Monday, October 4, 2010

Faust live/klangbad – avant-garde in the meadow DVD

(Play Loud!) This double feature DVD delivers the German avant-garde live magic to the nth degree. I say that in part because the beautifully shot documentary of the 2005 Klangbaad fest (not sure what anyone was talking about in the brief non-concert moments. I did not pursue subtitles) appears for the first 15 minutes to be the MOST avant-garde fest ever, because it seems that they have built a huge stage and invited a bunch of acts like Circle, Minit, Jutta Koether, Nista Nije Nista and Faust…but no audience! This is a seriously high concept fest! Eventually we see two or three people at a park bench enjoying the non-abrasive noises.  Then a half-hour in we see the catering preparing a mountain of rolls and are disappointed to realize that a lot of people are actually going to show up. But the bands don’t change tone much whether an audience is there or not, and the crowds seem pretty tame as they contemplate the cerebral acts, not even flipping out at the light shows and madness of Krautrock legends Faust.  Cut to the other feature, a full document of their performance at that fest. Now Faust is a band who holds a special place in the heart of Chicago musicians during the 90s. Not simply because all the post-rockers and hipsters were Kraut-ophiles , but more importantly because during their reunion tour stop in Chicago they took  a chainsaw to the brilliant, beautiful catwalk at the Lounge Ax nightclub, destroying one of the best structures for cocky, theatrical performances, leaving a lot of local frontman stuck on stage with their lowly musicians. Damn, you Faust! But they are redeemed here with an hour of psychedelic soundscapes of escalating noise and tender sonic violence. Still, the crowd stands arms folded, unmoved. It makes you long for jam band fans doing the Grateful Dead dance! 

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