Skip to main content

FAUST - FAUST IV album review, Plan B magazine 2005

Faust IV (Virgin)
All you end up doing when talking about so much Seventies music is butting your head against the fact that things just can’t sound this charged with naive wonder and innovative reach any more. It ain’t just that rock is getting explored or expanded here, it’s more that its essential limitations are being mapped out so thoroughly, and within songs that are so untutoredly unhinged in content and construction that current rock ‘experimentation’ can’t help sounding like the spoddish trailchasing it usually is. Faust, Neu!, Can, La Dusseldorf, Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Harmonia, Cluster – these bands are stars, events in the firmament seemingly as freewheeling and chaotic as a supernova, yet with an chemical and astrophysical coherence you could spend a lifetime decoding.
   So as ever, listening to Faust, especially on this beautifully remastered reissue of their 1973 swansong, is entirely inspirational, but only in that one would hope music could still be made with this generous vanguard spirit. I never wanna hear a record try and sound like this ever again. I hope this is heard by hip hop producers, grime MCs and doom-metal bands. And I hope post-rock pootlers only hear it to be reminded of why they should have given up a decade before most of them were born. Faust were there, more beautifully, more melodically, more soulfully and sweetly than anyone since.
   The original album sounds startlingly fresh.‘Krautrock’ is pure magic enacted on the brain. But I’d forgotten just what a great rubbery skank ‘The Sad Skinhead’ is, and just what a gorgeous weft of wonder ‘Jennifer’ is, how it stands up to anything off Neu! 75, how it destroys its legion of copyists in subtlety and that headwreckin’ warpyweft of overdriven drone. And we haven’t even got time here to go into the lurid Herzog psychodrama of ‘Just A Second/Picnic/Deuxieme Tableaux’, the Monks-style rattle and belief of ‘Giggly Smile’, or the gorgeous Cantebury cosmonautics of ‘Lauft’ and ‘It’s A Bit Of A Pain’. Just hear them.
   The extra CD pulls together three of the Peel Session tracks (the mindblowing delay-funk of ‘Lurcher’ sits uncannily well with those Miles’ ‘Cellar Door’ sessions currently threatening to swallow up the year, while ‘Do So’ sounds like the fucking Zombies!) and six unreleased tracks recorded by Uwe Nettelbeck. The alternate takes of the bulk of IV are intriguing (and in the case of ‘Jennifer’ and ‘Just A Second’ debatably even better than the originals) but the never-before-heard ‘Piano Piece’ is a shimmering breeze that’s redolent of that heartstopping last minute of the Stones ‘Moonlight Mile’ and prefigures Eno/Fripp’s ‘Evening Star’ by a good couple of years. Ever ahead but crucially taking your hand tenderly every step of the way. Make a pact with all of this soon.


Popular posts from this blog


This was my dream. And it was so vivid it really happened. 
I hired a van. The expense was a concern but I needed the capacity. First the long drive north to Middlesborough. I knew he'd be at home, visiting relatives. Made sure my HeadBag was packed. Blindfolds and ballgags. Rope. Some starved, stroppy badgers. Maxi-pack of chloroform-seeped bogroll from Costco. Masking tape. As I eased onto the M1 I told myself again the story of how it was developed from the need for waterproof ammunition casings in WWII. I had to, I was bored, and it's a long schlep up to 'boro. Idly, after securing a mortgage for a bacon roll at Tibshelf, I had an argument with my other personality about whether Middlesborough was in North Yorkshire, County Durham or Teeside. 
Nothing got resolved. A plain-clothes officer pulled me off in the hardshoulder near Malton and issued stern words about punching myself while driving. No hilarity did ensue. I needed to focus. This was a serious business. By noo…


(photo by Pat Pope, full text)  MANIC STREET PREACHERS  ASTORIA, LONDON  SORRY, lifelong fan, but I’m a new convert. I got into them a week ago and here I am. (They start with “Faster and, after the dub and horrorcore they’ve played, it jarrs and fits perfectly.) OK, see it ain’t attitude cos anyone can do that, just cock a snook and suck your cheeks. It ain’t glamour. Glamour is boring. Glamour is loud pretty people who hug, hug, hug, giggling at your geek self all night. And it ain’t rock’n’roll; it was your rock’n’roll that made a nigger-hater the King, your teddy boys who Paki-bashed for Mosley, Notting Hill 1958, your rock’#n’roll build on SAMBO DON’T SELL. I ain’t interested and the Manics are way beyond that. (“Yes” is Stjepan Mestrovic’s “Balkanisation Of The West” turned punk anthem, as if it could be any more punk. No higher compliment exists.)    The four founding points of Manics songs – one: modern life is untenable. Two: no one ever gets used to loneliness. Three: if tr…

The F.U.N.K 2017 End Of Year Lists Part 1 - Metal

Metal, like hip hop, has had a fucking great 2017. Like hip hop its manifold joys can mainly be found away from the mainstream, certainly light-years distant from the kinds of boybands-with-guitars that seemingly dominate Kerrang-style metal culture. So most of my favourite metal from this year has come from slightly off the beaten track (so much great stuff coming out of Italy this year), much of it found via Bandcamp and those metal bloggers who are so ably covering the anti-scene at the moment. 

Needs saying actually - metal, like hip hop, is one area of music where blogging and word-of-mouth is all the guidance I need anymore - haven't been NEAR a metal mag this year and don't feel like I've missed anything. The bloggers care, and know their stuff so thanks to Angry Metal Guy and Cvlt Nation  and No Clean Singing and Heavy Blog Is Heavy  and The Sludgelord for keeping me vaguely in touch with the best metal in 2017, they've been invaluable. 

These are the metal/doom…