Title: The Faust Cycle (or The House of Dr. Faustus)
Artist: Ergo Phizmiz
Release Date: 2009
Label: Headphonica
License: CC BY-NC-SA

Today’s section is “The Abduction of the Object”. By this point, I have lost most of the narrative thread of the story, only to say that I do know what the object is, and was surprised by this turn of events, as it represents possibly the only aspect of an actual plot line that isn’t part of the setup, or a set of narrative twists and turns.

Ergo is chasing a Linnet in a part of the house he doesn’t recognize.  He doesn’t remember what he did with the parcel, and now imagines that if he happens on Dr. Faustus, he doesn’t relish telling him that he’s lost the package.  As he chases the Linnet he finds himself in an auditorium with a cross dressing person on stage, reciting odd sing-song-ish poetry than rolls on and on endlessly and barely making any real sense.  The audience is a bunch of (again) people dressed in bird suits.

It’s after the cross-dresser that Faustus appears on the stage, wheeling out what appears to be a life size doll: Eloise. With the emergence of Faustus on the stage, we are presented with a series of processes for the construction of an automaton. I won’t explain here, however this section links together several of the more unusual recurring elements of the piece to give us an idea of how Faustus has accomplished a miracle:  Eloise is an automaton.

While we and Ergo have been introduced to Eloise before, now she is quite appealing to Ergo.  She has become a thing of beauty, something desirable.  So desirable that he storms the stage, knocks out Faustus (with a trombone he steals from the orchestra) and grabs Eloise and runs away with her.  And thus ends chunk 4 of The Faust Cycle, with possibly one of the most standard plot points of a narrative.  However, it doesn’t seem like a cop-out.  It works, we have seen Eloise before, and by now (nearly 12 hours into the piece) couldn’t have imagined that this was going to happen.

Much of the music and sound collages in this section were put together by James Nye & Ergo Phizmiz. And in this case, the majority of it has been used to illustrate the construction of Eloise and automata’s.  This is possibly one of more distinct and specific examples of an interweaving of the narrative elements with sound collage techniques.  Part of the sound collage reveals another source of the elements of The Faust Cycle: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.



Ergo Phizmiz: The Faust Cycle (or The House of Dr. Faustus)




Posted by George De Bruin


  1. i awaited this frankenstein-collation to occur somewhen 🙂

    1. I don’t know why I missed it earlier. It should have been more obvious with the appearance of Eloise. I guess I was too distracted with all the other narrative elements, structure, etc. to catch it.

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