Gas (musician)

Last updated
Gas
Gaslogo.svg
The signature Gas logo
Background information
Birth name Wolfgang Voigt
Genres
Years active 19952000, 2014present
Labels Mille Plateaux, Kompakt

Gas (stylized as GAS or G A S) is a music project of Wolfgang Voigt (born 1961), a German electronic musician. Voigt cites his youthful LSD experiences in the Königsforst, a German forest situated near his hometown of Cologne, as the inspiration behind his work under the name Gas. [1] He has claimed that the intention of the project is to "bring the forest to the disco, or vice-versa". [2] [3]

Wolfgang Voigt German musician and label owner

Wolfgang Voigt is an electronic music DJ and producer from Cologne, Germany, known for his output under various aliases, such as Gas. He signed on numerous record labels, including Warp, Harvest, Raster-Noton, Force Inc, Astral Industries and Kompakt. The latter was co-founded by Voigt alongside Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape. He is considered one of the most influential minimal techno artists.

Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.

Cologne Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Cologne is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and its 1 million+ (2016) inhabitants make it the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The largest city on the Rhine, it is also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centred on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.

Contents

Aliases and projects

Voigt is known for over 30 aliases and projects. [4] Of these, his best known is arguably Gas. [5]

Other names under which Voigt has released music include, but are not limited to, All, Auftrieb, Brom, C.K. Decker, Centrifugal Force, Crocker, Dextro NRG, Dieter Gorny, Digital, Dom, Doppel, Filter, Freiland, Fuchsbau, Gelb, Grungerman, Kafkatrax, Love Inc., M:I:5, Mike Ink, Mint, Panthel, Popacid, Riss, RX7, Split Inc., Strass, Studio 1, Tal, Vinyl Countdown, W.V., Wassermann, and X-Lvis. [6]

History

In 2008, Voigt's own label Kompakt re-released all four of his Gas albums, albeit with subtle changes made to the tracks, as a four-CD box set entitled Nah und Fern . A limited double vinyl version of the set was also released, with one track from each album per side. In 2016, Kompakt reissued Zauberberg, Königsforst, Oktember and Pop as a 10-LP box set called Box, again editing or expanding many of the tracks.

Kompakt is a Cologne-based electronic music independent record label and vinyl/CD distributor, owned by Wolfgang Voigt, Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape. They specialize in microhouse and minimal techno, and are known for their Total compilation series which reached its seventeenth installment in 2017.

<i>Nah und Fern</i> 2008 box set by Gas

Nah und Fern is a boxed set collecting the four albums released by Wolfgang Voigt under the Gas alias between 1996 and 2000, released on 10 June 2008. An edited double vinyl edition was also released alongside the compact disc box set. Voigt noted around the time of release that, during remastering of his work, the music seemed to resist attempts at cleaning up the recordings, with the muffled or lo-fi nature of some elements of the music forming an integral part of the characteristic Gas sound. All four albums were originally released on the label Mille Plateaux. The box set reached #13 on the Billboard Top World Music Albums chart.

Voigt has intermittently revived the project for remixes and released a new Gas album entitled Narkopop on April 21, 2017. [7]

<i>Narkopop</i> 2017 studio album by Gas

Narkopop is the fifth studio album by Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project, the first album under the moniker in 17 years and his first on Kompakt. The album was released on 21 April 2017.

Music

Gas's sound is ambient techno [5] [8] [9] and minimal techno, [10] [11] combining ambient music and 4/4 techno. [3] It is the most abstract of Voigt's many projects, [8] with each album consisting of several long tracks. All Gas material shares a characteristic sound, consisting of an ambient wash of drones and loops, "barely-audible fragments of horns, strings, record hiss and wind", [12] usually accompanied by a repetitive four-on-the-floor kick drum. [12] [13] The Wire described it as "an outdoor rave, heard floating through the air from a neighbouring village". [1] Voigt names it "GASeous music, caught by a bass drum just marching by, that streams, streams out through the underwood across the forest soil". [1] He also said it "[moves] around in constantly overlapping loop structures" and "there is no definite start nor end". [14] His live performances, which he performs using MIDI controls and Ableton Live, has this same organic quality. [15]

Ambient techno is a 1990s offshoot of techno and ambient house that united the atmospheric textures of ambient music with the melodic and rhythmic elements of techno and electro. It was pioneered by electronic artists such as B12, Aphex Twin, the Black Dog, Higher Intelligence Agency, and Biosphere.

Minimal techno is a minimalist subgenre of techno music. It is characterized by a stripped-down aesthetics that exploits the use of repetition and understated development. Minimal techno is thought to have been originally developed in the early 1990s by Detroit-based producers Robert Hood and Daniel Bell. By the early 2000s the term 'minimal' generally described a style of techno that was popularised in Germany by labels such as Kompakt, Perlon, and Richie Hawtin's M-nus, among others.

Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. A form of slow instrumental music, it uses repetitive, but gentle, soothing sound patterns that can be described as sonic wallpaper to complement or alter one’s space and to generate a sense of calmness. The genre is said to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual", or "unobtrusive" quality.

He commented that he builds his tracks using samples, which are manipulated beyond recognition to create what can better be described as textural environments than songs. He described the technique as "a certain kind of loops [ sic ] and reverse, and alternated reverses, which has no ending and no start, and it's just totally confusing". [1] Most of the time there is no clear musical progression in a Gas track, because it lacks any trace of orthodox melody or chord change, many would not describe it as musical. [footnote 1] [14] However, the sources of Voigt's samples are often of musical origin, encapsulating "old pop record stuff" [1] as well as classical music such as Richard Wagner and Arnold Schoenberg. [14]

Discography

All Gas tracks are untitled, except the Modern and Oktember releases.

Albums

EPs

Compilations

Remixes

See also

Footnotes

  1. Voigt has responded directly to this statement in this Wikipedia article in an interview with online music journal Globecat:
    Q: In your Wikipedia entry, whoever wrote it says: "Because Gas music lacks any trace of melody or chord change, many would not describe it as *musical*." How would you respond to the writer of the article -- and where do you personally draw the line between "musical" and "non-musical," if there is such a line?
    A: I think the boundaries between "musical" and "non-musical" are in a state of flux. Otherwise, I do not really care about any "musicality" related to GAS. Emotions, structure, aesthetics are more important to me. Melodies in the classical sense are not supposed to be in GAS, although they exist, as hidden and overlayered as the chord changes. But you have to notice them.

Related Research Articles

Microhouse, buftech or sometimes just minimal, is a subgenre of house music strongly influenced by minimalism and 1990s techno.

Thomas Köner German artist

Thomas Köner is a multimedia artist whose main interest lies in combining visual and auditory experiences. The BBC, in a review of Köner's work in 1997, calls him a "media artist," one who works between installation, sound art, ambient music and as one half of Porter Ricks dub techno. A noted characteristics of Köner's dark ambient style are low drones and static soundscapes evocative of desolate, Arctic places.

Mille Plateaux is an electronica record label founded 1993 by Achim Szepanski in Frankfurt, Germany. It mostly releases minimal techno, glitch music and other experimental electronic music.

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<i>Oktember</i> 1999 EP by Gas

Oktember is the second EP by Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project. It was released in 1999 on the Mille Plateaux label. "Oktember A" was later released as the first song on the CD pressing of Gas' third album Königsforst. Because of this, "Oktember A" was replaced with "Tal '90", as part of Oktember's inclusion in Gas' second boxed set, Box.

<i>Gas</i> (Gas album) album by Gas

Gas is the debut album by Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project, released on 29 November 1996 on the Mille Plateaux label. Gas solidifies the sound of the project, moving away from dance floor-ready techno by incorporating lengthy pieces of ambient music, under which is a sole kick drum. It is the only album by Gas not to feature the forest motif in its artwork.

<i>Zauberberg</i> (album) 1997 studio album by Gas

Zauberberg is the second album by Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project. It was released in December 1997 on the Mille Plateaux label. The album is named in reference to the Thomas Mann novel The Magic Mountain. It is the first Gas album to incorporate the forest imagery that would become a trademark of the project. Reviews generally cite Zauberberg as the darkest, most dissonant Gas release.

<i>Königsforst</i> 1999 studio album by Gas

Königsforst is the third album by Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project. It was released in 1999 on the Mille Plateaux label. The album is named after Königsforst recreation park, near Voigt's hometown of Köln, in which his youthful experiments with LSD provided inspiration for the entire Gas project.

<i>Pop</i> (Gas album) 2000 studio album by Gas

Pop is the fourth album by Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project, released on 28 March 2000 on Mille Plateaux. At the time of its release, reviews noted 'a striking left turn' in the sound, compared to other Gas releases; the album sounds considerably crisper, with a less muffled kickdrum and less of the 'underwater' quality present on other releases under the name. Pop is the only Gas album to be released identically on both vinyl and compact disc. The third song would appear in an extended format in Gas' second box set, Box.

<i>No Place for Us</i> 2008 EP by The Sight Below

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Robert Babicz is a Polish music producer, mastering engineer and live performer living in Cologne, Germany. With a career spanning nearly two decades covering genres from techno to acid house to minimal, Robert has also been known under the pseudonyms Rob Acid, Acid Warrior, Department of Dance and Sontec amongst many others. He has released a number of very well respected records on labels such as Kompakt, Treibstoff, Bedrock, Intec Digital and Steve Bug's Audiomatique, as well his own labels, Junkfood and Babiczstyle. He is well known as a live performer, never a DJ, as he uses synths and live equipment and improvises in every set he plays.

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<i>Rausch</i> (Gas album) 2018 studio album by Gas

Rausch is the sixth studio album by Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project. The album was released on 18 May 2018. The album consists of one piece of music that is indexed solely for navigational purposes, and is designed to be listened to in one sitting. Both vinyl and CD pressings contain the full piece.

<i>Box</i> (Gas album)

Box is the second boxed set released by Wolfgang Voigt under his Gas alias. The album collects the compact disc versions of Zauberberg, Königsforst , Pop and Oktember. The album marked Voigt's return to the Gas project, with a new album, Narkopop, seeing release the year after Box. The boxed set consisted of 10 vinyl records as well as 4 compact discs and an art book.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Young, Rob. "Deep in the woods". The Wire (291).
  2. "Red Bull Music Academy". Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  3. 1 2 Bunz, Mercedes. "Der deutsche Wald in der Disko". Heise.de. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  4. Coleman, Jonny (August 11, 2015). "10 Classic Ambient Albums For People Who Don't Know Shit About Ambient". LA Weekly . Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  5. 1 2 "Wolfgang Voigt's pioneering ambient techno gets an anthology box set". The A.V. Club . August 26, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  6. Kemker, Wolf. "wolfgang voigt @ wolf's kompaktkiste". Kompaktkiste.de. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  7. "Wolfgang Voigt Announces First New GAS Album in 17 Years". Pitchfork . March 15, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  8. 1 2 Perevedentseva, Maria (June 26, 2017). "To The Things Themselves: The Strange World Of... Wolfgang Voigt". The Quietus . Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  9. Beta, Andy. "This Is the Best Meditation Music". Vulture . Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  10. Rabenau, Kai von. "mono.kultur - Wolfgang Voigt". Mono-kultur.com. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  11. GmbH, musicline.de / PhonoNet. "Genrelexikon - Dance & Electronic - Sound of Cologne - musicline.de". Musicline.de. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  12. 1 2 Murray, Ian. "Looping Back: Wolfgang Voigt's GAS (1996-2000)". Ethos. University of North Carolina . Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  13. "Dive Into a Musical Opium Den With Wolfgang Voigt's New GAS Album". Thump. Vice Media. April 28, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  14. 1 2 3 "Interview with Wolfgang Voigt". Globecat.blogspot.com. August 12, 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2008.
  15. Sherburne, Philip (October 21, 2008). "Wolfgang Voigt plays Gas". Resident Advisor . Retrieved December 5, 2008.