Wolfgang Voigt (born 1961), best known as Gas, but also by many other names (see below) is a Cologne, Germany-based electronic musician. Voigt cites his youthful LSD experiences in the Königsforst, a German forest situated near his hometown of Köln, as the inspiration behind his work under the name Gas. He has claimed that the intention of the project is to "bring the forest to the disco, or vice-versa".
1 Aliases and projects,
Aliases and projects:
Voigt is known for his numerous, nearly inexhaustible list of one-off projects and aliases. Of these, his best known is arguably Gas, a project that saw the marriage of ambient music and 4/4 techno.
Other names under which Voigt has released music include, but are not limited to, All, Auftrieb, Brom, C.K. Decker, Centrifugal Force, Crocker, Dextro NRG, Dieter Gorny, Digital, Dom, Doppel, Filter, Freiland, Fuchsbau, Gelb, Grungerman, Kafkatrax, Love Inc., M:I:5, Mike Ink, Mint, Panthel, Popacid, Riss, RX7, Split Inc., Strass, Studio 1, Tal, Vinyl Countdown, W.V., Wassermann, and X-Lvis.
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Excerpt from the untitled third track from Zauberberg, demonstrating the characteristic Gas sound.
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Gas is the most abstract of Voigt's many projects, with each album consisting of several long tracks of dense, hypnotic, atmospheric sound. All Gas material shares a characteristic sound, consisting of an ambient wash of drones and loops, usually accompanied by a repetitive four to the floor kickdrum underneath the multiple layers of music. Occasionally a song will just drift on its own ambience. Voigt has commented that he builds his tracks using samples, which are manipulated beyond recognition to create what can better be described as textural environments than songs; Voigt described the technique to Rob Young of The Wire as "a certain kind of loops sic and reverse, and alternated reverses, which has no ending and no start, and it's just totally confusing", as well as describing the sound as "moving around in constantly overlapping loop structures, there is no definite start nor end" in an interview with the online music journal Globecat.
Indeed, most of the time there is no clear musical progression in a Gas track, as Voigt seems to be more interested in exploring depth of the stereo field, utilizing subtle shifts in sound. Because music under the Gas alias lacks any trace of orthodox melody or chord change many would not describe it as musical. However, the sources of Voigt's samples are often of musical origin, encapsulating "old pop record stuff" as well as classical music such as Richard Wagner and Arnold Schoenberg
Critics have described Gas music as similar to hearing a band playing very far away, under water, or from behind walls. The Wire magazine described it as 'an outdoor rave, heard floating through the air from a a neighbouring village', whilst Voigt himself describes it as "GASeous music, caught by a bass drum just marching by, that streams, streams out through the underwood across the forest soil". His live performances, which he performs using MIDI controls and Ableton Live, possesses this same organic quality.
In 2008, Voigt's own label Kompakt re-released all four of his Gas albums, albeit with subtle changes made to the tracks, as a four-CD box set entitled Nah und Fern. A limited double vinyl version of the set was also released, with one track from each album per side.