29 November 2007

In Autumn…, by Faust

I have to say, I'm less than convinced. When I bought this box set I was overjoyed: the last recording Faust released was their great collaboration with Dälek in 2004, and I was looking forward to hearing what they'd been up to since then. Such a generous offering (3 CDs and a DVD) seemed just what I needed. But these concerts, taken from a UK tour in late 2005, are not the Faust I'm used to, and are far from what I wanted. In essence, on these recordings you're listening to Faust III, and they bear little resemblance to the Faust who have been releasing albums for the past decade, after a 20-year hiatus. Gone is the seemingly organic industrial experimentation: it's been replaced by tired rehashes of past hits. Most of the tracks have unfamiliar names, and say that they are 'inspired' by Faust songs, but don't be fooled: for the most parts they are just extended jams around old riffs, and there isn't really much inspiration to be found anywhere. For the first time, Faust sound like ageing hippies.

That's not to say In Autumn… is really all that terrible, although admittedly the audio quality is pretty poor. It just sounds like the kind of thing you'd expect a band to produce on a thirty-year reunion: a pale echo of former glories. There's a bit of weirdness thrown in for good measure, and the best things on here are the completely new improvisations. But when, just a year before these recordings, Faust were pretty much cutting edge, In Autumn… comes as a shock to the system.

Recommended only if you have no idea what Faust have been doing since 1975, and you think that So Far and IV are the best things the original band recorded.

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