Patchwork 1971 - 2002
Ralf Bei der Kellen
Intro, Oct 2002
Staubgold | 37 | CD
It's been a busy year for Faust. First they released Freispiel, a remix-album of tracks from the Ravvivando LP, then First Steps, a compilation of other artists affiliated to their Klangbad label, and now Patchwork, a collection of original tracks spanning the years from Fausts' birth right up to the present. But faust wouldn't the avantgarde sound-terrorists we know and appreciate if they had just compiled some old tapes. Like so many of his contemporaries frequently do, Faust's matermind Hans-Joachim Irmler simply could have scraped the barrel once more. But this is far from it. Irmler jumped at the chance and produced his own 'remix' of 30 years of faust and presents us with a concise, 42min long aural tour de force through the history of the musical and social experiment that Faust was (and still is). Some tracks have been left as they were, some have been remixed, while others have been combined with other vintage or even new material, so that the recording of this album represents the long continuos process that forms the history of this band. That this record is released by the Cologne-based Staubgold-label, who have hitherto established a sound reputation (pardon the pun) for electronic music is a definite statement. The electronic music scene pays tribute to one of its earliest protagonists. From the very beginning, Faust undertook to break down preconceived notions of sounds and strove to produce new, original (or at least unusual) sounds. And of these we get quite a lot on this record. From the very first sounds, this record asks its listener: Can you pass the faust-test? Monotonous drums, electric drills, Proto-Punk, Jazz-rock and two chords on an acoustic guitar - after half the album a listener new to the universe of Faust is probably so confused that he/she won't be sure if the pause track is a homage to John Cage's 4'33" or just a simple pause track. Faust demonstrate that now as then they are able to indulge in the most extreme of sound-experiments, since they were a band who simply knew no barriers, whose will to experiment propelled them further and further into uncharted territory, where their contemporaries (and, one must add, also their post-modern and seemingly uninhibited colleagues of today) did not dare to venture. Patchwork can be seen as a worthy descendent of the legendary Faust Tapes - with the difference that here, Faust give the screw one more turn, as if to see how much of that experiment they or their audience can stand. What Irmler produced is uneasy listening of the most inspiring kind. I've always loved Faust for their ability to shake the foundations of one's hardened understanding of what music is and how it should sound. The word 'compromise' was never in Faust's dictionary. They only were one thing: Faust. And this job they did better than anyone else.
Ralf Bei der Kellen, "Patchwork 1971 - 2002", Intro 2002