After the overwhelming success of last years 1971-74 box set release, containing the first four studio albums and for the first time ever this lost 'last' album recording, Punkt gets a deserved and necessary stand alone release to the relief of fans and collectors and the undoubted future gratification of those yet to experience the magic in these recordings.
The band called it 5½, fans referred to it as the "Munich album" and for almost fifty years it's been the missing chapter in Faustian mythology. Now for the first time, the German iconoclasts' previously unreleased fifth album sees the light of day as Punkt. Not only does this title place a bold full stop after the final recording by the group's seminal line up of Péron, Irmler, Sosna, Wüsthoff and Diermaier, but it also references the unflinching anarchism of German rock's ultimate outsiders. Punkt is Faust at their most unhindered, untethered and unstoppable.
Returning to Germany after a loss-making U.K. tour and after their manager Uwe Nettelbeck had split with them,the group dusted themselves down and planned their next project, what would have been their second for Richard Branson's Virgin. Joined as always by their engineering genius Kurt Graupner, the band took residence in the Arabella High Rise Building, the luxury hotel which housed Giorgio Moroder's Musicland Studio in its basement. At the time, the Italian's space disco odyssey was yet to blast off, and he gave the group the studio downtime around his sessions with Donna Summer.
Off the leash and on the lash (running up a record breaking room service bill), Faust spent their nights below ground, creating the sublime cacophony which courses through these seven tracks. Driven by Diermaier's primitive repetition and Péron's rabid low end growl, "Morning Land" stomps its way through almost ten minutes of heavy psychedelia. Vocals disintegrate into the sonic landslide of guitar feedback and synth scree, momentum building until the track rends open the hellmouth with its unthinkable heft. A Luciferian spirit courses through the beatless "Crapolino", a tumult of scorched guitar chords, strident FXs and disembodied vocals which bares all the hallmarks of a black mass. And just like that, the group summon some demonic hunting party for "Knochentanz" (bone dance), arguably their most immersive creation. Opening with Péron's plangent horn, the track soon establishes a hypnotic c ounterpoint between Irmler's electronic sequences and Diermaier's sparse rhythm, a pulse which continues to build for six minutes as kick drum, snare, shaker and toms pile on beneath the ever-present drone. The storm clears for a second to allow a celestial chord progression to emerge from the darkness before the heavens open and Sosna's snarling, sawing guitar rains down from above, carrying "Knochentanz" through its final iteration, a collision of muscular fretwork, percussion freakout and bleeping organ which completes the most psychedelic recording you've never heard.
The frazzled optimism of "Fernlicht" buzzes away like an acid Beethoven bathed in neons, before the breathless "Juggernaut" stretches the definition of blues rock to its limit as squirming sine waves, clattering cymbals and corrosive guitars pan, reverse and overlap, each following its own unhinged rhythm. Then for a time the sound and the fury abate, making space for the frankly sublime "Schön Rund", a piano-led diversion into the soul-swelling realms of ECM jazz and fin de siècleimpressionism, which rivals anything else in their catalogue for pure beauty. And in case you thought they'd gone soft, Faust sign off with the guttural groans and course drones of "Prends Ton Temps". After ten days of recording, it became clear that Branson wasn't footing the bill and Péron, Irmler and Sosna were arrested until the mothers of Sosna and Irmler paid the bill - though not before smuggling the master tapes into an undisclosed location, where they've waited ever since...