Krautrock; it’s a word not too many people can honestly say they know. It’s experimental, psychedelic, progressive, jazzy, and electronic. It’s a niche genre, and not too many newer bands are willing to dive into it. If you were to Google Search “krautrock,” almost all of the bands mentioned were established in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, one of those bands being Faust. Faust is an interesting band, starting off as one of the first acts signed to Virgin Records, and then experiencing a split of sorts. Faust became two separate bands, each focusing on different musical aspects of the original project. The Faust I reviewed, though, is comprised of drummer Zappi Diermaier and multi-instrumentalist Jean-Hervé Péron.
j US t (pronounced “Just Us”) is a walk on the experimental side, as it starts out with seemingly random percussive hits and a quiet bassline; strange noises are introduced as the song goes on, including what sounds like metallic breathing. A guitar unexpectedly comes in, soloing over a droning guitar, all while cymbals and toms are played a few steps short of free meter. Most of the following songs contain very little form, although the near-constant barrage of Diermaier’s claypot percussion and hi hat cymbal keep a steady beat for Péron’s atonal jams.
“NäHmaschine” (German for “sewing machine”) reaches an experimental high point for the duo in which, as the name suggests, a sewing machine is used as a metronome and Péron plays an improvisational solo on either a sitar or koto. Though the name is German, the song has a distinctive Asian sound to it, from both the instrumentation and the tonal intervals used in the solo.
In all honesty, j US t is not the most accessible album; the average listener might not find it as enjoyable as, say, Taylor Swift. That should not diminish its value, though, for it is a beautiful journey into experimental music, and just goes to show you that even with 40 years of experience, Faust is still able break new musical ground.
In A Hyphenated Word: Far-Out