GAS: Rausch

Music Reviews GAS
GAS: Rausch

The option is there for you to own Rausch, Wolfgang Voigt’s sixth full-length recorded under the name GAS, on vinyl. The hour-long suite of ambient and experimental electronic music is spread out over two LPs on the recent release from his long-time label Kompakt. Great as it may sound, breaking this music up in any way will only diminish its overall impact, breaking its spell for short stretches, just as you’re about to reach nirvana.

Heard as one unedited gush, Rausch is a thing of wonder. The experience, especially played through headphones or a great pair of speakers, is overpowering to the point of overload. Voigt starts off slow, with string and horn drones swarming together in a Ligeti-like sunrise. As it moves forward, more sounds and the 4/4 pulse of a kick drum come into view. They don’t necessarily complement what Voigt has set up. They instead move around the edges like counter-rhythms or little intrusions that refuse to let up.

It would risk becoming exhausting if the next third of the album didn’t find Voigt stripping elements away—some slowly, some with a quick zip—only to build it back up again. The beat stays consistent, a reminder of his continued work as a techno artist, but with a mind towards lulling you rather than engaging your limbs in movement. Things take an even more dramatic turn at the half-hour mark, when the beat vanishes and more intertwining melody lines are left alone to intoxicate and derange.

The rest of the piece works in similar fashion, pulling and pushing sound elements in and out as if some supreme being was working a mixing board on the harmony of the spheres and the collective heartbeats of the human race. And, like much of the current school of ambient, it’s almost the complete antithesis of the modern album release where an instant hook and quick attention grabbing moments are key to success. Slicing this into four distinct segments makes fiscal sense to attract the vinyl lovers and DJs of the world, but it doesn’t jibe with what Voigt accomplishes here. Like the forest depicted on the cover, Rausch is something to get lost in, a long stroll free of the noise of modernity where the little details can draw near and take your breath away with their simple beauty.

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