Some bands form because they want to be famous and make money. Some bands form because they want to see endless lengths of motorway from the back of a rusty Leyland Sherpa. Some bands form because they want to get laid in the back of a rusty Leyland Sherpa. Faust weren’t like those bands, probably because they were an experimental prog-rock act from 1970s Germany. Faust formed because they wanted to make music that sounded like absolutely nothing else that had ever gone before, then play it on pneumatic drills. Naked.
While their contemporaries Kraftwerk made sleek, repetitious records, Faust meandered, threw away good ideas and took the piss. But if it’s uniformity and consistency you're after, stick with Keane.
If you like the idea of stoned German guys making wildly adventurous music while wearing wildy adventurous beards, this is the album for you. ‘Faust IV’ invented shoegazing, acid house and Indonesian ska. Yes, only two of these genres actually caught on, but you get the point.
Formed by ex-music hack Uwe Nettelbeck in Wumme, Germany in 1971, the band in Wumme, Germany in 1971, the band spent their advance on converting a former schoolhouse into a recording studio, allowing them to make their music free from outside influences. Their third album, 1973’s 'The Faust Tapes’ became an unlikely success after their label, Virgin, decided they should sell it for the price of a single, meaning that an astonishing 50,000 people bought it. History has not recorded how many of those 50,000 people threw the record out of the window when they realised it consisted of one (brilliant) 46-minute track composed of tape loops and cut-ups, but it made them cult favourites.
Not that they cared about fame, as their confrontational (Faust is German for ‘fist’) live shows proved. Playing in semi-darkness surrounded by muted TV sets, the closest they got to actually performing was when French frontman Jean-Herve Peron played a pinball machine connected to a synth, carved words into the stage with a chainsaw or stripped off and brandished power tools
in a manner best described as 'ill-advised'.
'Faust IV' was also released in 1973 and it was a massive commercial failure. Virgin dropped them, they went bankrupt and their studio was repossessed - but not before they’d stripped everything they could from it and smashed up the rest.
This was a shame, because this album was where the band consolidated all their different sounds into one gonzo whole. Some of it, like 'Just A Second (Starts Like That!)’ is almost Beatlesy, although it's a Beaties that have been left in someone's jeans pocket in the washing machine.
Some of it - 'Jennifer' - is folky. Some of it - 12-minute opening track ‘Krautrock’ -consists solely of ambient washes of synth and guitar, being one of the first pop records to make the link between music and noise. It’s not for the faint hearted, certainly, but if you want to hear something simultaneously moving, disorientating and funny, head here.
2. The Sad Skinhead
4. Just A Second (Starts Like That!)/Picnic On A Frozen River/Deuxieme Tableux
5. Giggy Smile
6. Lauft...Heisst Das Es Lauft Oder Es Kommt Bald...Lauft
7. It's A Bit Of Pain
1. The Lurcher
3. Do So
4. Jennifer (Alternate Version)
5. The Sad Skinhead (Alternate Version)
6. Just A Second (Starts Like That ) (Extended Version)
7. Piano Piece
8. Lauft...Heisst Das Es Lauft Oder Es Kommt Bald...Lauft (Alternative Version)
9. Giggy Smile (Alternative Version)