- 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. It was meant to show, perhaps, man beginning to impose on the sanctity of the forest. The album reflected a kind of lost innocence. Though Rausch's cover features no such intrusions, the music has a new, rumbling sort of dread to it. Across the hour-long LP, split into seven seamless movements, Voigt introduces dissonance and anxiety into a world that once seemed welcoming.
The LP's title translates to something like intoxication—not just drunkenness, but an ecstatic state or fever dream. In turn, the music often has a hazy, aimless drift, but when the drums emerge the feeling is of a tireless march. There are few clues as to what inspired the album other than a cryptic poem from Voigt. It namechecks a past Gas release (Oktember), and older tracks from Pink Floyd ("Careful With That Axe, Eugene") and Depeche Mode ("Personal Jesus"), which hint again at Gas's nostalgic themes. But nostalgia doesn't always mean comfort, and there's a haunted tone in both the music and the poem, which has lines like, "Rausch with no name, my beautiful shine, you are my sun / Rausch with no morning, this is where we burn."
There's another juxtaposition at play in the music, where beautiful passages are interrupted by dissonant sounds. Long, sustained chords on "Rausch 2" pile up discordantly. The anxious atmosphere carries into the third part, where the trudging kick drum makes even the warmer horn melodies feel foreboding. (The high-pitched beeps add another uncomfortable dimension to the music.) The fourth passage features creaky low notes and heavy, rumbling drone, before the fifth passage comes in with lovely plucked strings, forming sharp, clean lines amid the album's blurrier textures. The whole album plays out like this, with bright and beautiful moments emerging from the dark cover of gloom.
Like last year's Narkopop, Rausch is a different kind of Gas record from the classic albums, and one that seeks out a different relationship with the listener. It's imposing and dense, and even its prettiest moments have a sinister tint. And yet it has the eerie, enveloping stillness of Gas's best music. As Rausch shows, Voigt is still finding inspiration in his childhood memories and those old forests, subtly changing the way we see and hear them each time.
01. Rausch 1
02. Rausch 2
03. Rausch 3
04. Rausch 4
05. Rausch 5
06. Rausch 6
07. Rausch 7