Lustfaust was ‘a pioneering band from West Berlin active from the mid-‘70s, involved with early industrial, noise and electronic musical experimentation. The band’s most significant work was in their use and promotion of the tape trading network while it was still in its infancy and their requests for fans to make their own covers for the albums which were shared through the band’s fanzine Falke Tränen.’ At least that’s what you’ll read if you look them up on Wikipedia. In truth they never existed. The band is the mental offspring of artist Jamie Shovlin, one of an ongoing series of works in which he attempts to question the way in which we map and classify the world.
Lustfaust have only existed in word and image: the DIY tape covers of the fans, concert shots replete with naked groupies, a fully formed fans’ website. Until now, that is. The fictive Krautrock band has taken on an aural dimension with the posting of four tracks for all to hear on the Lustfaust Myspace page (www.myspace.com/lustfaust). The first, ‘Falke Tränen’, is held together by trance-like looped sound distortions drowning out a squawking lead guitar. ‘Die Sicherheit der ...’ is a jangling echo of a party that may have been great to attend but isn’t fun to hear about second-hand. On the throwaway ‘Schwarze Parteienhute’ reverberating drums, guitar and piano compete with the sound of a man singing plaintively in German. Lastly, ‘Chapel of Dreams’ sounds like small kids let loose in Hamleys’ music department high on a sugar rush.
Lustfaust’s – or rather, Shovlin’s – music does not stand alone outside this larger overall project, which is concerned with received forms of representation, however it is the final missing part of it. The ‘official’ website (www.lustfaust.com) sometimes veers toward a satirical parody of the morass of Internet biographies and nostalgia sites that it mimics, but really it sits comfortably alongside them. The extensive online biography tours the usual venues of the rock band history – early lack of recognition, infighting, hospitalized drummers, antagonistic support slots, ridiculous outfits – but fails to add any new ones. It holds few laughs and little in the way of critique of the high myths of the Krautrock scene (also known as ‘Kosmiche Musik’). In all forms Lustfaust seems to simply reflect reality, mirroring some of the histories, sounds and early politics of the German Krautrock music scene of the 1970s, but the absence of the energy that propelled the original is strongly felt.
The greatest Krautrockers broke down musical form, found the limits and discovered new directions. The Lustfaust project fails to push the inherited form of the Internet fan site far enough to make its limitations apparent or discover new directions, sitting somewhere between spoof and homage without settling on either.