Release Date: May 18, 2018
Record label: Kompakt
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
In a lot of ways, Rausch can be seen as a semi-continuation of Narkopop. Its sounds and textures are clearer, more defined, and more polished. With that clarity, it becomes easier to associate and appreciate the nuances Voigt has slipped in. In a larger sense, Rausch is nothing too new, but even with that stamp of predictability, Voigt is able to maneuver the tracks on Rausch in a compelling way.
A year after Wolfgang Voigt's revered ambient techno project Gas made its triumphant return with the excellent 2017 full-length Narkopop, he released the next installment, Rausch. This album is a single hourlong composition meant to be listened to in one sitting, and is only broken up into seven CD tracks for convenience, or four LP sides out of necessity. The album majestically unfolds, but is never in a hurry to go anywhere, and inhabits the familiar type of forest-like dream world listeners have come to expect.
"They dreamed of a fusion of worlds," wrote the historian Modris Eksteins in his landmark Rites of Spring, describing Germany on the eve of the first World War: "The technical became spiritual." Following a rapid economic expansion from a loose network of rustic provinces to a united industrial superpower, the nation embraced a fresh mythology. "Efficiency became an end, not a means. And Germany herself became the expression of an elemental 'life force.'" In many ways, this description applies just as readily to the music of Kompakt co-founder Wolfgang Voigt's GAS alias.
Wolfgang Voigt's music as Gas is about nostalgia and childhood, based on his memories of wandering the forests around Cologne. Built around a deep, steady thrum and orchestral samples, the music has a soft, cocooned feel to it, as if enclosed by coniferous trees and mossy ground. When Voigt revived the project with last year's Narkopop, the idea was the same, but the delivery was different: the music felt darker, and some fencing could be seen on the cover's otherwise natural landscape.
Rausch is the smallest and fleetest of Wolfgang Voigt’s six albums as Gas, suggesting a quick walk through familiar terrain rather than the frightening possibilities of an infinite universe. It’s his most discordant work since 1997’s Zauberberg, but it feels reassuring rather than terrifying. This owes in part to its length. Running an hour, six minutes shorter than the next-shortest Gas album (2000’s warm, benevolent Pop) and 20 minutes shorter than average, we know we’re never too far from a clearing and can get out of the woods as easily as we stumbled into them.