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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Review - Impressions

Artist: Faust

Posted on Thu, Apr 14, 2005 at 4:00 AM

When Faust reunited in 1992, nobody expected much in the way of forward motion from the reconstituted group. Regarded as one of the best things about the early '70s Krautrock movement, Faust's socialist tendencies put them at odds with British record companies who wanted "songs," resulting in their early demise. Few bands made it out of those drug-fueled days of musical revolution unscathed (Can is a notable exception), so Faust's brief half-decade "career" wasn't that unusual, and any reunion show – however highly anticipated – certainly didn't portend any true "return."

But one show turned into a tour, which turned into an album, which turned into more shows and more albums. And here we are 13 years later with an oven-fresh Faust DVD. Drummer Zappi Diermaier seems to have taken on the role of custodian of the Faust legacy; he's been the only constant member since the reunion, and he's responsible for the compilation, remixing and "visual interpretations" of the 11 Faust songs (and one Dvorak piece) on Impressions. Faust's legacy springs from the communal vibe at their early-'70s sessions, but Diermaier has been intent on pulling Faust into the present, and collaborations with the likes of Dälek have assisted, along with the release of astonishingly bracing new records.

To many fans, Faust is the "Krautrock"/"Sunshine Girl" band, and with those people in mind, Diermaier's been careful to include old footage – such as an introductory film where a polar bear flies from the beach at Las Palmas to the band's Wkümme studio to jam with them – along with newer, "experimental" films. Along those lines, the song selection on Impressions ranges from tracks recorded in the early '70s through the '80s and '90s, all of which have been expanded by the addition of percussion tracks and surround-sound treatments. Visually, Impressions is a bit of an indulgent bore, but taken in tandem with the expanse of fine, droney music that accompanies those visuals, the result is an intriguing DVD.

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