Thursday, March 24, 2016

"The Faust Tapes" by Faust (May, 1973)

Brad's Take:

Well, this is awkward... The Faust Tapes consists of two untitled 20+ minute long songs. Actually, nay. I wouldn't call these "songs." Let's just call them "tracks" as they're basically just a bunch of segements of "stuff" glued together. 

"Stuff" includes: 
- Noise
- Static
- People talking
- Actual songs
- Ambient instrumental interludes
- Creepy vocal things that sound like ghosts crying (actually scary)
- Other sounds I can't describe

Needless to say, this is a very strange (yet interesting) album, and even quite enjoyable, actually. I was not expecting to actually be as entertained as I ended up being. There's some really weird stuff on here. I had fun trying to figure out what they were actually using to make these sounds. The way they blended so many different sounds together and wove all of these weird segments into each other takes some real creativity and artistic vision. It's not as easy as just recording random sounds and calling it an album. The Faust Tapes isn't something you'd put in your car stereo and blast with your windows down with your friends. This is a very unique and interesting that begs for your attention. I'd highly suggest listening to it in headphones so you can experience the stereo mixing. I'm actually kind of sad that it's already over...

Dad's Take:

Interesting history on this one. Faust signed with a new label and part of the agreement was to give the label the recordings they'd done since their previous album for nothing so they could release it at a very low price. The result is an album of fragments pieced together to form a whole.

As the boy said, much of this is actually quite good, kind of a jazzy prog-rock, mixed with some studio experimentation. Some of the experiments remind me of some of Brian Wilson's recordings of chants and musical fooling around during the Smile sessions, mixed with some of John Lennon's sound collages from the last couple years of the Beatles catalog. They work pretty well, for the most part. Most of the fragments are short enough that even the "wayest outest" experiments don't get tedious. The whole thing is actually pretty mesmerizing.

Some of my favorite tracks include "Untitled," "Untitled," "Der Baum," and the surprisingly catchy bit of jazz-funk, "Untitled."

Unlike most of the classics on our list, this is one that completely escaped my attention until we started going through the list. It wasn't part of the seventies air I breathed like many of the other albums. In fact, I wasn't even aware it existed back in the day. I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it that much in my early teens. But I like it more than I expected now.

This might not be the record to put on during your next dance party, but it makes for an interesting listen, one that will reveal new discoveries in subsequent spins.

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