Faust | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Though German experimentalists Faust put a song called "Krautrock" on their 1973 album Faust IV--a pulsing, keyboard-driven song, even--they've never been bound by that genre's conventions. In fact, in those days Faust didn't seem bound by any conventions at all: on its first three records, the band collaged distorted Beatles and Rolling Stones samples, classical piano etudes, propulsive drum breaks, searing electronic noise, disorienting tape-speed experiments, jaunty brass-band interludes, and an occasional folky acoustic-guitar ballad into sprawling, nonnarrative sonic patchworks. Faust's members lived and recorded in a rural schoolhouse and collaborated not with their countrymen but with imported talent like American avant-garde violinist Tony Conrad and British art rockers Slapp Happy. This relative isolation might have contributed to Faust's high dropout rate; the roster of eight on 1971's self-titled debut had dwindled to five by 1972's So Far, and the group disbanded in 1975. But in 1990, three founding members--guitarist and vocalist Jean-Herve Peron, drummer Werner "Zappi" Diermaier, and organist-electronicist Hans Joachim Irmler--got back together, and Peron and Diermaier played Faust's Chicago debut in 1994. The show was more spectacle than music: the duo smashed TVs and assaulted a furnace boiler with jackhammers amid a cacophony of guitar and drums and layers of tape, a sound only tangentially related to the band's studio work before or since. Two of Faust's postreunion albums, Rien (produced by Jim O'Rourke) and You Know Faust, have revisited the cut-and-paste method of its early years, and the towering, feedback-swathed workouts of its newest disc, Ravvivando (Italian for "getting faster"), recorded after Peron's departure, actually flirt with Krautrock orthodoxy. For this tour, Diermaier and Irmler will be joined by Steven Wray Lobdell on guitar, Michael Stoll on bass, and Lars Paukstat making "various sounds." Brother JT, aka John Terlesky, opens, backed by New York rockers Oneida; his new record, Way To Go (Drag City), rocks harder than anything he's done since his garage combo the Original Sins broke up. Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. Bill Meyer

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Crump--RSP.

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