Faust

1971-1974

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1971-1974 Review

by Paul Simpson

Faust's initial run during the early '70s produced a series of LPs that radically reimagined what a rock band could do in a recording studio, creating boundless, free-form epics that took psychedelia to the furthest edges by incorporating Dadaist humor and musique concrète-style edits and sonic manipulations. 1971-1974 gathers all of the band's studio material issued during that time period (minus the Tony Conrad collaboration Outside the Dream Syndicate), and adds a bounty of rare and unreleased recordings that are just as fascinating as the group's main body of work. The original four LPs still sound far ahead of their time. Faust (1971) consists of three extended pieces that move from marching band glee to fractured poetry to hypnotic fuzz-rock, completely dismantling and reconfiguring the structure of a rock album. So Far is a bit more accessible, with more concentrated grooves on tracks like the jubilant "It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl," though the band's penchant for absurdism is still in full effect on tracks like the ten-minute "No Harm," and the proto-industrial "Mamie Is Blue" is as dissonant and jarring as their debut. The Faust Tapes, a bewildering cut-and-paste collage of home recordings, defies easy description, and simply must be experienced as a full, unbroken work. Faust IV remains the band's definitive, most influential album, featuring some of their most straightforward songwriting as well as their most focused, driven rhythmic explorations, including the 12-minute "Krautrock," a press-created term that the band would inextricably be linked with forever. The box set unearths Punkt, a previously unheard album recorded in Giorgio Moroder's Munich-based Musicland Studios in 1974. The world wasn't ready for it then, but it's just as essential as the previous Faust albums, with flange-heavy effects that bring a new level of wildness to their sound. These textures, as well as the continually shifting rhythms of the jaw-dropping "Knochentanz," point to directions Moroder would soon take with his underacknowledged 1975 experimental project Einzelgänger as well as his groundbreaking disco work. Two volumes of Momentaufnahme consist of studio outtakes and scraps, essentially functioning as additional variations on the premise of The Faust Tapes, and they're certainly of interest to fans of the group's anarchic side. The box is rounded out by two singles: the scattered early demo "Lieber Herr Deutschland" and more acid rock-styled "Baby," both of which surfaced on the 71 Minutes of Faust compilation, and the single versions of "So Far" and "It's a Bit of Pain."

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
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Track Listing - Disc 8

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
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blue highlight denotes track pick