Gas: Nah Und Fern

If the notion of a German enterprise tasked with alchemizing sound into something like vapor doesn't excite you, it should. That was effectively the premise behind Gas, one of many projects marshaled by Wolfgang Voigt before he started the epochal electronic label Kompakt. From its inception in the mid-'90s, Gas music has tried to conjure the mysterious depths of the German forest—the streaks of light and pockets of darkness that fizz between trees that breathe. On the four albums bundled into the reissue box set Nah Und Fern, the results have been beautiful and unnerving. The Gas sound is all about the changing same, with long washes of ambient textures and a sublimated pulse that evokes techno without sounding the least bit literally danceable. Glimmers of brass and strings wander in from old traditional German songs, but mostly, it's a magisterial sound that begs listeners to get lost inside it.

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