Well what do we have here then? Following on from that enormous box set of his greatest work of 20 years vintage, Wolfgang Voigt re-ignites his Gas project with a new album which, though it continues the thick foggy sonics of earlier work introduces dense and sometimes atonal sonics to the magical mist with that pulsing kick drum as always ever present.
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So why does Wolfgang Voigt bring his GAS project back after twenty years? Did he need a new bathroom suite installing? Or did the recent slavering appetite for that box set make him decide to give the people more of the thing he'd been studiously avoiding over the past couple of decades?
Well here it is anyway and a quick judgment on it would improbably be to say it's comparable to, say, how the recent Suede, Pixies or Dinosaur Jr albums stand up to their glory day LPs. They sort of do the same thing, have the general same sound and aesthetic are not disastrous by any stretch but there's some magical ingredient missing. I don't know whether Voigt is using different equipment these days but certain tracks lack the rusted graininess of the 'classic era' recordings. There's a slight clean-ness to some of the production which fails to capture that dark brooding intensity. The difference being - I can sort of see how he's done this whereas those earlier recordings seem to have emerged out of the ether.
Track two is a case in point - after the beatless opening track the familiar thumping kick drum appears - Voigt has overlaid some swirling orchestral type sounds which are almost discordant at times, breaking the relentless chug and smooth blissed-out atmospheres that characterise his best work. That said it's not to say there's not some impressive work here, the lo-end thump of track 4 is still unlike anything else around. It blurs and shudders in and out of focus, never seeming to be happy to settle in one position, it's not as if everyone else has caught up with Voigt - he's still out on his own here. Occasionally he pushes the envelope in new directions - particularly on the buzzing distorted snare of 5 which is an unfamiliar bedrock for some sweeping atmospherics and track 6 has some watery harp samples burbling around some buzzing industrial clatter. The synths though sound clunky and rather out of place. the penultimate track is a wonderfully orchestral cycle of doom with some classic stretched out incredibly eerie shards of synthesizer but the final 10th track has what I came here to see with a flat kick drum and two note dark techno synths doing what GAS does best and what so many imitators have tried. Here finally is a track where Voigt doesn't appear to be pressing too many keys down at once.
Glimpses then of brilliance particularly towards the end of the record but also the sense of maybe doing too much or trying too much. If you buy then it will certainly nestle alongside those long worn earlier discs without being too out of place but only time will tell whether it's one to reach for first.
6/10 Jonathan Customer review, 4th May 2017
The Norman review was accurate in that one gets the feeling of Voight going through the motions. Narkopop has a few moments of inspiration but overall it's lacklustre. I had my doubts this would be first rate as hardly any artists make good records after such a lengthy hiatus. Nostalgia is the enemy of art.
9/10 Gregor Customer review, 21st April 2017
It's a rarity, but I flat out disagree with the Norman review. That's also fine, because we live in a world where we can have different opinions without wanting to maul each other (usually).
The GAS moniker had been out of action for the best part of 15+ years before resurfacing this year. But, Wolfgang has (mostly) been busy with other projects since then, most notably the Rückverzauberung series in recent years, which I think is a great primer to this album. Just like the self titled debut up to Pop which precedes this release, it's undeniably GAS, and it's undeniably Wolfgang Voigt. However, does that mean we should be interested in another 4/4 techno ambient record spanning over an hour? Yes, yes it bloody well should.
This record is more 'classical' and less despairing in comparison to older releases. But it doesn't divert too much. So in that sense, if you didn't care in the late 90s to early 00s, you definitely won't care now, unless you're looking to jump on the flip train (tut tut). In saying that though, I can understand why it can be a criticism. Has Wolfgang brought the GAS name out of retirement because he has something new to express or is it because it arguably has a bigger gathering than it did during its initial conception? Only he knows the answer to that. It doesn't faze me though, because this is exactly what I'd come to expect from a GAS record in 2017, and I'm happy to have seen a release during my lifetime, at least while I had developed an appreciation for the content.
This is classic GAS, and it's classic Wolfgang, right place, at the right time, whether you like it or not.
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