“There’s plenty to sustain and even expand the myth of their mission to reconstruct rock music”: Faust’s Momentaufnahme III

Infectious enthusiasm glows out of unheard curios and a few previously-released tracks

Faust - Momentaufnahme III
(Image: © Bureau B)

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Left to their own devices by Virgin boss Richard Branson, Faust were an unstoppable creative force at their own Wümme studio in Bremen between 1971 and 1974.

Following on from Momentaufnahme I and II, this is a third compendium of curios, off-cuts and alternate versions, culled from the same period. Fans of Faust, Faust So Far and The Faust Tapes will be familiar with some of this material, but there’s plenty here to sustain and even expand the myth of the Germans’ feverish mission to reconstruct rock music for a new era.

Firmly in the spirit of 1973’s collage-style The Faust Tapes in particular, Momentaufnahme III contains a few previously released tracks alongside numerous unheard chunks of sonic mischief. Faust were clearly having a fantastic time at Wümme, and their infectious enthusiasm for bucking the sonic system remains an invigorating delight.

Following the none-more-krautrock clattering of Giggy Smile (which first surfaced on 1973’s Faust IV), Don’t Take Roots is the key moment here. An obtuse splurge of cut-up dialogue, electronic shrapnel and tripped-out instrumentals, it spells out the Faust ethos as clearly as it will allow.

Similarly, an alternate version of Läuft... Heisst Das Es Läuft Oder Es Kommt Bald... Läuft (also from Faust IV), here retitled Psalter, captures the band in a mantra-like state, lost in a world of subversive possibilities. Elsewhere, minute-long oddities Ma Trompette and Schwindebeck I and II add peripheral colour to longer, more traditional pieces like Baby (psych rock with no brakes) and Meer (a Satie-esque ambient dreamscape). 

Momentaufnahme III ends with three BBC session tracks, including a riotous version of the mighty Krautrock itself: 11 minutes of trance-like, anti-trad freewheeling that indirectly invented everything from Suicide to minimalist techno.

More of a worthwhile adjunct to the classics than a cohesive album in itself, this deep dive into one of music’s most unknowable entities is full to the brim with weird science.

Momentaufnahme III is on sale now via Bureau B.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.