trademark repetitive krautrock beats are much more a part of the sound on this album than they were on the crazy debut. Compared to the difficult listening experience of the debut, "So Far" is generally much more accessible. This time around it´s audible that the band employ ordinary rock instrumentation like guitars, bass, drums, keyboards/synth/organ and saxophone. The vocals are mostly chanting the same lines over and over again as if they are more an instrument than actual vocals but there are more ordinary vocal parts on the album too. The album is greatly varied and in addition to repetitive krautrock sounding tracks like "It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl", "So Far" and "No Harm" (which features an almost mellow symphonic prog intro), we´re also treated to a classical inspired acoustic guitar piece in "On The Way To Abamäe", the cold almost industrial sounding "Mamie Is Blue" as well as the last four tracks on the album "I've Got My Car And My TV", "Picnic On A Frozen River", "Me Lack Space..." and "...In The Spirit" which to my ears sound heavily influenced by the avant garde/experimental rock of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention.

The musicianship are on a high level and "So Far" features a very well sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. So the album is a quality release in every way possible. "So Far" is generally a more easily accessible way to enter the world of Faust than the group´s much more challenging debut album, so if you´re new to the band, this would be a great place to start your Faust journey. This shouldn´t be misunderstood though, and compared to mainstream music "So Far" is still a very challenging release full of experimental ideas and innovative playing.

Faust - 1971 - Faust


01. Why don't you eat carrots (9:31)
02. Meadow Meal (7:30)
03. Miss Fortune (13:54)

Track list of Polydor remaster (2003)
01. Why don't.... (9:31)
02. Meadow Meal (8:02)
03. Miss Fortune (16:35)

- Werner Diermeier / drums
- Hans-Joachim Irmler / organ
- Jean-Hervé Peron / bass
- Gunter Wüsthoff / synthesiser, saxophone
- Rudolf Sosna / guitar, keyboards
- Arnulf Meifert / drums

"Faust" is the debut full-length studio album by German Krautrock/psychadelic/avant garde rock act Faust. The album was released through Polydor Records in late 1971. The members of Faust were brought together by leftist-journalist Uwe Nettelbeck (who alledgedly was also associated with the infamous Baader-Meinhof movement), who had been asked by Polydor Records to find a German band, who could rival some of the contemporary commercially successful British artists (needless to say they were not impressed by the outcome). The label provided the band and Uwe Nettelbeck (who acted as producer on the recording project) with enough money and time, for the band to spend most of 1971 writing and recording the album. Actually the story says that the band did very little for the first half year and only started seriously working on the project when the deadline was near. They struggled to write enough material for a full album though and had to go back and use some of the jam recordings they had done in the first part of 1971 and patch them together to form coherent material enough for a full-length release.
The actual recording process took a mere 3 days which is quite an achivement considering the high quality of the material. Faust had a rather interesting and very relaxed approach to the recording process, which is obvious from reading a quote from the liner notes (from the booklet to the 2000 "Collectors Choice" CD release) by drummer Werner Diermaier: "For the first record, the first side was constructed and the second side was where we smoked many hashish and drank much alcohol. In three days, the record had to be ready. It was very funny".

I nearly fell down my chair choking with laughter after reading that. That´s just brilliant and an insight to the early days of Faust. It´s refreshing to read such a statement these days where eveything are usually planned down to extreme detail and everything have to be absolutely perfect before you enter/leave the studio.

As an album "Faust" usually has the reputation that it´s a very difficult and avant garde listening experience, and while that is certainly true to some extent, the sometimes crazy sounding experiments actually work well together and the music isn´t completely devoid of hooks either. The album for instance features several great psychadelic rock parts and to make a comparison I don´t find the music on this album much more inaccessible than the most experimental output by 60s Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention.

In addition to the more "regular" rock parts on the album, the music on "Faust" features lots of studio tricks like tape manipulations and experiments with electronic devices. The vocals on the album which are in English are rather unique. Sometimes almost chanting and other times reciting the lyrics. It sounds like complete madness at times but it´s ultimately very charming. The 31:24 minutes long album only features 3 tracks: "Why don't you eat carrots", "Meadow Meal" and "Miss Fortune". The two former were featured on side 1 of the original LP and the latter was featured on side 2. The album is very short with it´s 31:24 minutes playing time but with music as extreme as this I think it´s a suitable length.

The version I own, which is the 2000 "Collectors Choice" CD release where "Faust" is paired with the second album by Faust titled "So Far (1972)", features a total playing time of 34:08 minutes as the version of "Miss Fortune" is a couple of minutes longer than the original version and the version of "Meadow Meal" is about one minute longer than the original version. The two tracks on side 1 are both structured (I use the word structured loosely here) experimental avant garde rock tracks while "Miss Fortune" is a long experimental jam. While the recording history and the relaxed nature of the band might suggest otherwise, this does not sound like senseless noodling or strange noises put together in random order. Faust appear to know exactly what they are doing and how they want to achive their goals.

The sound production is hands down fantastic. All those sounds collages and tape tricks must have been a real challenge handling in the studio and keeping in mind that the album was recorded in 3 days, there is a time pressure factor here too that makes it an even more incredible achivement. The spontaneity and laid back approach to the recording process that these musicians had could have resulted in a terribly bad and sloppy end product, but as Faust were incredibly talented musicians, they could pull something as bold as this off with conviction. They also fully understood that avant garde rock has to have some degree of accessibility and some memorable parts to be entertaining to the listener and therefore this weird experiment works wonders.