6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Light in Darkness,
This review is from: Pop (Audio CD)
Gas. A simple word that carries a multitude of meanings, from the comically amusing to the harrowingly bleak. All these definitions apply to Wolfgang Voigt's trilogy of groundbreaking ambient electronica.
There's a wonderful sense of progression across the three CDs, not just in terms of the music, but also in the cover photography. Zauberberg, with its blood red forest, is dark, bleak and dissonant. Konigsforst, with a warm amber glow, has bursts of fresh, lighter ambience amidst the darkness. Then there's Pop, with its bright green leaves, reflected in the more joyful, celebratory tone of its music.
Each work is a formidable slab of sonic manipulation. Imagine a minimalist Wagner put through a sound processor, the string and horn passages mangled and warped into exciting new shapes, supplemented by deep, unnerving pulses of bass, hypnotic kick drums and shimmering hi-hats. Melodies occasionally form, swirling around in a chaotic, gaseous state, before dissipating within the main body of sound.
Listen to each album in isolation, or else listen to all three of them, in any order you like, depending on your mood. Go for a red-yellow-green combination to experience an ascension from a chaotic void towards a divine light. Go for a green-yellow-red combination and allow yourself to be caught up in a demonic maelstrom, pulling you out of your cosy existence to plunge you into the realms of darkness.
Purists may like to collect the vinyl version of each album, which contain alternative mixes of a few tracks. Then there's Oktember -- a companion EP to the series -- with its dark turquoise cover, representing a state of flux that exists between Konigsforst and Pop. Or there's the self-titled Gas album, an early prototype of the ideology behind the subsequent releases.
A thoroughly recommended addition to anyone's electronica collection, especially for fans of the likes of Autechre, Vladislav Delay and Monolake who are looking for dark chillout material with an edge.