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Faust

So Far

 

Nosič: 33" LP
Rok vydání: 1972
původ: Velká Británie
Lbl.: Polydor ‎– 2310 196
kat. číslo: PN 3313194

 

rock

Stav desky: NM
- jako nová, téměř nehraná


Stav obalu: M-
- bezchybný, nový nebo jako nový


Pozn.: znaménko + nebo - upřesňuje stav desky, obalu


OBAL VIZ FOTO
DESKA PERFEKTNI STAV

A1  It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl  7:21
A2  On The Way To Abamae  2:42
A3  No Harm  10:09
B1  So Far  6:12
B2  Mamie Is Blue  5:55
B3  I've Got My Car And My TV  3:42
B4  Picnic On A Frozen River  0:36
B5  Me Lack Space...  0:40
B6  ...In The Spirit  2:59

Recorded at Wümme, March 1972
===================================================================
"So Far" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German Kraut/psychadelic/avant garde rock act Faust. The album was released through Polydor Records in 1972. Faust self-titled 1971 debut album is a wildly experimental avant garde rock album featuring electronic experiments and sound collages mixed with psychadelic rock sections. "So Far" is ultimately a very different sounding release.

"So Far" is a much more structured album and the trademark repetitive krautrock beats are much more a part of the sound on this album than they were on the crazy debut. Compared to the difficult listening experience of the debut, "So Far" is generally much more accessible. This time around it´s audible that the band employ ordinary rock instrumentation like guitars, bass, drums, keyboards/synth/organ and saxophone. The vocals are mostly chanting the same lines over and over again as if they are more an instrument than actual vocals but there are more ordinary vocal parts on the album too. The album is greatly varied and in addition to repetitive krautrock sounding tracks like "It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl", "So Far" and "No Harm" (which features an almost mellow symphonic prog intro), we´re also treated to a classical inspired acoustic guitar piece in "On The Way To Abamäe", the cold almost industrial sounding "Mamie Is Blue" as well as the last four tracks on the album "I've Got My Car And My TV", "Picnic On A Frozen River", "Me Lack Space..." and "...In The Spirit" which to my ears sound heavily influenced by the avant garde/experimental rock of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention.

The musicianship are on a high level and "So Far" features a very well sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. So the album is a quality release in every way possible. "So Far" is generally a more easily accessible way to enter the world of Faust than the group´s much more challenging debut album, so if you´re new to the band, this would be a great place to start your Faust journey. This shouldn´t be misunderstood though, and compared to mainstream music "So Far" is still a very challenging release full of experimental ideas and innovative playing. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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Faust were (alongside Amon Duul II and Can), one of the main movers behind the krautrock style, which would end up being hugely influential on thousands of bands, blah blah blah you get the drill.

The interesting thing about this album in particular, So Far, is how deftly it manages to be both accessible and expansive, for lack of a better way of putting it. Whereas the debut was a much more esoteric album, this, on the other hand, is a lot more conventionally melodic and really memorable. "It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl", with its thudding, repetitive bass and drum rhythms forming the core of the track, with the rest of the band building off of it, is a really stellar song. (I wouldn't doubt it if a bunch of post-punk bands took notes from it, honestly) Of course, it has a lot of the weirder little elements a lot of krautrock has; the almost skittish, off-kilter shifting between sections in particular and the overt psychedelic feel are commonplace with the style. Here, the songs are just a bit more hooky than most. ("No Harm" and the title track in particular are also superbly crafted and memorable tunes)

If you're looking for krautrock that's fairly accessible but still has some of the weirder quirks of that style, this is a really good entry point. Just a damn fine record, especially for the first five songs.
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Doesn't come in as strong as the heavyweight champion "IV", but still, a perfect album in its own right. Experimental at times, but catchy at times, even though it still has a great freedom to it. Never overwhelming, and perfect portions for a single serving. Just listen, and you will see. A big improvement from their great, but rather spacey and messy debut.
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Faust comes out A LOT better on their second album in most every way. Even if they still seem kind of lost half the time. Though I continue to be underimpressed by them relative to their hefty reputation. It really amazes me that I feel so lukewarm toward much of what they do when Can meanwhile is among the better scoring acts I've ever reviewed! Peers? Hardly. That said though Faust has moments, long moments this time. Whole songs as a matter of fact. They really do start proving some true powers here worthy of the hallowed name "Krautrock". It's just a shame that whenever a song isn't very long they drop the ball, in fact virtually the whole second "half" after Mamie Is Blue...is a waste of time. They just start kind of dicking around, goofing off even and man do I just shut down. Nothing they do in that mode is interesting, engaging, or pleasant really. I felt they did a lot of this on their debut, and was glad to see the first half of this abandon it. I have a feeling lots of reviewers get confused by those parts and grade it well out of fear of something flying over their head. Well nonsense I say! It's just dumb goof-off shit. And it's a shame it has to be here and holding down the record when the songs they really put their clout into are great stuff. The four highlights here are the only songs really worth any time, fortunately they're all longer than the rest (No Harm clocking in at a minute ten and a half). You get the feeling with these songs that the band has really found a format they enjoy and work well in. It's really where they work out one of Krautrock's bigger influences, meandering purposely repetitive jams. It's a thing you can even see in Kraftwerk's material from around the same time, even though that was in the Electronic genre. These Germans, they brought in the droning groove from super experimental realms of 60's proto-electronic stuff? And they went and made damn near pop music with it. That's pretty innovative, especially when you consider all the places this would filter around over the years. Faust really has a knack at it, all the more when it's super repetitive. Sure I enjoy the Can-like guitar oriented songs like No Harm. But the gem for me is the title track, which is extremely repetitive....and wonderful for it! It grooves along with this great simple little back and forth guitar melody as washes of electronics and sound effects haunt the edges in an almost ethereal shimmer. It's a buzzing energy filled vibe that Can lacks, one that better predicts the urban modern sounds that still form the hugest contribution Krautrock has given the Rock world. The sound that would catch David Bowie's ear around 1976', rerouting art rock into some glorious times. It's really fucking great stuff, and just what their debut was lacking in. So four of those greats, imagine a whole record based off that sort of thing! We'd be golden! Alas that is not what we've been given, the album is kind of like a messy disjointed ocean surface that has some majestic whales residing in it. I dunno, proportionately the good should outweigh the blagh here? But something about how it forms a nothing...just makes it an unhappy whole with excellent parts.
==============================================
Ah Faust: the most playful, the most Dada of all the major Krautrock groups.

Tasting Notes:
Its a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl- Takes a drum/guitar riff you'd expect to hear for about 20 or 30 seconds in a VU song and extends it for 7 minutes. Tension builds, embellishment is added in the form of minmalistic keyboards and a sax but the riff never changes, the release is never provided; the song simply fades out. Boy oh boy.

No Harm- mellow intro before evolving into a very Monks-like jam (Faust acknowledge their influence in the Monks documentary) tribal drum grooves, spastic noise guitar and an angry but nonsensical refrain: Daddy take the banana! Tomorrow is Sunday! Already endlessly looping in my head.

So Far- comes off  as a  weird pisstake of CCR's Run Through the Jungle. Amusing.

Mamie is Blue- Surprisingly industrial first half before its overlayed with some krauty psychedelia.

I've Got My Car and My Tv- Nursery rhyme spoof of consumerism? 

Picnic on a Frozen River- evocative title and catchy as hell. it'd be a great theme for a 70s sitcom about the lovable hijinks of a something or other.

In the Spirit Weird broken up vocal delay not sure what he's saying but sounds like a "step right up folks" circus announcer. Then some swinging brassy New Orleans Faustian Dada.
==============================================
The follow up to the debut found the German experimentalists streamlining their ideas into a more recognizable song-like format. Yet oddly enough, the variety here is almost as broad. There's still that unsettled mix of musique concrete, free form jazz, post-hippie era jamming, and random borrowings from both familiar and classic sources, and utterly strange mind caves.

The centerpiece of the record is "No Harm," which starts out resembling early Pink Floyd quite a bit, but then radically changes identities time and time again. This tendency is a holdover from the first album, and will delight some and confuse/bore/unsettle others. Oh and later on, look for a maddeningly catchy keyboard riff that would be reproduced on the Faust IV sessions - but without the free form jazz saxophone blended in here, which almost drowns out the riff.

If you're new to Faust, and are curious about what all the praise is based on, I would recommend looking for the later re-issue that compiles the first two albums from the band. That way, you can get an idea of their rapid evolution, and can decide whether you prefer their historical importance, or the actual musical execution of their initial ideas in a clearer sense
================================================
If there's a Krautrock band with a fanatical following, then it has to be Faust.  If you look the group up online you'll be amazed by the sheer quantity of material ...  No hyperbole intended, but it almost rivals what you'll find for such super groups as The Fab Four, The Stones, etc. 

The earlier super group comment is actually kind of interesting given the band's roots.  In 1969 Uwe Nettelbeck was a well known German music writer.  In an interesting move that reeked of 'scam' he somehow convinced Polydor executives to front him a large cash advance with which to form a German super group.  Armed with the cash, Nettelbeck bought an old schoolhouse in the Hamburg suburb of Wumme and with help from engineer Kurt Graupner converted it into a state-of-the-art recording studio.  He then started recruiting musician, eventually settling on a line up consisting of drummer Arnulf Meifert (quickly replaced by Werner Diermaier), keyboardist Hans-Joachim Irmler, bassist Jean-Herve Peron, guitarist Rudolf Sosna, and sax player Gunther Wusthoff.  All six were veteran musicians with Meifer, his replacement Diermaier, and Irmler having played in the group Campylognatus Citelli.  Peron, Sosna  and Wuesthoff had been members of the Hamburg-based Nukleu .  With the line up settled the band went into the Wumme studio and began several months of intense rehearsals.

In late 1971 the band made their live debut with a set at Hamburg's Musik Halle.  The group's openly experimental repertoire was apparently met with audience indifference, but Polydor elected to keep the cash flowing, financing additional recording sessions that led to the release of 1971's cleverly-titled "Faust".

As on the debut Nettlebeck produced the band's sophomore album (he also designed the packaging with Munich-based artist Edda Kochel doing the lithography inserts).  Graupner again handled the engineering.  Probably a reflection of Polydor management's unhappiness with the debut's poor sales, anyone expecting a repeat of the debut was probably quite surprised by 1972's "So Far".  Released in England before it saw a German release, musically the set marked a substantial change in direction. While this was still clearly Krautrock, the nine group-penned originals found the band electing to pursue a much more structured and musically diverse sound, complete with 'conventional' and far shorter song structures.  Sure, the ominous industrial noise propelled 'Mamie is Blue' and the atonal song snippets 'Picnic On a Frozen River' and 'Me Lack Space' recalled their more experimental debut, but those pieces were the exceptions.  Complete with nonsense English lyrics (anyone care to explain the frenzied third part of 'No Harm' to me ... "Daddy, take the banana; tomorrow is Sunday!, "Daddy, take the banana; tomorrow is Sunday!' "Daddy, take the banana; tomorrow is Sunday!" , etc.), material like the tribal opener 'It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl' (building from solo tom-tom pattern to full instrumentation with a wipe out closing sax solo from Wusthoff), the chattering synthesizer propelled 'I've Got My Car and My TV', and the beautiful acoustic guitar instrumental 'On the Way to Abamae' were surprisingly tuneful and with a little work could have even made the radio.  Polydor UK actually released a remixed version of 'So Far' b/w 'It's a Bit of Pain' (Polydor catalog 2001 299) as a single.  Now there's a strange thought; Faust on the radio ...  
"So Far" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl (instrumental)   (Faust) - 7:21
2.) On the Way to Abamae (instrumental)   (Faust) - 2:42
3.) No Harm   (Faust) - 10:09

(side 2)
1.) So Far (instrumental)   (Faust) - 6:12
2.) Mamie is Blue   (Faust) - 5:55
3.) I've Got My Car and My TV   (Faust) - 3:42
4.) Picnic On a Frozen River   (Faust) - 0:36
5.) Me Lack Space   (Faust) - 0:40
6.) ...In the Spirit   (Faust) - 2:59
=====================================================================
The first two albums from Faust are my first try at this group. I've been aware of this group forever, or at least, since I wanted to explore beyond the readily available at Wal-Mart prog rock groups (ie. Yes, ELP, Tull, etc. - not slamming on those groups, of course, since I grew up on those bands before expanding, just that I've seen CD reissues of albums from such groups at Wal-Mart, not the kind of place I'd buy music, of course), but I just got their stuff. Well, better late than never.

Of the two albums Faust did for Polydor, I really thought So Far was the better of the two. It might often be thought of as more song-based as their first, but it's the middle part of the album where the band really gets off the deep-end. "It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl", well at least the song title might make you think of something a California-based pop/psych band would have done circa 1967. Not really, but this is minimalist rock music taken to the extreme, with little change in the music at all (except the occasional use of synthesizer in the middle of the music). The guitar chords stay the same, the drumming stays the same, but surprisingly it don't end up boring. "On the Way to Abamae" is a nice acoustic number with some synths (well, I'm pretty sure they had synthesizers, as well as sound generators) to go with it. "No Harm" starts off rather slowly, in a Pink Floyd-like manner, but then the best part comes next with some amazing jamming. The next two pieces get progressively weirder, with the title track and "Mamie is Blue". The title track has a rather repetitive riff with a nice spacy backdrop, while the next piece is full of electronic noise that don't let up. After that, the band lightens up with, but with such silly stuff as "Picnic on a Frozen River" and "...In the Spirit".

Not having heard everything Faust has done, so far this is my favorite, and a great place to start if you're not familiar with these guys.
=================================================
Faust’s second album So Far is often considered their best. In a way, this is not a difficult album at all. After the charming meanderings of their debut, this album certainly was a move towards an identifiable song format. So Far resembles Frank Zappa of the time, though it is far less self-absorbed than anything Zappa did. “Mamie is Blue” takes a heavy industrial beat for an adventurous ride. “So Far” matches the blasts of some horns with the relentless rhythms coming from the drums Werner "Zappi" Diermaier slams and the organ antics of Hans Joachim Irmler. Most indicative of the group’s complex humor is “Picnic on a Frozen River” with its repeatedly mounting sense of confidence. The album concludes with the swaggering mockery of “…In the Spirit,” a last indication of the unscrupulous prank Faust pull with So Far. So Far is simply: superb, fantastic, a major achievement, insightful and thought provoking, stunningly crafted, a real winner, a stylish and sexy album, the perfect date movie or record.
========================================================

Faust's second album and last for the big Polydor label, So Far is a far more structured album than their debut, but is that necessarily a bad thing? In this case, no. So Far starts off with the German rock classic "It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl" with its pounding machine-like drum and piano interplay, topped off nicely with frantically strummed guitar, electronic wooshes and lyrics that repeat "It's a rainy day, sunshine girl, it's a rainy day sunshine baby."  Even if you hate minimalism, I guarantee this song will stick with you and you'll find yourself singing it as you walk down the street. The second track of So Far is a quiet acoustic number which could be said to be the albums only "beautiful" moment, while "No Harm" begins with a Atom Heart Mother era Pink Floyd opening orchestrated with a mass of horns, but soon breaks into a frantic boogie with lyrics screaming "Daddy take a banana, tomorrow is Sunday." The rest of the album concentrates on the use of minimalism (as in the title track) and electronic noises, breaking occasionally for a silly social commentary on "I've got my car and my TV" and a fitting coda similar to Zappa's "America Drinks and Goes Home" from Absolutely Free. For anyone curious enough to check out Faust, So Far is the place to start, or if you have a thicker wallet, perhaps give the Wumme Years boxset a try since it contains the entirity of So Far along with Faust, The Faust Tapes, 71 Minutes of Faust and a rarities disc of BBC sessions and outtakes.

 
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