2004: Faust / Dälek: Derbe Respect, Alder

Images: Dälek


1993CDStaubgold / Klangbad / Indigo


Released: 2004
Recorded: Dürmentingen, 2003
Still TurntablesDälek
Will BrooksMCDälek / Dälek
Werner DiermaierDrumsaka Zappi
Produced: Hans Joachim IrmlerOrgan, Electronics
Steven Wray LobdellGuitar
Alap MominProducerDälek / The Oktopus
Lars PaukstatPercussion
Engineered: John Silk
Michael StollBass


*Faust: Imagine What We Started7.04
Recorded with Dälek
*Faust: Hungry for Now3.03
Recorded with Dälek
*Faust: Remnants4.00
Recorded with Dälek
*Faust: Dead Lies8.27
Recorded with Dälek
*Faust: Erratic Thoughts0.56
Recorded with Dälek
*Faust: Bullets Need Violence8.15
Recorded with Dälek
*Faust: Collected Twilight6.21
Recorded with Dälek
*Faust: T-Electronique6.36
  (aka T-Electronique, T-Electronique (Ware Remix), Meltdown of T-Electronique & Apokalypse, T-Electronique (Death of Komarov)) 
Recorded with Dälek






Ralf Bei der Kellen: Faust vs Dälek Sleevenotes

What do Faust and Bob Dylan have in common? Well, both have been in the music business for over 30 years now and still manage to surprise their fans with each new album. In the description of their music, the adjective 'unpredictable' crops up frequently. On Derbe Respekt, Alder Faust surprise their fans by joining forces with American hiphop-artists Dälek.

Faust vs Dalek: Derbe Respect, AlderDälek are a three-piece hiphop-outfit from New Jersey. Will Brooks (a.k.a. MC Dälek) is responsible for lyrics, Alap Momin (a.k.a. The Octopus) is the producer and Hsi-Chang Linaka (a.k.a. Still) handles the turntables. Their open-mindedness towards musical influences was boundless from the beginning and so it is small wonder that they soon hit on German Krautrock-survivors Faust as a source for interesting samples. Through a mutual acquaintance they sent a CD to Faust's Klangbad-label. Co-founder Hans-Joachim Irmler was so impressed with it that he decided to release their album From The Filthy Tongues Of Gods And Griots on Klangbad. He also invited the band to record at the label's own studio. Once there, it turned out that the musical grounds both bands covered was identical in large parts. Dälek's noisy loops (in which they bury tiny melodies) and their penchant for LOUD!ness have their counterparts in Faust's sound. Thus a collaboration seemed logical. In the course of two years the three sessions which spawned the music on this album took place. The high point of these saw the two outfits appearing side by side on stage at the Bonn Bad Klibi-festival 2003 in Switzerland. What Dälek and many of their hiphop-contemporaries express through words - protest against and rejection of the social status quo - is exactly what Faust have expressed trough music during the last 30+ years. Consequently, this album is nothing for the faint-hearted, its music is merciless, straight in your face, at times even brutal. At times it sounds like harsh Industrial or 'Illbient'. Some of the sounds seem to have a direct connection to those produced by the machines Luigi Russolo built in the second decade of the last century. With them, the futurist imitated the sounds of his surroundings and times (cars, aeroplanes, machines, the city, etc). Like him, Faust and Dälek rap and play the world they are part of and which is not always sunny and bright. The instrumental opening track for example sounds like heavy artillery fire, Faust and Dälek crank their volumes up to, er, 11. In the second track, the combination of Faust's apocalyptic sound and the hiphop-lyrics of Will Brooks sounds like the soundtrack to a modern film noir, which mirrors the alienated life of ghetto-dwellers. The album's final track is an update of T-Electronique, a track originally released on Faust's 1999 album Ravvivando. Dälek lend the song additional lyrics and shoot it through with samples, so that it sounds like a remix of the original. From this perspective Derbe Respekt, Alder could be seen in a straight line with the remix-idea of the last two Faust-records Freispiel and Patchwork.

On Derbe Respekt, Alder, Dälek are showing their respect to Faust - as it is common in hiphop. This collaboration blesses the 'elder' Faust with a second youth. Their sound on Respekt is crude like a wrecking ball and thudding like a pile-driver. This is probably the hardest and most uncompromising music Faust ever made.

Ralf Bei der Kellen, "Faust vs Dälek Sleevenotes", Staubgold 2004
ref: Dälek
ref: Staubgold


Alap Momin (a.k.a. Still): Faust vs Dälek Sleevenotes

I remember the first time I ever heard Faust. I must've been about 20 and I was getting really into the whole Krautrock thing. I was at someone's house and we were talking about Can and Kraftwerk and Neu. I was familiar with those bands and had been hearing the name Faust for a while. The first thing I heard from them was The Last LP from 1971-75. I remember thinking it was insane. I was already a huge fan of My Bloody Valentine and the Velvet Underground as well as a slew of other ambient and noise bands, but this was unlike anything I had ever heard in my life, and it was years ahead of most of the bands I was into at the time. From that moment on I was sold. I went out and bought whatever Faust I could get my hands on. Rien, Faust IV, and You Know Faust soon became staples for me. Then in 2001 I got Ravvivando. It was unbelievable that these guys had started making records more than 30 years ago, but weather you picked up one of there albums from 1971 or 2001 it would still knock you on your ass. Most bands will at some point in there musical career put out at least one record or more in many cases that don't have the feel or fire of there earlier days, but somehow Faust managed to stay on track without repeating themselves. This is a quality I haven't seen in ANY other band before or since EVER. When we were asked to collaborate with the almost mythical legends I thought, it couldn't possibly be THE Faust. Its gotta be some other band with the same name. Why in the world would Faust ever want to work with some hiphop group from New Jersey?? It seemed totally ridiculous. But it ended up happening, and more importantly working. The fact is Dälek could never make the music we do if Faust hadn't been there to show us a different way of looking at music. I think we would've made decent records, but not nearly to the sonic excesses that we got from biting Faust.

Much respect to Jochen, Zappi, and past and present members of Faust. Thanks for letting Dälek be a small part of the legend.

Alap Momin (a.k.a. Still), "Faust vs Dälek Sleevenotes", Staubgold 2004
ref: Dälek


Paul Donnelly: Faust vs. Dälek: Krautrock Meets Hip Hop

It would be difficult to predict the outcome of a collaboration between two such disparate musical outfits as these. I mean hip-hop and krautrock, or whatever category Faust's music falls into these days, don't suggest themselves immediately as likely partners. Or perhaps that's just my perception. Whatever preconceptions I may have had the resultant recording has blown them away, this really is a natural sounding and productive union.

In any case collaborations have been a predominant feature of Faust releases for a while. We've had the soundtrack to Murnau's silent Nosferatu, the Ravvivando remixes and live work with Ingo Vauk. Whilst I never really thought the live venture with film worked well at least the music it spawned sounded astonishing. So some collaborations are more successful than others. Now this meeting of our 'elder' German noisemeisters with a New York hip-hop trio is an indication that Faust remain open to fruitful collisions wherever they may occur.

It is often difficult to say who is producing what sound on Faust releases and since Dälek also make use of loops, samples and savagery it is even more difficult to know who is doing what. Of course this is indicative of how well the two units blend. The opening track is a suitable example with sheets of metallic sound emanating from who knows where - Irmler's keyboards, Dälek's samples ? It doesn't matter of course. Then Zappi Diermaier's trademark explosive drumming grafts a rhythmic spine onto the piece and faint, ethereal organ makes a brief entrance. All recognisable ingredients of the Faust sound. But what about Dälek's contribution ?

A facet that has largely been missing since Faust reconvened, and since Jean-Hervé Péron left, is a voice, apart from Zappi Diermaier's sporadic Teutonic harangues, that is. What Dälek bring maybe more than anything else is a voice that matches the brutal alienation of much of the music.

Will Brooks' lyrics are well to the fore on Hungry For Now as he lashes out over the fierce drumming and electronic undercurrents. Somewhere in the depths of the track Michael Stoll's bass grinds and judders propelling the music forward. Brooks' voice takes on a more disembodied state on Remnants whispering against the grainy, forbidding landscape. Again, this has all the hallmarks of Faust but the vocals introduce a further dimension, an eerie, disconsolate one.

Organ and drums simmer at the start of Dead Lies, assailed by desiccated sound storms and the growl of Steven Lobdell's monstrous guitar. This is pure Faust once more but when the disturbed vocals tear into the maelstrom they are in no way out of place. This is perhaps the best fusion of the two bands and is especially effective when Brooks' voice clashes with Lobdell's playing.

Bullets Need Violence is another metallic foray from the percussive arsenal with Stroll's bass as undertow but it also gives more space to the words and the bleak discomforting soundscape merges exactly with what is being said. In this unrelenting harshness Faust's industrial noise is the ideal companion to the lyrics. These words are also foregrounded on Collected Twilight a version of the single they released as a taster. The Zappi/Stoll drum'n'bass grounds the whole thing while unidentified electronic noise flies around it.

This is the sound I have come to identify as Faust and its presence cannot help but dominate the recording. Those slabs of industrial destruction in tandem with Zappi's titanic percussive attack are prevalent on this track and elsewhere, like the start of T-electronique revisited again from Ravvivando and the Freispiel remixes. This time, with Brooks' words slightly submerged in the vortex, the sound harbours greater menace than ever. Even Irmler's organ sounds more threatening than usual.

This meeting of two diverse cultures has proved that they can co-exist dynamically and produce something that is compelling and truly creative, each enhancing the other. No mean feat.

Paul Donnelly, "Faust vs. Dälek: Krautrock Meets Hip Hop", Tangents 2004
ref: Tangents


Dominique Leone: Dälek

True experimentalists never die, they just alienate all their friends by refusing to settle into a comfortable rut. German legends Faust, represented on this collaboration with New Jersey hip-hop mavericks Dälek as Werner 'Zappi' Diermaier, Hans Joachim Irmler, Steven W. Lobdel, Lars Paukstatt and Michael Stoll, have fashioned a pretty unbelievable catalog of tunes from a stubborn insistence on constant movement. Granted, they haven't always moved at the same breathless pace they did in the early 70s, but like their krautrocking peers in Can, Faust have proved to be among the most reliably forward-thinking musicians of their generation.

Small surprise, then, to hear their glorious, droned-out take on hip-hop with Dälek. Derbe Respect, Alder (or 'crude respect, elder') hardly sounds like any hip-hop I've heard; more like a druggy, clamorous collage of industrial noise and feedback, with a stray loop every now and then. Rather than simply using Faust as their backing band, the trio of Dälek (Will Brooks), producer Oktopus (Alap Momin) and turntablist Still (Hsi-Chang Linaka) attack fragments and panic-ridden, acid-damaged jams as raw source material, and opt to spout Last Poets-style free form verse over the more unhinged moments. And like The Last Poets, Dälek's agenda seems politically charged, as titles like Bullets Need Violence indicate. Still, pure sound rules this collaboration, and they produce an intimidating, blunt jab indeed.

Most of the music on Derbe Respect, Alder was recorded in 2002 and 2003 by Faust, then manipulated by Dälek-- though the final (listed) track T-Electronique was taken from Faust's 1999 album Ravvivando. I had first heard the track on the last Wire Tapper compilation, and it is, by some measure, the most straightforward piece on the album. Its bass-heavy, loping drum loop flails like cold, machine-generated funk, but the heavenly organ clusters overhead are pristine and sweet, and could only have come from Germany. Brooks references "filthy tongues slowly severed" and "the constant threat that we easily forget," and aligns himself perfectly with the claustrophobic paranoia of the track. This version of T-Electronique should be a godsend to anyone into hypnotic drone-funk.

Imagine What We Started begins the album with cold wind and deep, unidentifiable bass tones, like stepping into an endless underground tunnel and realizing all the fleeting noises behind and above aren't just products of your ketamine buzz. When the drums hit, all hell breaks loose: Oktopus and Still drench the loop with delay so that Diermaier's drums sound like the work of three men hammering out polyrhythms best suited for inducing motion sickness and hearing loss, yet it's fascinating in its disorientating force (which is one way to describe my feeling for the album in general). Hungry for Now introduces Brooks' voice for the first time on the album, warning, "If I have not met your expectations, try to conceive my frustrations with an earthly tongue," over ever-offcenter drum/bass vamping from Diermaier and Stoll, while Lobdell's guitar stains all available space with guitar drone and feedback approaching white noise. See also the second half of Dead Lies and grotesque motorik of Collected Twighlight for more apocalyptic dream-shriek.

Derbe Respect, Alder is a tough record to size up: On one hand, its middle third can get so dense, so unrelentingly bleak that it takes a particularly receptive thrillseeker to make it through unscathed; on the other, its best moments (for example, the first and last tracks, not counting the brief hidden track) are some of the best music I've heard this year, and their payoffs are reason enough to let the undertow swallow you whole. Regardless, Faust and Dälek demonstrate the capabilities of potent, creative minds and insistent forging ahead of born experimentalists. If that means a few people are left behind, all the better to take in the hardcore bliss on your own.

Dominique Leone, "Dälek", Pitchfork Media 2004
ref: Pitchfork Media