Although Wolfgang Voigt has put out countless albums under countless monikers over the last three decades, it’s safe to say that his work as Gas has gained him the most attention (and possibly more attention than anything on his eminent record label, Kompakt). Blending sometimes-spacious, sometimes-dense minimal techno that helped define the microhouse genre, Voigt (as Gas) put out four game-changing albums in five years, the last being the undisputed masterwork Pop in 2000.
Seventeen years later, Voigt has resurrected his beloved nom de plume for his latest, the fittingly titled Narkopop. Collecting ten dawdling and druggy tracks across over 75 minutes, album number five from the Cologne artist is nothing short of extraordinary in its ability to sound both exploratory and focused, a true rarity for minimal electronic music. Although many of the album’s tracks still feature building and cascading drone movements, Voigt focuses more heavily on texture, reverberation and layers, allowing tracks to flow together brilliantly, even when he fluctuates pace and space from moment to moment. At one point, Voigt is riding upon feathery looping electronic blips; the next sequence, he’s pushing through throbbing, claustrophobic mood movements, right before injecting the a stunning chamber suite, only to disappear then reappear in a slightly different form.
Not only is Gas’ Narkopop a top candidate for best microhouse album of 2017, it may also be the best drone album and the best classical album — and possibly just the best album you’ll hear this year, period. (Kompakt)