Monday, May 3, 2010
Faust, FAUST IV
Virgin, 1973; available, and the 2007 remaster comes with a bonus disc (see review)
Disc 1 (or the album itself): 7 tracks, 44:19. Disc 2: 9 tracks, 57:04.
Faust surely need no introduction here, so let's get to the facts! For this reissue, Virgin have put FAUST IV proper on the first disc while loading the second with outtakes, alternate versions, and a Peel session. FAUST IV never really got the same degree of admiration that FAUST, SO FAR, and THE FAUST TAPES received; hopefully this set will change that! Containing such grade-A pieces as the noisy epic "Krautrock" and the moody VU-esque "Jennifer", this isn't Faust selling out or going for mainstream acceptance, no matter what reviews at the time claimed. Certainly "It's A Bit Of Pain" (which is a perfectly sweet folky tune interrupted by loud atonal synth buzzing), the folky "Läuft... Heisst Das Es Läuft Oder Es Kommt Bald... Läuft", and the bizarre proto-new wave/ska hybrid "The Sad Skinhead" are more listenable than anything off the first album or THE FAUST TAPES, but that's overlooking the fairly accessible SO FAR. In fact, not a single one of these seven tracks is unremarkable, and any of them COULD have been on an earlier album. That alone makes FAUST IV worth revisting, but the bonus disc REALLY seals the deal. The first three tracks are a Peel session from 1973, featuring a version of "Krautrock" along with the jazzy "The Lurcher" and a delightful piece of avant-pop called "Do So". While this IS available elsewhere, it's nice to have it with other period rarities. Those rarities include a previously unreleased "Piano Piece" which by itself would have made a truly lovely bonus with its swirling percussions and abstract vocal touches (plus the gorgeous piano, of course!). The rest of the disc consists of alternate versions, some of which are radically different from the released versions. For example, the extended version of "Just A Second (Starts Like That!)" stretches the two-minute original to ten and a half minutes of burning psychedelia. The other really notable alternate is "Jennifer:, with emphasis on the guitar instead of the bass and the ending trimmed. It's arguably better than the version that ended up on FAUST IV. If you already have the first three and weren't sure about this one, trust me, it's every bit as essential. If you're new to Faust, this might even be a good place to start. Oh, and once again: DEFINITELY go for the double-disc edition and not the single-disc!