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
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.
Related artist(s): Faust
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more