‘NOW PROMOTERS SAY, “NO OPEN FIRE, NO BOMBS, NO FIREWORKS”’ Hitlist THE BEST ROCK, POP, JAZZ & FOLK*
✽✽ Crystal Antlers Melodic, psychedelic punk from Long Beach, California. Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow, Fri 30 Apr. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ eagleowl Bringing the lo-fi slowcore, the Edinburgh trio launch new EP, ‘Into the Fold’. Roxy Art House, Edinburgh, Fri 30 Apr; Flying Duck, Glasgow, Sat 1 May. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Damon and Naomi The ex-Galaxie 500 members want to serenade you with floaty spectral-pop. Mono, Glasgow, Tue 4 May. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Pavement The reformed indie rockers tour again, before curating the ATP festival a few days after this Scottish date. Barrowland, Glasgow, Wed 5 May. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ UNINSTAL A thought- provoking teaser festival before the main Instal in November. Arika bring workshops, annotated walks, experimental music performances and visiting sound artists. Tramway, Glasgow, Sun 9 May – Sun 15 May. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ The Big Pink, Esben & the Witch and Is Tropical The headliners showed up last year with the awesome gauzy- rock-fuzz of ‘Velvet’, followed by LP, A Brief History of Love. See Exposure on Esben & the Witch, page 61. Garage, Glasgow, Sun 9 May. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Faust See left. The Arches, Glasgow, Tue 11 May. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Omar Souleyman Middle- eastern techno-folk. See Five Reasons, page 67. Stereo, Glasgow, Wed 12 May. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Dinosaur Jr and Built to Spill What’s that? Your ears just stopped ringing from last time J Mascis brought his grunge-rock to town? Must be time for another D Jr gig then. 02 ABC, Glasgow, Thu 13 May. (Rock & Pop) 29 Apr–13 May 2010 THE LIST 59
Industrial revolutions Faust’s brand of Krautrock – mixing jazz, concrete mixers and chainsaws – makes Kraftwerk sound like a boy band. Stewart Smith chats to bassist Jean-Hervé Peron
T he story of Faust begins in 1970, when six dropout musicians convened in an old schoolhouse in rural Wümme, near Hamburg, to embark on a freewheeling musical project. Along the way they had run-ins with the Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang, and brought experimental music into thousands of UK homes when Virgin released 1973’s Faust Tapes at the pocket money price of 49p. Their early albums combined underground rock with avant- jazz, pastoral psychedelia, musique concrete, home- made electronics, and industrial noise. It’s a dizzying combination; at times delightfully absurd, at others thrillingly abrasive.
When Faust returned in the 1990s, artists such as Jim O’Rourke, experimental legend Keiji Haino, industrial hip hop act Dalek and sound collagists Nurse with Wound lined up to work with them. ‘We never, ever realised that we were influential,’ bassist Jean-Hervé Peron insists. ‘I will say one example, like Stereolab. One nice thing about it is that they’ve taken an inspiration, an impulse, and used it their own way. Or Nurse with Wound. They didn’t take any chords or plagiarise, they just took the energy and the attitude’.
As Peron puts it, there are now ‘two different currents within the Faust philosophy’. Original keyboardist Hans Joachim Irmler has his own Faust, while Peron and drummer Werner ‘Zappi’ Diermaier are the core of the other Faust. On tour, the pair are joined by various guests. ‘James Johnston [of Gallon Drunk and the Bad Seeds] plays guitar, keyboard and vacuum cleaner, while Geraldine Swayne plays accordion, guitar, keyboard, and paints on stage. Zappi plays metals and
percussion. I blow different horns, I try to play some acoustic guitar, and I love to have a talk with my concrete mixer, with a chainsaw, things like that. I also like to paint on stage’. Faust’s concrete mixer improvisations were a highlight of BBC4’s recent Krautrock documentary, The Rebirth of Germany. Peron hopes to bring it on tour.
‘It didn’t fit in my van, but I will have another go! It’s a good instrument, we miss it when it’s not there. It creates a very droney atmosphere and it seems to move the hearts of ladies in some way.’ In the past Faust (German for fist) have been known to drill through the stage and set off fireworks. ‘Unfortunately we can’t do that any more,’ laughs Peron. ‘In the 90s nobody knew what we were up to, so we’d put things on fire, let off fireworks. Now the promoters are aware of this and they have us sign this thing saying, “no open fire, no bombs, no fireworks”. So we cannot be as carefree as we used to be.’
What can the audience expect of the live show? ‘We respect and love our audience so we realise there are a few things to consider. First of all is what we are, that means improvisation, whatever comes up in our minds. But we also do a few old tunes, and a few more recent tunes, so everybody’s happy. We enjoy playing Scotland very much. You are fucking loud! We too are sometimes! But it comes from the heart, and this is what I really like.’ Whatever they do, the original spirit of Faust remains. ‘In the back of our heads is the feeling of being free. Everything is art in life, not only music. It’s like Wümme all the time’.
The Arches, Glasgow, Tue 11 May, as part of the Behaviour Festival.