Faust Tapes

Bob Eichler

Ground and Sky, 2003

The Faust Tapes was not actually intended for official release, but was a collection of home recordings made by the band for friends. It was bought cheaply by the then-fledgling Virgin label, and sold for half a pound in English record shops. Incredibly, the album sold 50,000 copies, and for a time, every Tom, Dick and Mumsy was in earshot of real out-there, freakout, 100% mind-bending stuff. Talk about subversive, and the best thing about it is that it still stands up today.

This disc was my introduction to Faust, and so far is the only album of theirs that I own, so I can't compare it with their other work. The word that comes to mind to describe this album is that it's a 'musicloaf' - all sorts of musical styles crammed together, each intercutting to the next with no break or transition. Everything from melodic prog to minimalism to distorted, wailing keyboards to random recordings such as TV programs and the telephone service that tells the time (in German), all lumped together into one album-long track. Speaking of which, it would have been nice for the different pieces to have been given their own track numbers on the CD, but then I guess no one ever says "Hey, I'd really like to listen to part 18 of The Faust Tapes today".

Some pieces of music remind me of early Pink Floyd (but then everything seems to be reminding me of early Floyd lately), particularly the parts with melodic piano and some of the acoustic guitar work.

This album is pretty much for those who like exploring the very adventurous side of prog. If the music itself doesn't put off the more 'mainstream' prog fans, the strange, distorted, accented vocals will. Or the relatively poor sound quality of some sections. But if you want to hear one of the outer edges of prog rock, give this disc a spin.

Bob Eichler, "Faust Tapes", Ground and Sky 2003

ref: Ground and Sky