℗ 1973 ℗ Virgin Records Ltd. Distributed by EMI & Island.
Text panel at the top of the front cover: "The music on this album, drawn from Faust's own library of private tapes, was recorded informally and not originally intended for release. However, since British interest in the group has been unusually great, it has been decided to make some of this unofficial material available to the public in this country. These tapes have been left exactly as they were recorded - frequently live - and no post-production work has been imposed on them. The group wish to make it clear that this is not to be regarded as their third album, but a bonus release - on sale at the current price of a single - to mark their signing with Virgin Records, for whom they will shortly be recording their next official album. The Faust Tapes reveals Faust at their most personal and spontaneous. It's a unique glimpse behind the scenes of a group which European and British critics have hailed as one of the most exciting and exploratory in the world. Virgin Records"
The rest of the front cover text is made out of press quotes from: Best, Rock & Folk, Sounds, Disc, Extra, Pop Music, and New Musical Express.
Black & white 'twins' Virgin labels indicate Side One and Side Two without any track titles, some parts were specified on later reissues. Musicians are uncredited. The cover has a 'fluted spine' (pinched at both edges).
Catalogue number variations: VC501 on cover spine and labels VC 5o1 on top-right of front cover
Groundbreaking album in every respect which, like Lumpy Gravy before it, employs all manner of tape splicing and studio trickery to achieve thrilling results. Early Faust bears little to no resemblance to other Krautrock bands of the day like Kraftwerk, Neu or Can for instance. While more groove-oriented people like Can, I prefer the far-reaching experimental brand of music Faust proffered forth on their first three albums in general, and this one in particular. An absolutely timeless and influential record, predating the industrial sound by several years.
Simply one of the defining moments of Krautrock as far as I'm concerned. Polydor was not happy with their input, deeming it "not commercial enough", so they went over to Virgin Records. Apparently Richard Branson's Virgin Records was just a record store and he'd sell imports from the likes of Gong, Faust, Tangerine Dream, and the likes (it became a label because he wanted to give Mike Oldfield a chance when no other record label did, and obviously those other mentioned groups ended on the label). Given Faust was selling so much better in the UK than Germany, it's little wonder why these guys switched to Virgin.
The Faust Tapes were a collection of recordings the band was doing up to that point. Virgin sold it for 49p, the price of a single in the UK at the time. One can only imagine the reaction of kids on a limited budget what they were getting into when they bought this, on pocket change! The music has a cut and paste approach. At first it starts off rather mellow. Piano-dominated, almost veering towards symphonic prog, but then it quickly changes to weird voices inspired by Can's "Aumgn" (even has that similar echo), then they get into a repetitive jam. Throughout the album you're treated with tons of weird sound effect, noise, and the occasional "real song" to settle you down. Some of the vocals are in English, German, and even French (helps that Jean Hervé Peron was French himself). Of all the early releases I've heard on Virgin (1973 to about 1978), this is probably the most extreme and bizarre albums I've heard on that label.
The front cover is basically a collection of press releases from various British and French rock critics from various magazines regarding Faust (I noticed John Peel was one of them, but I guess that isn't too surprising), most of them in English, a couple of them in French. The back features artwork from Bridget Riley called Crest, which was done in 1964. Virgin gave no permission from her to include the artwork on the album, therefor latter pressings never featured that artwork. Even though it's from 1964, it still gives that '70s feel perfect for an album released in 1973.
For those who enjoy the more extreme Krautrock, this album is required in your collection.