Legends of what's commonly termed Krautrock, Faust -- or, as they're listed here FaUSt -- make music that challenges a listener. That the tunes remain somewhat accessible says a lot about the group's approach to this sort of thing. The band, now centered around Werner "Zappi" Diermaier and founder Jean-Hervé Péron, are set to release a new album. Called Fresh Air and out on Bureau B on Friday, the record is bracing and yet still easy to enjoy.
Opening with the epic, 17-minute title track, Fresh Air offers music that pushes at the boundaries of accessibility while remaining somewhat approachable. If that title cut is borderline sinister in spots, the fuzzy "La Poulie" edges towards something that even fans of Sonic Youth could appreciate, feedback and noise bubbling against each other. "Chlorophyl" uses Barbara Manning in a spoken word performance to anchor the cut, while the percussive "Lights Flicker" rumbles towards free jazz territory. When Fresh Air ends with the 11-minute "Fish" it's on a track that sums up the appeal of this record. What's here is, in spots, wildly unsettling, yet it's unsettling in a way that invites astute listeners. The music of Faust has remained fairly consistent over the years and one can be thankful that Fresh Air is at once serious-minded, risky music but also the sort of thing that doesn't feel too serious. One can embrace this music easily, I think.
[Photo: Jan Lankisch]