‘Deutscher Wald’: welcome to the misty forest
Digital Arts Festival MIRA 2017 solemn its Barcelona Edition inviting GAS (a.k.a. Wolfgang Voigt) to perform “Narkopop” for the inaugural concert. The audio-visual show will take place on Tuesday, November 7th, at Sala 2 – Oriol Martorell, L’Auditori, Barcelona.
GAS is a driving force in ’90s German Ambient; the Techno Ambient to be precise. A musical impersonation of Wolfgang Voigt, the main spearhead of Cologne Minimal Techno and co-founder (alongside Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape) of legendary imprint Kompakt Records. Considered as the influential producer who tempered the punishing 4/4 Techno (the early ’90s Berlin-Detroit alliance with E-Werk and Tresor as headquarters) into a more finessed and not-to-be-roughly-explicit version of the beat. He helped (with his brother Reinhardt and through multiple projects and aliases) to spread an indulgence wave over it, recalling for hedonism and taste, giving Micro and Minimal extensions a chance to grow on the roots of Techno and House.
Wolfgang Voigt will perform “Narkopop,” the fifth installment of his opus as GAS. It is a set of eleven tracks in due form untitled but with the numbered generic one. Envolving musical journey in a symphonic and stately manner. Forget to expect any relaxation because eerie passages are on the way, even menacing ones. A set of visuals will complete the musical performance recorded at Köningsforst, a forest near Cologne where Voigt used to go as a kid, a place to meditate and experience, a matter of formation landscape. A set of stimulus music that will help to create your cinematic train of thoughts, scripted by knowledge and suggesting the imprecise.
The GAS project has always been in that abstract forest from the beginning, a cultural frame where germanic marching drummed was echoing in the mist through recreational descriptive historical pages with the same severity Kraftwerk attacked the musical cannon on the American airwaves. He has been there even when Wolfgang Voigt was unnoticed to grow artistically in this earthy and mythic environment, where to bridge a listening; Klaus Schulze connected to Wagner through psychedelic experience. A sampling pop citations state of mind that made him go from traditional sources of classical music to Schläger, in a mishmash of jazz glam-rock and new wave references that he poured in the acid house trend first to recreate Techno and give a hallmark for the run imprint afterward.
“Narkopop” is the re-encounter with an artistic move Voigt left behind seventeen years ago. He introduced it with “GAS” (1996), placing dance floor-ready Techno in standby for challenging himself to explore through long pieces into a suggestive soundscape of a purpose. It was a very European move, offering an alternative variation to Techno and House, generally defined by the American characteristics of being respectively “banging” electronic dance music and soulful “deep” dance music. In fact, the wordless contemporary universal language of music had a new context where the inclement pounding drums redefined in a tasteful turn, a signing sound for his releases and appreciate personality for the imprint, definitely stamped as German sound. He apparently completed GAS project with “Pop” (2000), with “Zauberberg” (1997) and “Königsforst” (1999) in between, all through Frankfurt record label Mille Plateaux. Except for the first, the rest of titles featured forest images on basic colors in its artwork. It is an aesthetic decision but also a framework charged with symbolism: “Deutscher Wald” (German Forest). The stylized German myth, the Romantic metaphor that defined Germanic-German arts and culture. From defeated Roman legions in Battle of Teutoburg Forest to ‘Nibelungenlied’ (The Song of Nibelungs), the myth runs over epic poems, fairy tales, legends, and music. From Schiller and Goethe to Rilke, Grimm Brothers and Mann, perverted in infamous chapters of the history as the ever-present ground force dismissed by the fog, from Wagner and Mahler to Schönberg.
Attendants will sit comfortably on the main floor of one of the four complimentary halls of the public building design by architect Rafael Moneo, home of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and The National Orchestra of Catalonia (OBC), providing the high-quality standard in acoustics. It makes sense because what we are going to listen to is an electronic music development categorized as Ambient. It is about tone and atmosphere as the most relevant beyond musical structure that can change in layered and diverse musical stimulus and travels through time and rhythms to evoke not to precise, “as ignorable (in parts) as it is interesting (for the whole)” as pioneer Brian Eno Dixit.