Formed: 1971 in Wumme, Germany
Group Members: Werner Diermaier, Hans Joachim, Irmler, Armulf Meifert, Jean Hervй Peron, Rudolf Sossna, Gunther Wusthoff
Styles: Experimental Rock, Kraut Rock, Experimental, Prog-Rock/Art Rock
"There is no group more mythical than Faust," wrote Julian Cope in his book Krautrocksampler, which detailed the pivotal influence the German band exerted over the development of ambient and industrial textures. Producer/overseer Uwe Nettelbeck, a onetime music journalist, formed Faust in Wumme, Germany in 1971 with founding members Hans Joachim Irmler, Jean Herve Peron, Werner "Zappi" Diermaier, Rudolf Sosna, Gunther Wustoff and Armulf Meifert. Upon receiving advance money from their label, Nettelbeck converted an old schoolhouse into a recording studio, where the group spent the first several months of its existence in almost total isolation, honing their unique, cacophonic sound with the aid of occasional guests like minimalist composer Tony Conrad and members of Slapp Happy.
Issued on clear vinyl in a transparent sleeve, Faust's eponymously-titled debut LP surfaced in 1971; although sales were notoriously bad, the album - a noisy sound collage of cut-and-paste musical fragments - did earn the group a solid cult following. Another lavishly-packaged work, Faust So Far, followed in 1972, and earned the group a contract with Virgin, who issued 1973's The Faust Tapes - a fan-assembled collection of home recordings - for about the price of a single, a marketing ploy which earned considerable media interest. After Outside Dream Syndicate, a collaboration with Tony Conrad, the band released 1973's Faust IV, a commercial failure which resulted in the loss of their contract with Virgin, who refused to release the planned Faust 5.
When Nettelbeck turned his focus away from the group, Faust disbanded in 1975, and the members scattered throught Germany; however, after more than a decade of playing together in various incarnations, Faust officially reunited around the nucleus of Irmler, Peron and Dermaier for a handful of European performances at the outset of the 1990s. In 1993, they made their first-ever U.S. live appearance backing Conrad, followed by a series of other stateside performances; after several live releases, a pair of new studio albums, Rien and You Know FaUSt, followed in 1996. Ravvivando appeared three years later.
- Jason Ankeny (All Music Guide)