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10 September 2014

The Faust Tapes (Recommended)

This is a record that became legendary partially because of it's collage-like assemblage, and partially because it marketed for dirt cheap in its original release. This reissue has a nice little plastic bag cover and keeps the cheap feel with kinda thin vinyl, but I'm surprised Recommended didn't make something sturdier, cause I know this wasn't 49p when new. But the sound is great, and the record makes as much of an impact with me now as it did when I first heard it, even if the sounds are familiar. Some CD reissues of this apparently included a track listing, which seems antithetical to The Faust Tapes. One of the paradoxes is that while a "collage" (though that is somewhat overstated, I think), I always end up listening to it straight through (as my old CD version had it all as one track, I think). The few proper songs jump out; the 'J'ai mal aux dents' one is iconic, the only long bit on the record, and it has this Naked City-esque breakdown in the middle that sounds a bit clichéd now but not a trace in '73, I'm sure (and has some great tape splicing sounds as well). The jammy bits make you forget that Faust were at their hearts primitive surrealists, not drugged-out psychonauts; well, they probably ingested their fair share, but when you listen to the broken drumbeats and pseudo-funk breakdowns, it's a long way from the searing, layered echoes of the Cosmic Jokers. Maybe this was nothing more than an EP of songs extended into something larger by splicing together outtakes and jams, but that's the point - The Faust Tapes is a record to celebrate the in-between bits as much as the more constructed product. Those who celebrate this as one of Faust's finest achievements probably don't cite any single song as the high water mark, but the cohesive whole. This is the album as a statement itself, but in a totally different manner than Sgt. Pepper's

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