The Best Albums of 2018, #13


13. GAS, Rausch (Kompakt)

There’s a silly reason why the latest album by Kompakt Records co-founder Wolfgang Voigt is my most-played album of 2018. Or maybe it’s not-so-silly because some of you can relate. You see, I hate hearing chatter on the morning commute. Hate it, hate it, hate it. If I was in a large metropolitan area where I’d be taking subways and trains, the odds would be much better that I wouldn’t hear much chatter because I am plenty familiar with the dead, silent stare of the big city commuter. That doesn’t happen in Saskatchewan, oh heck, no. People are warm and friendly on morning buses, with their Tim’s coffee and chainsmoking stench. Meanwhile I’m still trying to wake up, to warm up, and do not want to be bothered in any way. Don’t talk to me, don’t touch me, don’t sit beside me. In the words of Frank Booth, don’t you look at me. As a result, for the last year or so I have been listening to a lot of ambient music, some comfortable drones that could drown people out and allow me to relax and enjoy whatever book I’m reading. I had a few go-to’s for a while – Earth, Sunn O))), Lustmord – but then I started hearing good word of mouth about the new record by Voigt’s GAS project, and not only was it a perfect fit for my mornings, but it turns out to be a remarkable piece of ambient art. Essentially a continuous, hour-long piece comprised of seven movements, it’s a surreal little train ride of its own. Often accentuated by a thrumming, motorik-style electronic beat, you encounter a constant push-and pull between foreboding tones and uplifting chords. It moves like a nightmare, one imposing movement giving way to relief, only to be overtaken by more impending doom. The whole thing is so hypnotic, though, that it’s far from unsettling. I listen to it and float like I’m in a sensory deprivation tank. I love starting my day with it.