Album: Faust

Patchwork, Staubgold

Friday 10 January 2003 01:00

As the most uncompromising of the early-Seventies Krautrock groups, it's quite heartening to see Faust carrying on regardless into the new millennium, cranking out avant-rock of sometimes stubborn opacity, and subjecting audiences to "happenings" comprised of roughly equal parts noise, nudity, heavy engineering and action-painting. This new album follows the "scrapbook" form adopted so successfully for The Faust Tapes, with sonic fragments from disparate eras mixed together into a pair of 20-minute audio-collage "Patchworks", in the manner of Frank Zappa. The first opens with a 1971 comment from the critic Walter Adler, an indictment of Faust as "children who thought they could play the game of the entertainment business, and didn't realise that the business played with them". Maybe so, but they did manage to wangle a fully equipped studio and DM300,000 out of Deutsche Grammophon, with which they created the two albums (Faust and Faust So Far) now universally regarded as groundbreaking classics just about everywhere except Germany. Splinters and memories of tracks from those early albums bubble up here occasionally, offering brief glimpses of the band in all its glory, before submerging back within the turbulent flow. It's rather like a perverse survey of Faust's career, a Leastest Hits compilation of the bits between the tunes: "Ironies" blends machine noise from four distinct eras of the band's history into one vertiginous, plummeting hum, while the "Out of Our Prison" section that concludes the second "Patchwork" effectively telescopes all the 1974 sessions for their fourth album down into four minutes of noise and murmuring.

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