Review: Kompakt continues to reissue the early, in-demand works of hypnotic ambient techno pioneer Wolfgang Voigt AKA Gas. This time it's "Konigsforst", an album that has been unavailable on vinyl since its' initial pressing on Mille Plateaux in 1998. Built around locked-in, soft-focus techno rhythms, drowsy neo-classical movements, densely layered samples and hazy, hard-to-define melodic elements, the album's eight tracks remain as potent now as they did 21 years ago. Voigt has made a lot of inspired music in his thickset "sound soup" style, but there's something extra-special about this "Konigsforst", which we'd describe as the audio equivalent of a sunrise stumble through an ancient German forest.
Terrapin - "Cirrus Minor" (The Black Frame Extract) (3:18)
The Modernist - "Magic Lantern" (Velvet edit) (5:26)
Burger/Ink - "Memphisto" (5:11)
The Novotones - "The Gain Of Loss" (4:39)
Cologne Tape - "Welt 10" (Jorg Burger mix) (5:48)
Fantastic Twins - "Pilgrims" (6:30)
Rebolledo & The Novotones - "Mountain Eagle" (The Black Frame Desert mix) (6:27)
Paulor - "Arrival" (4:58)
XuXu Fang - "Noir State Beach" (The Modernist mix) (5:31)
Sascha Funke & Cosmo Vitelli - "Botzaris" (5:31)
Kenneth James Gibson - "Far From Home" (Superpitcher mix) (7:18)
Review: Designed as a kind of "anything-goes" alternative to Kompakt's "Ambient Pop" series, "Velvet Desert Music" was apparently inspired by the desire of its curator, Cologne stalwart Jorg Burger, to "create a distinct vibe and atmosphere". He certainly achieves that aim, offering up a mixture of previously unreleased tracks and mixes that evoke mental images of dusk-till-dawn road-trips across the American Midwest. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the lilting Americana of Terrapin's "Cirrus Minor (The Black Frame Extract)" and the trippy, delay-laden downtempo headiness of Burger/Ink's "Memphisto", to the menacing dark-pop of the Fantastic Twins, the country-tinged swamp funk of Rebolledo & The Novotones' "Mountain Eagle (The Black Frame Desert Mix)" and the exotic, faintly foreboding slo-mo electronica of Sascha Funke and Cosmo Vitelli's "Botzaris".