Faust Impressions

Keith Moline

The Wire, May 2005

Thanks to Jim Donnelly for scanning this review

There's a point halfway through Faust's 12 minute fuzz epic Krautrock that constitutes one of the great moments in recorded music. The monolithic, bloated distortion set up by the guitars and electronics is suddenly cleaved apart by Zappi Dierrnaier's massive, threshing drambeat, the music wobbling uncertainly for a few moments until the rhythm is established. It's a perfect example of the ragged fallibility that humanises Faust's work, and it's the aspect of their aesthetic that Diermaier seizes on with his 11 video analogues of tracks, some previously unreleased, culled from various points in their long history.

Great care has been taken with the musical preparation, adding new elements to classic tracks like So Far and It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl; but these are restricted to the outer reaches of the surround sound spectrum, leaving the original music intact. Conversely, sounds from their early years in their communal studio at Wumme have been added to more recent material, making for a cohesive body of work despite its content spanning three decades.

Diermeier's visual work is fearlessly literal. Because Rainy Day reminds him of the Wumme winter when it was recorded, he offers seven minutes of snow footage. In a sly reference to the controversial implications of the term Krautrock, he reclaims the word by presenting the track of the same name as a "hotch potch of scenes just like sauerkraut". The editing and image processing seem at first to be simplistic and intrusive, but somehow it works remarkably well. There's a childlike tastelessness to the visuals that connects perfectiy with Faust's kitchen sink aesthetic. Also included is a 30 minute CD taster for Dierrnaier's next DVD I Spin, featuring evocative street recordings overlaid with his ferocious percussion. Interesting enough, but trying to match the power of Krautrock is an unenviable task.

Keith Moline, "Faust Impressions", The Wire 2005