They say all writers need a good editor and here is the proof. You'll notice in the review below that I contradict myself as to which disc is which. I just went back and looked at the box set again and now I think was wrong either way below. However, as the discs are not marked as "disc 1" or "disc 2" just as "1996" and "2005" I don't think there really is any particular arrangement. I could go back and change it now to make myself look clever but I'd rather just leave things as they were.
FAUST - "COLLECTIF MET(Z)"
It's taken me a while to get round to reviewing this box set, as it takes a lot of getting your head around. The first disc is more rehearsals from the new Faust [JHP, Zappi, Olivier & Amaury]. The second disc is a live album they recorded in Paris in 1996 with the same line-up under the name Collectif Met(z). Disc 3 features solo material from Jean-Hervé Peron and Zappi. The fourth disc is an 8 minute VCD of footage from after the 1996 concert.
Let's begin in the present with disc one - the modern Faust. Sometimes heavy drone-rock, sometimes lighter and more song-based. These are not studio recordings but more recordings of the new Faust in rehearsal (like the excellent Connections DVD). Someone once described acoustic performances as being "a band naked" but in many ways, these raw, primal sessions are the closest music gets to naked. Just a band playing and something in the corner recording. Not that for a minute you should associate such abrasive sound for anything substandard. It takes a certain confidence in your art to release your music in such an unrefined format, a confidence which recently led to the band Arctic Monkeys selling out large venues in the UK before they'd even released a single thanks to their demos being all over the internet. We've all heard great songs with massive production, now the public's thirst for something new craves great songs without any studio trickery. That's disc one for you.
Disc two is 6 solo tracks from Zappi and 3 from Jean-Hervé. All the tracks on here are playful and quite laid back. As you can imagine, Zappi's pieces are heavy on rhythm, while Jean-Hervé's are more song based. JHP's epic "Rund ist Schoen" is a 15-minute
meditation from somewhere outdoors in London. His other 2 tracks "Melancholy on Three Strings" and "Decisions" are acoustic, laments sung in his mother tongue (French). Zappi comes up with some great songs and some equally great song titles: "Mufflet" and "Stumpling" both being delicious words that I have never heard before.
The third disc is the 1996 concert. This is a heavier, more firey kind of a beast. In fact, it's fair to say this is a sonic assault. Brutal, provocative and, of course, utterly enjoyable. Here Faust (or Collectif Met(z) as they were known at the time) go full-on. Things unknown roar and rumble, while JHP takes to the microphone like he was summoning demons. The rhythms are heavy, driving, skull-crushing and immense. The noise is hypnotic.The sound is intense. This is a chugging beast of a concert. No old songs are played, although JHP does sing "Mamie Is Blue" at one point, but the music is so different it seems more like a nod to the original than a reworking. It sounds like the audience don't know what to make of it - the crowd noise could be rapture or could be rage. It's probably both.
The 4th and final disc is simply an 8 minute video filmed as the live set on disc 3 ended. One of the tracks from the set plays while over the top we hear the audience's joy and confusion. As the camera darts around the smoke-filled venue and then does close-ups on people talking a language that I don't speak, the effect is a disorientating as being hit repeatedly in the face with an invisible brick.
It's a cracking little box, full of magic and indispensable for the Faust fan.
Review by Ned Netherwood
Collectif Met(z) box available from art-errorist.de