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Friday, Aug. 29, 2008




As leading figures in the 1970s German experimental rock scene, Faust are really the granddaddies of much modern electronic and noise music. Along with contemporaries such as Can, Neu! and Kraftwerk, they helped to break the stranglehold that British and American musicians then had on rock — and in the process became key influences for subsequent acts such as Joy Division and Radiohead. British musician and rock scholar Julian Cope once famously wrote, "There is no band more legendary than Faust," and should any doubts still cling to this assertion, the enshrinement of band members Werner "Zappi" Diermaier and Hans Joachim Irmler in the Tokyo Tower wax museum must surely lay them to rest.

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More recently, Faust were rocked by the death of founder and producer Uwe Nettelbeck in 2007, but bounced back with the release of "Disconnected," a collaboration with experimental unit Nurse With Wound later that same year. Not all their collaborations have been so successful, however, and a 2005 live performance with British Sea Power resulted in Faust vocalist Jean-Herve Peron punching British Sea Power's bassist (rather appropriately, faust is German for "fist"). Two shows with Tokyo's The Marble Sheep at Roppongi Super Deluxe promise to be more friendly affairs.

Faust's core membership of Diermaier, Irmler and Peron have been breaking up, collaborating and re-forming on and off since time immemorial. Their latest reunion occurred in 2004, when Peron rejoined after seven years away from the band. The latest twist in their story has seen the band split into two separate Fausts designed to reflect different aspects of the original group. For an outfit as multifaceted as they are, it's hard to imagine that two versions will be enough, but for now at least we are treated to the interesting situation of Diermaier and Peron's Faust playing Tokyo on the same days that Irmler's Faust are playing Switzerland.

Faust play Sept. 6 at Liquidroom in Ebisu, Tokyo (6 p.m.; 7,000 yenin advance, 7,500 yen on the door; [03] 3444-6751); and Sept. 7 and 8 at Super Deluxe in Roppongi, Tokyo (collaboration with Marble Sheep; 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. respectively; 4,000 yen in advance, 4,500 yen on the door; [03] 5412-0515).

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