Release Date: Sep 2, 2013
Record label: Profan
As part of the celebrations surrounding the Kompakt label's 20th anniversary, Wolfgang Voigt (aka Gas) created a science fiction-themed music and art installation at the entrance to this year's Art Cologne fair. The installation was named "Zukunft Ohne Menschen" ("Life Without People") and included photos of urban environments with the humans digitally removed, as well as a manually triggered arpeggiator. This collection of minimal machine music seeks to document the installation; its ten tracks are accompanied by ten digitally altered images seemingly smeared by a human-annihilating cursor.
Zukunft Ohne Menschen is best appreciated in context. Electronic musician Wolfgang Voigt was invited to contribute something to the infamous Art Cologne, one of the oldest and most high-profile annual art festivals in the world. Already wrapped up in the festivities of the Kompakt label celebrating its 20th anniversary, Voigt nabbed the opportunity to take his art “to the streets”, so to speak.
Automation is the future. Already robotics are ripping apart manufacturing, generating mass unemployment. Meanwhile, 3D printers can assemble objects en masse with minimal inputs and minimal cost. Slowly, the human soldier is receding from the battlefield, operating weapons from behind a computer screen, not improvised cover.
Art gallery primness has always gnawed at the edge of Wolfgang Voigt's considerable output. He's mostly avoided it, adopting new monikers and collaborators at the pace of a much younger artist. The rot has crept in lately, as works under his given name, like 2010's Freiland Klaviermusik, have been turgid, stuffy affairs. Zukunft Ohne Menschen-- created as part of an installation that will greet visitors to Cologne's art fair, Art Cologne-- returns to more pliable textures laid out in familiar, rhythmic sequences that could reasonably be described as riffs.