BBH: All, Alltag 1-4

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[Kompakt]


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Wolfgang Voigt has rushed back in the spotlight recently, in part thanks to the release of the beautiful Nah Und Fern box set collecting his four ambient/classical Gas albums, as well as a reissue of the minimal techno inventing/perfecting Studio 1 CD on Profan. Gas and Studio 1 have always been, with Mike Ink, Voigt’s most well known pseudonyms, but one must remember this is a man with 33 monikers other than his own listed on Discogs (counting only his solo projects). It’s with that in mind that I delve in the past to unearth one of Wolfgang’s hidden gems, All’s “Alltag 1-4” on his own Kompakt.

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“Alltag 1-4” was released a year after the Gas project came to a close with Pop and represents a continuation of that approach. Right off the bat, “Alltag 1” lulls you in with wistful, detuned strings and orchestral samples played in reverse to create a shimmering, saturated forest of sound. After the dense ambiance fades away, “Alltag 2” strikes with a schaffel (now there’s a word you haven’t heard in awhile) beat that would come to define Kompakt’s sound. It’s the perfect Kompakt track: a combination of early Cologne dance floor mechanics and the traditional ambient sounds that have defined some of the label’s most endearing long-players. “Alltag 3” sustains one note for four and a half minutes with metallic bells clanging in their own space, without regard to any concrete notions of rhythm. “Alltag 4” closes the EP with slow-motion plucked bass tones and vaporous, hazy strung samples rising from the ground.

Where Pop found Gas building on and experimenting with his ambient side, “Alltag 1-4” toned down the density of each track and focused on more textured individual sounds. Regardless of the label’s current output, it’s hard to speak of Kompakt in its earlier days with anything less than unadulterated praise; and “Alltag 1-4” represents everything I loved about the label. An insistence on expanding the boundaries of ambient music and a desire to move the dance floor with swung hi-hats created a special atmosphere and put Cologne on the map as the first techno-capital of the 2000s. There’s no need for me to prove that Wolfgang Voigt has done more for techno than practically anyone else out there, but with his myriad projects, certain mythical records can get lost in his labyrinthine Discogs annals. “Alltag 1-4” is one such piece of buried treasure.

chrisdisco  on November 11, 2009 at 1:43 PM

on herr voigt, there is an interesting stream over at RBMA radio where he plays some of his old records and talks about them:

http://redbullmusicacademyradio.com/shows/1180/

worth a listen.

Chris Burkhalter  on November 11, 2009 at 5:38 PM

A treasure, for sure! It was sort of an unlikely source that first turned me on to this one – an interview with Neil Campbell of the Vibracathedral Orchestra. A few years later, it’s impact on Campbell’s music could be more clearly heard on his Astral Social Club records, and I think it figures in Panda Bear’s palette a bit too. But, shoving all that aside, Alltag’s droning loops are, as the review says, “vaporous” and magical. One of my favorite records from one of my favorite artists!

Chris Miller  on November 11, 2009 at 10:40 PM

this is a very “Chris” friendly release, i suppose

Jon Dale  on November 12, 2009 at 1:40 AM

Should I change my name to Chris? That would mean I would be one of my brothers.

Chris Burkhalter  on November 12, 2009 at 9:48 AM

All the more reason, Jon.

harpomarx42  on November 12, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Why am I reminded of 80’s British new wave, for some reason?
Also, I’m not a Chris. Just putting that out there.

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