Now, of course, Faust can usually be found recording on their own Klangbad label. And they are not the only ones. First Steps is a sampler which features artists who have gathered to record a variety of left field, often equally unique, music. They are not simply Faust-alikes. In fact none of these bands sound much like their godfathers. Could you imagine them allowing that to happen anyway ? Not, perhaps, unless it was some sort of ironic statement.
These artists share a label but have their own identities. Dalek, for example are a trio featuring a rapper of the same name and some turntable manipulation. It is an angry relentless sound but very much shaped by a song structure not the free industrial noises of Faust. More delicately, S/T create post Kraftwerk melodies with tinkling keyboards and distant deadpan vocals while Audiac dabble in some the vacant territory created by the silence of Portishead. It is not as disturbing perhaps but the use of strings and Hammond organ creates an unsettling atmosphere. A sense of alienation prevails.
There are some unusual sounds here but perhaps the oddest combination comes from Ole Lukkeye, a band from St Petersburg. At first I thought they'd been mixing influences from India and somewhere vaguely Nordic. Not easy to categorise but very trance-like with chanting, drones, bells and percussion blended with what must be a brass or wind instrument. They have a very passionate sounding singer too though I've no idea what he is being passionate about. Does it matter ? It sounds great. And so do Circle, who, in parts, do reveal some Faustian influence in their use of relentless drumming and swathes of guitar noise that boil and shriek then fade away. Space rock rather than krautrock, maybe. They also utilise some gentler atmospheric acoustic guitar on Northern Sky And apparently they sing in an artificial language too but not on these two tracks.
Finally, solo Faust man, Irmler, and the whole band contribute a piece each. The keyboard man constructs a dark suspension of sound, at once liquid and brittle, that swells and ebbs. It is an identifiable sound, a portion amputated from the collective Faust sound, and is part of a solo project. The whole band hammer into I Can, U 2? with more of their trademark maniac drumming dominating that mesh of industrial thrash. There are sketches of keyboard and what sounds like Michael Stoll's scraped acoustic bass but, as ever, the whole matters more than the parts and it is an exciting example of their open-ended approach to musical construction.
What I like about these two albums is the sense of musical diversity and, in the case of Faust particularly, a stubborn drive to do it their way and see if the listening world catches on and keeps up.