Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tony Conrad With Faust - The Pyre Of Angus Was In Kathmandu

(Table of the Elements, 1993)

Two outtakes from the 1972 Outside the Dream Syndicate sessions, with Tony Conrad on violin and a few members of Faust (Werner Diermaier, Jean-Herve Peron, and Rudolf Sosna) helping out on bass, drums, and synth. These tracks don’t have the intensity or the insane focus of the two long pieces that make up the LP; those were mind-melting endurance tests, with Conrad’s drone shrieking above the most basic two-note, boom-thwap boom-thwap accompaniment for an entire album side. These recordings feel like outtakes, like slightly-bored jam-session noodlings accidentally caught on tape between the white-knuckled epics that actually saw release in ’72. What I love about Outside the Dream Syndicate is the stylistic tug of war that goes on between the players: the discipline of Conrad’s vision/method meeting the loose ’n’ wacky Faust makes for a tense and exhausting listen as the violinist imposes strict order on his hairy pals. Much of that is lost here, as the rhythm section is allowed to get livelier, even heading into funky territory on “The Death of the Composer Was in 1962.” It’s an interesting pair of recordings that fills out the Conrad/Faust picture a bit more, but neither track rates as must-have. Anyway, the material from this rare and oft-pricey 7” was later included on the double-CD 30th anniversary edition of Outside the Dream Syndicate, so the smart move is to go find that thing and just get all of the recordings from these sessions in one nifty package. After that, cop the live version from 1995 (Outside the Dream Syndicate Alive), which is brutally heavy and thus pulls off the shocking trick of actually topping the original.

No comments: