Punkt

Faust

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Punkt Review

by Fred Thomas

Through the first half of the '70s, German band Faust were in a state of nonstop discovery, expanding the parameters of their wildly experimental sound on every album and helping to define the burgeoning Krautrock movement in the process. After churning out four groundbreaking records between 1971 and 1974, the band regrouped following a dishearteningly unsuccessful tour by getting right back into the studio to work on what was intended to be the follow-up to their relatively pop-minded 1973 album Faust IV. The group holed up in Giorgio Moroder's Munich studio for ten days tracking their new material, but when the project's financial backer disappeared without paying the bill, the album was quickly shelved and the bandmembers went their separate ways until re-forming in the '90s. That fifth album went without official release for close to 50 years before appearing as Punkt on the massive 2021 box set 1971-1974.

The seven pieces that make up Punkt don't follow any direct stylistic line in Faust's evolution, and much like most of the band's other albums, it approaches change drastically from one song to the next. Instead of the flirtations with melody and structure that happened on Faust IV, however, Punkt has more in common with the scattered euphoria of the group's third album, The Faust Tapes. The ominous, repetitive groove and muttered vocals of opening track "Morning Land" are as close as Punkt gets to conventional songwriting, but it still veers closer to the wild-eyed, percussive jamming of contemporaries like Can. From there on, the album is largely instrumental, exploring soft jazz ambience on the piano-led "Schön Rund," proto-punk attitude on the snarling "Juggernaut," and cross-wiring synthesizers, tape cut-ups, and live percussion elements on the murky "Prends Ton Temps." Punkt reaches a fever pitch somewhere on "Knochentanz," a lengthy and forceful improvisation where processed trumpet, moody guitars, and rocking drums all gel together to sound like Miles Davis sitting in with psychedelic Swedish commune Träd, Gräs och Stenar. A perfect continuation of the frenzied tear that Faust were on in their earliest phase, Punkt paints a different, slightly darker shade of the unpredictable brilliance they found on their first four records. The band have been credited with laying the foundation for the ambient, industrial, and noise scenes that followed, and Punkt backs those claims up even further. If this was the level Faust were operating at just before their initial collapse, we can only imagine what they would have created had they kept going straight through from that point on.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Faust 09:17 Amazon
2 Faust 02:48 Amazon
3 Faust 11:45 Amazon
4 Faust 01:58 Amazon
5 Faust 04:55 Amazon
6 Faust 09:59 Amazon
7 Faust 05:20 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick