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Faust and Omar Rodríguez-López – Live at Clouds Hill

Clouds Hill

Faust and Omar Rodríguez-López - Live at Clouds HillOn the many occasions I have seen Faust live over the last years, the original krautrockers have played many favourites and songs from the ’70s classics, although mixed with some improvisations. But other times they grasp the opportunity to collaborate with other artists, letting them colour the expression, or even get a feel for a different setting creating new fresh music.

This time it is the core members of Faust, Jean-Hervé Péron and Zappi Diermaier, who have teamed up with Omar Rodríguez-López from The Mars Volta. Ultimately it sounds like a good idea, as the latter is well known to be capable of thinking outside a traditional song structure-like box, even though he now is making pop music with Bosnian Rainbows, but then again that also comes with a twist.

The 10” record is made up of two improvised tracks – “This Is Not Music, This Is Not Us” and “We Are Not Here parts 1 & 2,” one on each side. The title sounds a bit like one of Péron’s mantras over the years, meaning that music is not important, or at least not more important than any other trade or work, and he/they as artists are not any more important than any other person doing whatever. Even though the title suggests something surreal, or sounds like a paradox, it might as well be a political statement.

The music gives the listener mixed experiences, or even feelings, I guess. It is sometimes meditative with hints of psychedelic, spiced with shouting in French or German (apart from some Japanese or other eastern voices, that may or may not have been pre-recorded), and/or chanting vocals from Péron; and completely impossible to understand for me, anyway. It is sudden explosions of noises, or what may sound like power tools and other industrial-like bits, that seems like they’re not coming from traditional instruments, or traditional use of them.

The two pieces varies from quiet or loud strange cosmic sounds going everywhere, and shifts over to machine-like beats and loops or repetitive sounds spiced with whatever they could find within their sonic palette. The quality of the recording is great and all the extra non-instrumental bits and bobs blends in very good in my opinion, as expected when doing a live recording at the Clouds Hill studios.

It sounds like the trio is very focused, as often is the case of a trio setting. And especially pt. 1, I found (although I am not sure what is side A, or B, as the record is not labelled with text, and the matrix on the white shiny vinyl was very difficult to read with my getting-older eyes), in every sense very much in my face, to my taste. They play very well together, and to me created something magic, and this particular track must be one Faust highlight.

Having seen and heard Faust many times over the last decade, I think this is one gig I really would have enjoyed attending.

-Ronny Wærnes-

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