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on 24 July 2008
This is a remastered rerelease of Wolfgang Voigt's GAS project of the mid 90s to early 2000s - 4 cds of beautiful, masterful electronica. Voigt was one of the founders of the German techno label Kompakt. The new release is packaged in a very attractive box with the cds in printed card sleeves of fairly abstract 'nature' photos. No text except 4 complementary inserts of more nature shots. Minimal, but gorgeous, and a limited collector's item at an amazing price. Buy it buy it buy it. End.
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on 8 October 2008
I lost track of ambient sometime in the mid nineties. Positive reviews and the relatively low price made me try this one out and it cannot be faulted. "Golden era" Aphex spring to mind (ie both Ambient Works albums) . Like the best Ambient it envelops your entire being when listening to it as time becomes irrelevant. I cannot now imagine living without it. Each album has a tone to it whilst all link together as an inspirational piece of work. Words fail me.... buy while you can as this will be treasured as a work of genius in years to come.
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on 31 May 2011
GAS is the brainchild of Wolfgang Voigt, owner of influential electronic music imprint Kompakt. With countless records under different pseudonyms plus owning various record labels in the past, Voigt is considered a bit of a legend in the field of ambient techno. Nothing exemplifies this more than his GAS project.

Nah und Fern (which translates as Near and Far) collects together the 4 hard-to-find albums released by Voigt under the GAS psudonym between 1996 and 2000. Basically if you're looking for essential ambient techno then you stop here.

I feel that viewing the four albums as a whole makes them feel more substantial than if the albums were re-released separately, which was a great choice to begin with. The albums are presented in a box with card sleeves which serve to portion out the tracks in their respective albums. It's one body of work with one goal, one presence with only tiny dynamic and stylistic shifts to separate them. There is no need to separate them.

GAS is utterly transcendental music. Heavily processed strings, piano, guitar and I imagine a whole host of other sounds and eerie soundscapes comprise the murk of GAS' overall sound. Each wave of sound threads into another and warps and flows in and out of consciousness creating a dense, soothing cotton-wool atmosphere to immerse yourself into. Half of the tracks are pinned down by an unrelenting techno pulse that really does sound like a heart beat emanating from a vast murky cavern.

It is creepy music but it's somehow calming and soothing at the same time - it carries you off. It also occasionally provides a blank canvas for whatever emotion that surfaces, takes it and carries it away with the atmospheric lava-flow of pulsing beats and cotton-wool soundscapes. The best example I've found that resembles GAS' murk, dread and atmosphere is that scene in the mines of Moria in Lord of the Rings, when they hear the "drums from the deep" before the fiery balrog creature emerges from the caverns.

I haven't heard anything quite like GAS before or since. Other ambient electronic music like Basic Channel, Aphex Twin's first album, Monolake or Echospace don't quite capture that otherworldly vibe and atmosphere conjoured by GAS' four monumental albums. They're all dwarfed by the sheer scale and weight of the material. Echospace sounds positively cheerful and childlike when juxtaposed with track five from Zauberberg, the second GAS album, for example.

I will say, for the record - and you'd probably guessed this from reading the review anyway - that I can't stress enough how utterly inaccessible this music is. It's debatable even if you can call it "music" at all. It's like the audible representation of gravity or tectonic plates or something - not "music". "Music" is melodious and you can hum it. Can't you? Also - it's definitely for certain moods - you can't just stick it on anytime; it'll clear a party in seconds.

If you're looking for something a bit different, try some GAS. There's nothing else quite like it. Astonishing stuff.
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on 28 February 2010
...in that you'll either love it or hate it.

Listen with only superficial attention and it's possibly the most dull 4+ hours of electronic noise you would have the displeasure to endure.

But turn off all the lights, put the CD (or even better the vinyl, though that's incredibly hard to get hold of) onto a high quality sound system, close your eyes and listen with all your attention, and this box set offers a sublime musical experience.

It's hard to describe the music without (a) sounding incredibly pretentious or (b) talking nonsense (or possibly both), and I'd never recommend this box set to anyone because ambient techno is an acquired taste in the extreme. But at this price, for those who have acquired this taste, this box set is an absolute steal.

Without a doubt each of the four GAS albums in this box set is one of my very top albums of all time.
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on 9 November 2010
Make no mistake, these releases are sublime, gorgeous and essential. I'm even basing a small portion of my PhD on them! I would easily give them five stars but...

The remastering in this value set has ruined some of the preciousness in the tracks, to the point where the subtle aesthetics have been blasted away. Unfortunately this is particularly noticeable on the Konigsforst CD where Untitled 5 - probably the most revered track in the entire canon has been distorted out of existence.

This is a massive shame. The set looks like excellent value for money, but please search out second hand copies of Konigsforst and compare on headphones especially. This might seem pedantic, but these pieces are all about precise tonal colours and precision.

Massively disappointing, especially as the originals are hard to track down now.
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on 12 January 2009
To call GAS ambient is to do it a disservice. This is truly immersive music, orchestral soundscapes, and slightly otherworldly. Very beautiful and unique.
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on 12 July 2011
If you have any sort of interest, even passing, in any type of electronic music, or let's be fair, music in general, this should be on your shopping list. There's so much beauty and depth here that words can't really do it justice. Make space for this album in your day and lose yourself in it.
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on 27 December 2008
Ambient has always been speculated as being dinner table trash, or 'boring' or even a con. But i dont blame it on those who said those things becuase they had been listening to too much Ragtime or 70's Rock. I blame it on their lack of adventure. I love this because i dont feel patronised at all when im listening, but then id probably be ignoring it anyway.
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