Gas – Nah Und Fern (2008)


The latter half of the 1990’s were a busy time for Cologne, Germany based electronic producer and Kompakt co-founder Wolfgang Voigt. Known for being prolific and releasing pretty much any kind of electronic music you can think of, he released the first of four albums as Gas, his expansive and influential ambient techno project in 1996. Over the course of four albums- 1996’s Gas, 1997’s Zauberberg, 1999’s Königsforst, and 2000’s Pop, Voigt gained wide critical praise for his hypnotic compositions. Seemingly atonal and without melody or structure, and oftentimes only accompanied by a singular 4/4 bass pulse, it’s difficult to describe the six or seven tracks on each album as ‘songs’. Rather, each is an exercise in distilling sound to it’s most pure, embryonic form; before it has developed any distinctive musical traits such as tonality or timbre and looping, blending, and manipulating it across stereo channels until it reaches a singularity. Eventually, you lose track where each frequency is born or dies, or any sort of idea as to what equipment could be generating such sound. Voigt’s machine-generated sound becomes so manipulated and distilled that it eventually loses any and all of its mechanical and digital traits, coming back around full circle to something that sounds like it came out of nature itself; as Voigt describes it, “Gaseous music, caught by a bass drum just marching by, that streams, streams out through the underwood across the forest soil”.

Kompakt released Nah Und Fern as a box set in 2008, compiling all four Gas albums.

Standout Tracks: Pop 7, Zauberberg 5, Gas 2

For Fans Of: Tim Hecker, Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works, Loscil, Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series

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– Brian


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