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Baker's Dozen

Chance-Taking: Stephen McRobbie Of The Pastels' Favourite Albums
John Freeman , June 3rd, 2013 08:53

With The Pastels releasing their first album in 16 years last week, original member Stephen McRobbie reveals the 13 albums that “defined his taste” and inspired his band


Faust - The Faust Tapes
The Faust Tapes was a record I got into through being a fan of other groups like Swell Maps, who had mentioned Faust. I picked this up, which was a 70s reissue of the record, and liked some of it and really didn’t like other parts of it. It has got a brilliant range to it; some of it is accessible with these gorgeous rolling pop songs that go into full-on percussive wildness. This copy doesn’t even list the tracks so trying to find your favourite moments is completely impossible. The sleeve is very interesting – it has a 70s DIY aesthetic.

Initially, I had liked the name Faust and they were definitely seen as an important group. The album had originally come out on Virgin and Richard Branson released it [priced] as a 49p single, so a lot of people had it. I remember reading an interview with Jim Kerr from Simple Minds and he had bought it and absolutely hated it, so in a way I thought I’d probably really like it - although I do like a couple of Simple Minds’ songs!

I like the way the album is edited – there are a lot of really hard cuts on it. So, it is a lot to take in and I do find it hard to imagine that when Faust put it together that they thought their audience would like it. Every single thing about it has a sense of chance-taking which is often missing from music right now. They made these cuts in quite a ruthless way and probably left out some really good stuff and just went for a wild moment. Some of it seems quite influenced - to me - by Jean Luc Goddard, in the way he edited some of those 60s films.

Faust were a group from Germany who lived in a remote place and dedicated themselves to their music. It seems to be a German mentality for groups to live together in some abandoned place and really work hard to make something – Can and Kraftwerk had a similar ethos. The group has divided now and there are two versions of Faust. The keyboard player has his own studio, while the drummer and bass player still play together. I saw their show a couple of years ago in Stirling and I thought it was fantastic. The record has been very rewarding over time.

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