faust -

edinburgh jaffa cake

21/8/97

 

'This is fake DIY' sing angst-pop kids bis. And quite rightly too. But what about real DIY? And what about the older generation?

Fore-fathers (no, make that grandfathers) of Kraut-rock, and Julian Cope's favourite band (and both of these are supposed to be recommendations, by the way), Faust have emerged from the underground to a host of acclaim and general adulation, getting on for 30 years after they started out. They've always been a band of mystery, only really known to the afficianados who follow the band, and there are a few of them here in the Jaffa Cake tonight, seemingly having followed them here from all parts of the country.The stage set is something to behold, looking like a scrapyard with bits of metal and odd sculptures everywhere, and what looks a bit like a welder's workbench centre stage. The band take the stage and of course, to the uninitiated, it's not entirely clear where the line between tuning up and actual 'songs' lies. The main man - could be Faust himself, since some of the sounds emenating from the massive speaker system clerarly aren't of this world - is the only one who makes any contact with the audience, and takes centre stage. He beats drums, performs vocals in places, works the workbench - for those unfamiliar with the back catalogue the evening is more about the stageshow with the music providing a soundtrack for the events onstage.

  It's the other members of the band who provide this... ah yes, there's a bassist, guitarist, a chap who spends a lot of time seemingly repairing equipment, and a percussionist who doubles up as pyrotechnics roadie when he's not hitting a rack of mediaeval torture instruments... so, those visuals...  plentiful smokebombs whch rather uncharitably blew back into the audience, also plenty of fireworks going off, both the smoky and flaming type, loud BANGS every so often, plus a klaxon which you might be forgiven for thinking was a call to clear the building, setting the floor of the camera pit ON FIRE, then throwing painted rocks at it to put it out (I'd like to believe that these were Berlin Wall relics but I couldn't be sure), plus general tomfoolery with blowtorches, lathes, and other items. Faust are clearly people who know where things are at B&Q. The equipment aside, they are very much DIY in that they don't use samples - if they want a sound that sounds like a couple of cars colliding, they get some bits of metal and perform the thing onstage, live, and without concern for their own personal safety. Or, quite possibly, the audience.The music? Ah yes, knew there was something. In fact, very powerful indeed. As previously discussed, pretty unearthly, though in those pieces which had a rhythm pounding through them the inevitable comparisons with Can and other Krautrock giants has to be made, though Faust are 100 times more of a challenge than any of the big names of Teutonic rock.  
 There are inevitable comparisons to be made with the likes of Throbbing Gristle, This Heat and that other German band who are a nightmare to spell, Einstruzende Neübaten. But you must remember that Faust were collapsing other people's property before most of these bands were out of short trousers. Today's crop of noise terrorists, from Mogwai to Jessamine owe a debt to Faust, who can still put on a show after all this time. For a bunch of old guys they ROCK hard.