Faust – j US t
- Neil Cooper
- 16 December 2014
Semi-improvised, back to basics, rhythm-driven sound sculptures designed to be rebuilt by anyone
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 40 years in the saddle, Peron and Diermaier have styled this new release as j US t – pronounced Just Us – a set of 12 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 neverending solo sojourns using local 'sound carriers' at each date – Faust's strategy is both economically viable and potentially gloriously unpredictable.