Exposé Online banner

Faust — C'est Com... Com... Compliqué
(Bureau B BB21, 2009, CD)

Faust — Faust Is Last
(Klanbad 46CD, 2010, 2CD)

by K. Leimer, Published 2011-06-01

C'est Com... Com... Compliqué Cover artFaust Is Last Cover art

Beginning in the lush, disco-free Eurozone of the 70s, beneficiaries of finally reliable synthesizers, a well-defined tradition of art music tape experimentation, post modern euphemisms, and a pronounced allergy to commercially scripted stylistic dead-endism, Faust has been a steady source of surprise and suffering. Managing to shuffle through the decades while rotating personnel, originating instead of following trends and remaining all the while fairly close to the original conception in many of its uniformly peculiar forms is enough of a measure of success and respect. And on these two releases two extremes of their work seem set: Faust, the medieval seeker and Faust, the fist.

With C’est Com...Com... Compliqué, Faust is the seeker, sifting through the traditional rock instrumentation line-up with unconventional and naïve urges. Someone pulled the “honor thy mistake as hidden intention” card, resulting in a spontaneous sense to virtually each piece. Experimental, post-everything and yet something of a da capo visit with the good old Faust IV, the work is dominated by French inflections, the music unravels as tongue-in-cheek, lyrical, amusing and amused clots. Framed by garage band rawness, simple persistence, learner-level repetition, craftsman-level assembly and artist-level dissembling, false starts, random stops, and shouting. Like Faust IV, there are moments of sudden loveliness, melodic atmospheres giving way to blissed-out tremolo and feedback, hammered into new shapes with a stammering snap and downhill tumult. It’s an extra-musical, open, airy, noisy and restless set that never flags, perpetually flooded by a profusion of ideas and approaches that have continued to expand over the history of the group.

Acting as ballast, holding us back, holding things always down are the two CDs comprising Faust Is Last. Monolithic, almost completely mired in heaviness and faux anger (“I don’t buy your shit no more,” “Feed the greed,” etc.) this most fist-y manifestation of Faust trades the scalpels for shovels, spectral light for indistinguishable greys, and gets busy whacking around the hedges of cliché rock forms. An over-amped, often trudging, count-along-with-me guitar-centric and humourlessly opaque Teutonic record, Faust Is Last recalls any number of generic X-metal audio configured specifically to compromise your hearing. The beauty and thrill of distortion has so long-ago become completely mainstream in virtually every application of sound – from ad jingles to The Jesus Rock to the seemingly sudden and broad-based acceptance of Metal Machine Music to stuff which inaptly adopts the term “Minimalist” – that its omnipresence can pass without remark. The unrelenting homogeneity makes many parts of Faust Is Last indistinguishable from any others. It’s not until reaching the end of disc two that anything vaguely adventurous occurs, struggling in its absolute isolation like a few drops of oil trying to mingle with ocean water, unintentionally marking the uncounted miles between Compliqué and Last.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2009 releases, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Faust

Latest news

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bone Cave Ballet - The Echo of Entropy – "Bone Cave Ballet" — what an evocative name. So many possible interpretations, all of them intriguing. The music itself has a similar quality, with lyrics that catch your imagination without lending...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues