Review Summary: Oh dear…
Wolfgang Voigt is an electronic producer that is all over the place in the music world. With many different aliases such as Gas, Mike Ink, X-Lvis, Dom etc. all spanning from genres of minimal techno and ambient. Arguably, his most famous alias is Gas. With such beautifully crafted minimal techno albums as Konigforst and Pop, skeptics might say how an artist of such high quality and many different side projects could possibly make a bad album. Well…. in this case, Wolfgang Voigt leaves more to be desired.
Wolfgang Voigt uses his own name on for this 2011 release Kafkatrax
. This album dives into the murky lake of minimal house, or microhouse, (maybe a bit of avant-garde?) and it is honestly one of the weakest house albums to come out of 2011. Most of us already know that Wolfgang Voigt is associated with some rather weird side projects, but none that really were all that bad. So what makes Kafkatrax
so bad compared to these albums? The one reason that is probably most noticeable about this album is that it is horrifically annoying.
The first song supports this claim exactly with a hypnotizing vocal sample being layered over and over again. It is the same monotonous tone throughout the whole song and it really doesn’t go anywhere at all. This song could have been a 30 second interlude perhaps, but 3 minutes is a rude jest at the listener’s expense. The second track, Kafkatrax 1.1, would have been pretty good track if the vocal samples hadn’t have been plastered all over it in a random order layering the nice beat and weird vocal sample with it. The song itself has a catchy 4/4 beat and is enjoyable when it wants to be, though. But a big problem with this album is that almost every single song is like this. Every song has these weird unfitting vocal samples that just completely water down the songs and ruin them. Even a few songs, where the vocals aren’t very prominent, are really not enjoyable to listen to and are weaker than the songs that have the vocal samples. A lot of these songs also repeat old fragments of the vocal samples from previous tracks and there is no reason
for this. In fact, every single song does this, and it just seems very uncreative. Another problem is that every song starts out strong, but then gets progressively more boring and grading as it stretches past it’s “longer than it should be” length. The album gets a bit better once the song titles get into the 3.0 range (the songs are titled from 1-3 with decimals), but they don’t really save this album from being a poor release. The one song that is probably the best on this album, or at least most memorable, is Kafkatrax 3.1. This song is the least annoying out of all of them and it’s a very danceable song with an interesting beat that is similar in sound to Matthew Dear’s earlier work.
Wolfgang Voigt’s attempt to go experimental on this album with these vocal samples simply falls flat. There could’ve been a lot to remember on this album if every song started out strong and ended strong as well. It is a very interesting album, but not in a good way. It is amazing how a man could be so consistent in his discography (side projects included) with such great albums and then make something so offputting here. His last album Freiland Klaviermusik
was a decent album that showed a more avant garde approach to the discography, but this just simply is too annoying and uninteresting to have the audacity to listen.