Review : Untitled and you know faUSt

Jeremy Rotsztain

Freq, 1997

Faust, one of the greatest bands to come out of Germany in the 70's, did a fantastic job of terrorizing rock music. Twenty years later, they are back again, currently reduced to a three man line-up of Zappi Diermaier, Hans Joachim Imler, and Jean-Hervé Péron. The Untitled, CD, 6 tracks in all, features live & well-remixed songs along with new ones.

As usual, Faust make it difficult to determine which tracks are which, giving titles like A 70's Event to Krautrock (IV) and Komm mit to a untitled track off of the The Faust Tapes (the one with the chorus "you are the one to be me"). The first track, titled Not Nearest By, is an un-familiar masterpiece with deep bass rhythms, and dare I say "funky" horns (off of So Far). Fourth on the CD is a wonderful live 1995 version of the Sad Skin Head complete with strangely-enthusiastic vocals, concluded with the screaming of "shut up". Expecting S. In Love, one of the new tracks, is a sad, intricate, cliche acoustic piece with a bit of humming - it is almost a ballad without vocals. Fastened 60/60, another new one, includes a riff from you know faUSt's Cendre which is instead played electrically and instrumentally while being repeated over and over again. Untitled comes with a beautiful booklet (The Rachels band are going to have to try hard to keep up with Faust) containing a brief history of Faust taken from the forthcoming Faust book, a discography, some fantastic looking pictures with a direction theme, reviews, and a clip from a map key showing the word Faust located at 55.19 N and 115.38 W.

you know faUSt is like no other Faust record I've heard before. Their music has defiantly changed from fuzzy, noisier rock to a well produced, more cliched, mocking of rock music - with the exception of a few tracks . Ed Pinsett described it best in issue #1 of The Sound Projector - "Faust reformed in 1990 and effectively reinvented themselves around two principle players.. No concessions have been made to fans, no attempt to revive the 'classic' Faust years; instead, they have deliberately taken themselves apart, stripped their music down to a scaffolding framework, and opened up the interior space".

Each track seems to make the listener more and more confused. None of the 17 track times coincide with the times listed in the inserts, the songs does not flow, nor bear no similarities to each other in terms of style in any way. The opening track, one of the strongest, begins with the band screaming and enters a deep repetitive one-bar bass groove with heavy drums, much like Munic A (71 minutes of...). The second track is hard to call a song - but you can picture it in your head. Imagine someone running up a creaky set of stairs with pots on every four or so steps, banging on each pot as he or she passes it - simple. The third is a soft, pleasant piece using droning horns and organs backed by feedback and simple drums, getting louder as time passes until the end. Next, after a quiet pause of drilling noises, is an 21-second extract from the Untitled CD now called Irons. Track 6 is one of my favourites - an almost spaghetti like-western cliche with French lyrics, and predictable twangy guitar and heavy bass lines. It is almost the perfect mocking of a song. Track 8 is a mess of fuzzy, atmospheric keyboard synths, noisy drums and bass. 9, titled winds, sounds like an analog version of cricket noises and continuously flows into track 10 - until a deep bass sound knocks it over. 11 is almost like a fairly tale with cymbals and a Twinkle-Twinkle-like xylophone "we are the men from the moon, we are the people up in the sky, it is so good to be here, it is so good to be here, but now its time to say goodby..". The bass horns join in and are soon followed by a operatic singing of the vocals. 12 sounds like it if from a soundtrack, perhaps the summoning of a king during the middle ages with horns. 13 is a 20 second clip of ambient sounds and distorted guitars while track 14 is so low end and distorted that it is too hard to make anything out except for the drums and quiet screaming. Perhaps one shouldn't be trying to solve any of the mysteries behind Faust's music, and just appreciate it for how great it is.

Jeremy Rotsztain, "Review", Freq 1997