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GAS Narkopop Kompakt

There’s always been something intangible about Wolfgang Voigt’s output as GAS. His dense productions have this romantic way of ascending, effervescing and then disappearing without any great friction or disturbance. It’s as if Voigt has captured and documented the fleeting moments of departing from a club in the morning; craniums humming as the bass from sound systems ominously thuds like the distant trampling of bombs. And since the release of his 1995 debut EP under the GAS moniker on Germany’s time-honoured minimal techno imprint Millie Plateaux, Voigt has seldom divorced himself from this marriage of unearthly ambient and techno.

Following on from 2000’s Pop (which was widely regarded as Voigt’s most accessible record within the GAS spectrum), Voigt’s sound remains instantly identifiable. What Narkopop aims to achieve is the collation of all GAS impressions from the 1995 debut to present day. Aesthetically, Voigt returns to the conceptual visuals of a coloured forest-scape – a theme that has remained a constant throughout his work as GAS. This image alone indicates Narkopop’s familiarity and positions the record comfortably within the temperament of Voigt’s trademark sound. However, look closer and you unearth illusory fragments of industrial architecture; suggesting a human or synthetic construction buried deep within Voigt’s woodlands. If we entertain this idea, Narkopop’s material endlessly fidgets from strangely embracing to subtly menacing. Whereas Pop was a bright and tranquillising listen that carried much of the producer’s so-called ‘underwater’ qualities, Narkopop sees Voigt return to the heavier abstractions of his early works. This balance between light and dark, melodic and atonal, symphonic and cacophonous, aligns perfectly. Despite the 20-year absence, GAS’s return is absolutely welcome.