Gas Nah Und Fern

It would be difficult to underestimate the influence and sheer greatness of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas output throughout the ’90s, a span of four haunting masterwork albums (plus a few EPs and compilation appearances) from 1996 to 2000 that have since become the standard-bearers of quality in ambient music. This four-disc box set collects the major Gas recordings: the self-titled 1996 album, 1997’s Zauberberg, 1998’s Königsforst and 2000’s Pop. These records all originally appeared on the now-defunct Mille Plateaux label at the height of its creative output, only to fall out of print with the label’s demise a few years later. Since then, the dark and sublimely hypnotic processes of churning string orchestrations, sub-aquatic pulses and drones into hazy, dreamlike dirges have been emulated countless times into their own sub-genre, one often propelled by the ambient side of Cologne’s Kompakt label, which Voigt owns and operates, but also by a wide number of electronic, classical and even pop artists interested in emulating Voigt’s distinct production techniques. This is a catalogue that every serious fan of modern music should own, one destined in years to come to be a ’90s benchmark of excellence bridging Brian Eno’s Ambient series of the ’70s and William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops series of this decade. (Kompakt)