Saturday, 13 December 2014

Faust – Just Us (Bureau B)

Three stars
Like a little army of trolls marching out of the shadows, this latest
opus from the Jean Herve Peron/Zappi Diermaier version of Germany's
veteran kosmische hippy Dadaists creeps up on you slowly. Peron's
looming bass and Diermaier's martial drums set a moody tone before
exploding into the extended guitar wig-out of the album's opening
assault, 'Gerubelt'.

After more than forty years in the saddle, Peron and Diermaier have
styled this new release as jUSt, a set of twelve semi-improvised
bare-bones rhythm-driven sound sculptures designed to be rebuilt by
anyone who fancies a bash at adding their own touches to it. Whether
the end result will find Krautrock copycats indulging in
fantasy-wish-fulfilment hero-worship or inspire something more
interesting remains to be seen. What's left in the meantime is a group
of miniatures far less formless than mere backing tracks.

Stripped back to basics, the same rush of primal physicality best
captured in Faust's live shows rushes through a series of tunes that
sometimes resemble mediaeval ragas pulsed by the makeshift mechanics of
a sewing machine metronome or else what sounds like the entire contents
of the duo's toolbox.

Elsewhere, 'Nur Nous' is a minimalist sketch for piano and drums, while
'Palpitations' is seven and a half minutes of exactly that.
Onomatopoeia permeates other titles, including the magnificently named
horn-led cacophony that is 'eeeeeeh...'

There are vocal tracks too, with 'Ich bin ein Pavian' as good-naturedly
declamatory as a Kurt Schwitters routine before giving way to the
surprisingly understated finale of 'Ich sitze immer noch'. This
punctuates its pretty guitar melodies with what sounds like a dog
barking and the endlessly insistent sound of rain.

With plans afoot to repeat the album's exercise in de/reconstruction in
the live arena by collaborating with local musicians wherever they tour
– a move not unlike former Can vocalist Damo Suzuki's never-ending solo
sojourns using local 'sound carriers' at each date – Faust's strategy
is both economically viable and potentially gloriously unpredictable.


The List, December 2014

ends

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