Gas
Zauberberg


3.5
great

Review

by rogerdiscoversherpes USER (10 Reviews)
May 15th, 2010 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wolfgang Voigt warps and distorts techno sounds to create some unique ambient goodness.

With me, hearing a four-on-the-floor beat normally induces instant nausea. It's a little bit different though in the case of Gas – one of German electronic maestro Wolfgang Voigt's various pseudonyms. According to Voigt, the Gas project is inspired by his experiences with psychoactives in the Black Forest as a youth (which would probably be easy enough to deduce even if Voigt hadn't specified as much). Gas, as a result, sees Voigt switching over from the dark side, using his techno expertise for the powers of good to create some rather interesting drone-inspired ambient techno.

Zauberberg (German for "Magic Mountain") represents the cream of the crop of Voigt's Gas output. Although the analogy has been repeated ad nauseam, the music on Zauberberg can be best described as what it would sound like if you were lying on a field, strung out on some or other illicit narcotic, listening to a rave going on five kilometres down the road. It sounds like dance music filtered through various physical barriers and duly distorted such that it becomes a pale ghost of itself, hypnotic, immersive and alluring.

To call the tracks on Zauberberg "songs" would be misleading (indeed, the absence of track titles on the album tends to reinforce this notion); they have no logical beginning and end points, no melodic progression and no climactic build. In place of songs, you could say that Voigt provides the listener with sonic textures. Using overlapping looped vinyl samples – warped beyond recognition – over distant, muted, pulsing techno beats, Voigt produces unique mesmerising drones that last anywhere from five to fourteen minutes. The only tracks to stray from this formula are the first and last, which feature no beats – the album's only concession to structure and symmetry.

While this might all sound horribly monotonous (and, in the absolute sense, it is), Zauberberg manages to get away with it. This is due, in part, to the fact that, although there is no explicit melodic progression on any of the tracks, Voigt subtly manipulates the samples throughout every passage, stretching and compressing, layering and reversing, providing hints of melodic accents, ensuring that the album's monotony is at least punctuated by appropriate emotive swells and depressions. More significantly, the repetitive nature of Zauberberg manages not to be grating because the repetition itself is part of the music's essential charm. The most fundamental selling-point of the album is its hypnotic character. Such an altered-state inducing soundscape would not be possible without Gas' trademark seductive repetition.

Zauberberg is great because you don't need a forest or drugs for it to make you feel as if you're in a forest, on drugs. Even if, like myself, you have an innate distaste for dance music (and hippies and junkies), the album manages to draw you into its world and let you happily drift away. Equally at home in chill-out rooms and on iPods of virgin hipster teens, Zauberberg is highly recommended for fans of ambient music looking for something a little different.



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user ratings (29)
Chart.
4
excellent
related reviews

Pop

Comments:Add a Comment 
vanderb0b
May 15th 2010


3473 Comments


"Zauberberg is great because you don't need a forest or drugs for it to make you feel as if you're in a forest, on drugs."

This sentence convinced me to check Gas out. Great review.

joshuatree
Emeritus
May 15th 2010


3742 Comments


this is a seriously excellent review, good shit. album rules too

Roach
May 15th 2010


2148 Comments


gas is good

DBlitz
May 15th 2010


1690 Comments


i've only listened to Pop which is good

rogerdiscoversherpes
May 15th 2010


34 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks guys.

vanderb0b: Lol - I'm glad. That line pretty much sums up why it's awesome

DBlitz: This is better in my opinion, but there again his albums aren't markedly different from one another.

Meatplow
May 15th 2010


5524 Comments


I've been meaning to check more of this guy out, Pop is one of the most hypnotic ambient albums i've ever heard.

Good review.

Tits McGee
May 16th 2010


1876 Comments


great review

FistfulOfSteel
May 18th 2010


894 Comments


guy rules

Meatplow
July 15th 2010


5524 Comments


Yeah this is good

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 27th 2011


15042 Comments


worse than pop, which is pretty fuckin bad

Destructerator
September 23rd 2011


853 Comments


Listening to this is incredible for studying, drawing, thinking, pretty much doing anything else that requires concentration. What I like most about it is that it's not distracting at all.

731
May 30th 2012


662 Comments


uh huh

CaptainDooRight
February 26th 2014


29414 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

excuse me

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III ? Saturnian Poetry



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