Review Summary: One of minimal techno/ambient’s biggest stars returns with some very effective forest exploration.
Wolfgang Voigt, mastermind behind minimal techno/ambient project GAS
and one of the founders of influential minimal techno label KOMPAKT, said that his newest effort Rausch
– meaning something along the lines of intoxication, but also resembling the word rauschen, rustling – should be listened to from back to back. Although he never names individual tracks on any of his releases, this statement might be very true, since the record’s seven tracks build on each other and create a state of daze.
It all starts with a sound akin to rain and wind, before giving way to an ominous drone. New to the GAS
sound are scattered high hat notes, which create a loose and light atmosphere, contrasting starkly with the drone, which swells to one final blast, flowing seamlessly into Rausch 2
. The well-known GAS
sound is back on this track, with a thumping, muffled techno beat somewhere far away in the mix, dripping through layers of orchestra samples and synth drones. The soundscape reminds the listener of being on the campsite of a hip festival in a forest, listening to the main act’s beat reaching you from the festival terrain far away, the sound filtering through a desolate and apocalyptic haze. This same effect is reached on Rausch 5
Voigt himself stated that with all GAS
releases he wants to recreate this feeling, inspired by LSD trips he experienced in the forest near Cologne where he grew up. The steady techno beat drips up from the forest floor, filtered through layers of decaying leaves and soil. Stretches of manipulated classical music engulf the listener, creating an ominous and unsettling, even claustrophobic, atmosphere.
incorporates the horn-like samples Voigt used on 1999’s Köningsforst
, and flows along with the beat plodding on relentlessly, at a slow pace, and almost Bladerunner-era Vangelis synth lines stretching out to infinity, creating a deep and layered sound. The beat collapses during Rausch 4
, before being reintroduced in a slightly funkier fashion in Rausch 5
When Rausch 6
comes along, we are left with machine-like drone and some mournful trumpet sounds. The setting is very sad, in a way recreating the same feeling as Pop
’s career defining last two tracks. This is GAS
at his best. And when during Rausch 7
the beat comes in more clearly pronounced than all tracks before, the record reaches its climax. The beat thumps over dissonant string and horn samples, the high hats return. A dissonant note starts swelling until it becomes unbearable, and suddenly the beat falls away underneath you. The rustle dissipates into stillness. You’re left breathless, dazed, intoxicated.