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

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rebekka - Phoenix – Phoenix was the first release by the German band Rebekka, whose brand of progressive music featured tablas and tamboura besides the standard guitar, flute, sax, keyboards, bass, and percussion. This...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues