GAS - Narkopop


It took 17 years for Wolfgang Voigt to retrn with a new album of ambient electronic music under his moniker GAS. This new album, Narkopop, is filled with space consuming sounds stretching to every inch of your brain. There are no track names, just "Narkopop 1", "Narkopop 2" ect. and little to delineate when one track stops and the other begins. This lack of spacial awareness really makes it sail by, barely able to get a hold of much before the whole album slips right by. On "Narkopop 2" the only grounding force is this constant downbeat distant but ever present as strings build and fall setting a scene but for a play you can't quite grasp. It's a unique experience because i never reaching a point it makes more of an impact that if suddenly we hit a drop and it became a dance fest. This sort of ambient electronic music is built to convey a message different from the dance floors that the genre originally serviced. These tracks feel more like movements in a symphony than they do anything else in pop music. The really interesting piece is that nature seems to be the only focus here, the downbeat, the bird songs the mock streams all feel crafted to portray a world that even though it's in front of your face it's not actually there. The universe GAS creates is not tangible, it's an illusion which makes it all the more interesting of an experience. This world has size and heft but not necessarily weight. Even in the more ominous parts of the record, Narkopop never feels sinister; more of a vision of a disappointing future rather than a destructive one.

On "Narkopop 5" much of the natural textures are stripped away and we are left with pretty minimal techno. The song's beat is this barrage of bass which sounds like it's coming from a distant techno club just letting you listen to enough to understand the vibe. One of the major issues with the record is because it's so intensely meditative you can hardly describe the experience. You are just floating along disassociating from the world around you and being fully encapsulated within Narkopop. That's a really interesting place to be but not an all together pleasant one. But the end you are desperate for some kind of punctuation, a point to all this meandering but it never comes. Narkopop and GAS isn't showing you the highlights of this world, it's showing you it's reality. The purpose of Narkopop is just as shrouded in mystery as our own, leaving you with far more questions than answers at it's conclusions. Maybe Narkopop gives you that space to look inward and that time to really examine what the whole purpose is; either that or it's a pretty damn good ambient record. You'll just have to listen to figure it out.

8.0 out of 10 


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