Sunday, November 30, 2008

Faust - Faust Tapes

"The album fades in slowly in a cacophony of rainy city blues, droning synthesizers and tonelessness. An abrupt edit cuts suddenly to a call and answer vocal and drum groove and. . . bang! A savage edit into. .. a ballad. Piano, drums, acoustic guitar, Eno-ish synthesizer and voice. A ballad. Except that the vocals were intriguingly trans-Atlantic and sounded insightfully psychedelic in a badly-translated way. It was charming: "When you leave your place and walk in someone other's garden, Suddenly you see, it's a woman's colour in your mind to be."

Most surprising about The Faust Tapes is the number of truly wonderful pop and rock songs hidden within the cut-ups and experiments of the album's tangled grooves. And halfway through Side I is their most defining Krautrock riff of all. It's another of Faust's Krautrock/Family Stone/Temptations trips in the tradition of "It's a Rainy Day". A scientific German-American voice makes pronouncements over the groove and Gunter Wüsthoff's sax tears along over a loopy breakneck driving beat, as the call and answer of life kicks in: "Chet-vah Buddha, Cherra-loopiz Chet-vah Buddha, Cherra-loopiz. Chet-vah Buddha, Cherra-loopiz Chet-vah Buddha, Cherra-loopiz."

50,000 copies of The Faust Tapes were sold in 1973 and the night they played at Birmingham Town Hall, it seemed as though those words could become a football anthem. The Heads were taking over. Soon after, as we lay in my friend Cott's caravan listening to The John Peel Show, out of nowhere the DJ began to read out the names of the 20 or more songs from The Faust Tapes. The sleeve and label of the LP had showed no titles to any of the songs and Cott raced around trying to find a pen. It was all over in half-a-minute and all I could remember was some title about Humphrey Bogart. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that John Peel was in on Faust's intended wind-up of its audience - that we were only meant to hear the titles fleetingly and race around like half-wits. And Faust were right.

. . it was their persistence in the Entirety of their trip that makes them so legendary now. Even better, The Faust Tapes was the social phenomenon of 1973, and it finally brought the true avant garde into everyone's living room, for a short while at least. But most of all this LP revealed just which side of the fence everyone was really standing. In April 1980, Jim Kerr, leader of dinosaurs Simple Minds, gleefully told me how he and his mates had all chucked their copies of The Faust Tapes off the roof of a Glasgow tenement. Enough Said? I'm sure that's the phrase." - Julian Cope

Tapes

4 comments:

  1. It only dawned on me quite recently that what sounds like "Chet-vah Buddah, Cherra Loopiz" is actually JH Péron speaking French: "J'ai mal aux dents / J'ai mal aux pieds aussi" ("I have a toothache / I have a footache too"). I kid you not.

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  2. PS Great blog by the way :-)

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