Thursday, March 3, 2022

Faust-"Daumenbruch"; Erototox Decodings, 2022


That cover art though, right? Disaster Amnesiac feels that it absolutely sums up the Faust modus operandi vis a vis just about everything and everyone. If you know anything about Faust, you know that they have always been a middle finger salute towards the world. Not that I'm sure they're not really nice guys, mind you; Disaster Amnesiac has a really nice memory of bumping into Zappi Diermaier on Valenica St. in San Francisco before a Faust show, dude was friendly and pleasant enough. Still, Faust were, are, and (seemingly) shall remain a bastion of free thought and free action within a world of conformity. 

Speaking of Zappi, here on "Daumenbruch", he is the last man standing from the original gruppe. Where has Jean Harve Peron gone? Hopefully he's OK! Hopefully he and Zappi have not had some weird falling out. That said, Herr Deirmaier seems to have used the opportunity well, and taken firm hold of Faust's direction. This direction is one that is sehr gehmutlich for listeners such as myself, as the group, expanded to an octet of seasoned German musicians and sound artists, boils up three tracks of long form Teutonic Dub, all of which roil and broil with heavy moods and atmospheres. 

"Daumenbruch" kicks off with Weisse Schockolade, twenty two minutes of primal klang that is lead by the initial recording trio of Diermaier, Dirk Dresselhaus on guitar and bass, and Elke Drapatz on percussion and electronics. These three recorded live, and this track, along with the other two, have the characteristic organic feel of a group of people melding their rhythms in the same room. Zappi's heavy, simple beats reign supreme for this kind of action, going all the way back fifty years now. Somehow, Disaster Amnesiac figures he's never going to name checked within the Great Drummer Pantheon, but I doubt that he cares about those kinds of things, especially as he's pounding away. Dresselhaus locks in with Diermaier all the way through, guiding the ears as the piece slides languidly by. Drapatz, along with Gunther Wusthof as Spieluhr, Andrew Unruh on metal percussion, Uwe Bastiansen on guitars and samples, Joachin Arbeit on gutiar and loops, and Sonja Kosche on self-made instruments, harp, and ventilator, all add various sonic textures, riffs, melodic fragments, clicks, clanks, burrs, and buzzes to the mix. Immersive sonic therapy that rewards attentive listening as the drums and bass keep the focus up. Every player seems to place their accents just so within this matrix, leaving plenty of space for their partners. Yeah, just keep that ventilator away from my lungs, and it's all good here on Weisse Schockolade

The journey continues with Default Mood. Sparse percussion and electronics set the stage for dissonant guitar chords and loops. The Neubauten guys (Unruh and Arbeit) make their band's presence felt here more than anywhere else on "Daumenbruch", with their excellent use of dramatic silences and spaces. Somehow, Disaster Amnesiac doubts that this was any bother to Zappi. I can't know how he feels about them, but I've often felt that Einsturzende were the natural successors to Faust. It's cool that they've joined forces! About half-way through, the pace quickens, more players throw their sounds into it, and Zappi is marching Default Mood into that great Faust place: all intense, serious German Psychedelic vibes. This form is quite unique, and has had many years to develop. It has done so with a high minded grace that has, thankfully, stuck to its initial aesthetic vision. One could imagine oneself hearing this as a new release in 1972, let alone 2022. This is entirely a good thing! 

"Daumenbruch" concludes with Border River. This piece seems to tie its two predecessors together, in that it has all of the brooding atmospheric action of Schockolade and the pensive feels of Mood. Zappi, as is his way, leads the action with more of that sublime, powerful drumming as the other percussionists accent in syncopation with his advance. Guitars buzz and trill, vaguely Classical bits emerge, drills whinge. Disaster Amnesiac first heard River on KFJC on one recent afternoon, and, before I knew that it was by Faust, it perked up my ears something fierce. Now that it's known to me as a piece by Faust, and I've digested it more, I feel that it may be the the best Faust track ever! All of the elements that make Faust such a special band, all of the sounds that congeal into that singular Faust feel are there, big time, with non-showy electronics and brooding, moody voices pushing the listener into zones of abstraction, possibly uncomfortable, but ultimately mind expanding and radically creative. A unique brand of Heavy Metal, really. 

Many bands these days are going into their fifth decade, but, seriously, how many of them can claim to still be pushing their creative envelope within a really existing voice? Faust can, most certainly. "Daumenbruch" shows that Faust is an unstoppable creative force, even as it takes on an entirely new form. Just, please, someone tell me that Jean Harve Peron is doing fine?

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