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Faust Site, Jun 2003Ingo played with Faust at The Volksbühne, Berlin, 21st June 2003
"I'll start the show quietly" says Jochen Irmler playing some air-synth with his left hand, "and then you guys come in to make a hell of a racket. But don't make me wait too long for it, no more than a minute." The rest of the band nod approvingly. "We'll go for it, and about half way through the set it gets quieter, then we build up again and end on a high. The last number will be your version of Wir Brauchen Dich #6" he says in my direction, "and that'll be it, 73 minutes!" Knowing that 'my version' is about 6 minutes long the conversation leaves me slightly concerned about the other 67 minutes of the concert.
But as far as the band are concerned the preparation for the concert had been exhaustive. It was time to turn to the more important things of the moment, like where to find a decent breakfast place amongst all the tourists on Berlin's Fischerinsel.
When we had settled for a traditional Gastwirtschaft (are giant mushrooms GM free?) I asked the unthinkable question: "Do you guys agree on keys or anything for any of the stuff?" My question was greeted with hilarity along the lines that there once had been a bloke who tried to introduce the concept, but where was he now? Well, I thought, we'll get a feel for it in the sound check, and turned my attention to the fungi.
When Faust invited me to guest as their bass / sample player for this show I was in two minds about it since we had never really played together. In the two shows I had been part of on the 2002 UK tour I only appeared to run the loops and samples of a remix I had done for the Ravvivando Remix album, but this was playing live for over an hour without any rehearsal and using a 'real' instrument. Jochen's encouraging words that we could always announce that 'Ingo unfortunately has to leave the stage because he hasn't practiced enough' if things didn't go well did the trick to convince me. I had played in improvising bands before, but never in a 'Rock' context, and always knowing the other players well.
But trusting in the sound check I didn't let things worry me too much. I should have known better: Faust have so many bits of metal, extra pick ups, lines out of electronic devices, mics and amps on stage that by the time we had checked everything was actually working the sound check was over.
"Still worried about your keys?" they grinned at me. "C'mon, we have a good plan..."
But where was that plan when we finally went on? Yes, Jochen started the proceedings, but not alone, not quietly and overall not at all how I expected.
The thing is that Faust on stage is an entirely independent beast with a mind of its own, a collective dynamic bigger than any individual. No one can dominate it, and no plan will survive the first twenty seconds. After that it's sink or swim with or against the flow. The playing becomes an energetic experience, any concept of 'key' suddenly fades into the background and questions of flow and stagnation become more relevant. I had a moment of insecurity in the middle of the set, when I found myself worrying about keys again, but was soon carried over that by the energy of my metal bashing cohorts led by Zappi Diermaier, the other founder member of the band.
And all of a sudden 67 minutes were over, and had gone so quickly that I was caught off guard when my turn came to start the mix I'd brought. So was my computer, which must have felt distinctly in the minority amongst all the archaic instuments and froze temporarily. But the two worlds met and when I stumbled off stage still dazed from the experience I heard someone giggling in my ear "still worried about your keys?"Ingo Vauk, "", Faust Site 2003