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Neither a collection nor an album of fresh material, Patchwork will both confuse and please Faust's fans. This CD comes back to the spirit of The Faust Tapes. Founding member Hans Joachim Irmler and Staubgold director Markus Detmer joined forces to put together this collage of previously unreleased recordings taken from the group's vaults and encompassing three decades of (intermittent) activity. There are 20 tracks organized into three suites for a total of 43 minutes. Short snippets, a fast pace, and time-warping crossfades give Patchwork a unusual character, somewhere between the soundtrack of a fan's dream and Frank Zappa's Frankenstein-esque track splicing of the late '70s (where he would overdub a guitar solo from one recording onto the rhythm tracks of another one). All the vitality of Faust -- then and now -- remains intact in the process. Creeping in among the bits and pieces are familiar tunes in less familiar forms and under unfamiliar titles (they are "Psalter," "Stretch Out," and "A Seventies Event"; the most pleasure would be had by finding out their true nature by yourself, but let's just say the latter was so influential it gave a German current of experimental rock its name). Some people could argue that this CD will make little sense to newcomers; come on, did Faust's first albums make more sense? No, Patchwork presents the group's marvelously chaotic vision for all it's worth, warts and all, for better or worse, and it is a lot more fun to listen to than a straightforward collection of archival tracks.

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