Review Summary: This kind of music not only paints an intricate and beautiful landscape: it is one, immersive, lively and livable.Pop
is both an ocean and a forest. The loops are waves, each submerging you deeper and deeper underwater where you drift away into unconsciousness. The textures are the forest; dense yet airy, claustrophobic yet expansive, always atmospheric. Observe the album cover (incidentally a forest): it's all one vibrant color, yet within it there are branches and leaves and little nuances.
Of Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project, Pop
has the freshest and liveliest production, rendering it quite different from Königsforst
's dark, muffled dream worlds. Voigt incorporates recordings of flowing rivers and swirlier, more blissful orchestra samples. It literally sounds like you're high in the forest Voigt wanted you to envision.
Is this techno? All tracks are beatless ambient soundscapes except for tracks 4 and 7, which utilize the trademark 4/4 kick drum found in previous Gas releases. These two, along with the symphonic opener, are the most enchanting tracks on Pop
. That's not to say the other tracks are useless: track 2, a slower, pitched-down version of the first track, only serves to push you closer to the looping melody. The deep atmospheric tracks 3 and 5 drone like ethereal vacuums, and the sweeping beatless loop in track 6 prepares you for the 14-minute techno barrage of the closer, which uses that same hypnotic loop.
carries the mystifying quality of sounding not like its loops took five minutes to make, but like the loops are breathing and moving and expanding, even though they are simply looping over and over. There are so many layers and so many different shades to the sounds that it's hard to pinpoint when exactly the melody loops over again, even though you know it does. Each loop seems to express itself more exuberantly and hypnotize you more and more as the music unfolds. It's not easy to create repetition this straightforward in music without tiring the listener, but Voigt achieves that sort of repetition.
is both an impenetrable wall of sound and a single cloud carrying you through a clear blue sky. For some it may present itself as the former: an overwhelming, neverending nightmare of field recordings piled layer upon layer. For others it can do the opposite: smoothly take you into a daydream in which you barely notice its minimal message. Yet it's these contrasting qualities that create the adventurously lush yet tranquilly repeating mass of sounds we aim to hear. Will the listener work hard at making sense of all the layered hiss, or will the music work hard at enveloping the listener in paradise? There are these two types of people in this forest.