"I had a lot of fun traveling back and forth through my personal musical history"
Gas is Wolfgang Voigt, co-founder of the legendary electronic music label Kompakt in Cologne. His GAS project, an intoxicatingly sinister work of art based on highly condensed classical sound sources, has thrilled a global audience far beyond traditional electronic and techno music scenes for over 20 years. In autumn 2019 he gathered 303 pieces with EARQUAkE (Profan Records), alluding to Roland and summarizing his 20-year career. Read our interview below to learn more about Voigt's broad influences, creative environment, and study methods.
Hey! Where can we find you right now? How did you start off your day?
In the forest on the rooftop of my house, watering the plants.
What can you tell us about your EARQUAKE project?
It’s the first and last reissue of nearly all of my music (apart from GAS) that I made in the 1990ies. Around 2 years ago I felt like listening to all this stuff again. With a distance of 2 decades I found a new personal view on my early period of productions. This huge amount of very different, contradictive, wild and chaotic music has become historical meanwhile. I had the strong feeling that the time had come to make it available, especially digitally.
Why did you decide to collect much of your work in this volume?
The whole stuff has been created in quite chaotic and unorganised times. A lot of the stuff had been lost somewhere or been sold out for ages, others were uncompleted or just unreleased. I wanted to make it available in a new way, structured, in a chronological order and released on my own label Profan under one conceptual name: Earquake. Considering how times have changed and how music is "consumed“ today, I wanted to have the biggest release I ever made on the smallest medium I ever used: A USB stick.
How much has your sound changed from 1991 to the present?
One one side... One one side things and sounds have changed a lot since back then, and many new styles, aspects, projects, sound experiments have been added in the meantime. On the other side some things and sounds remain more or less the same. They have stand the test of times and have become timeless in the very best way. The ideal example is my project GAS, or the Pop Ambient compilation series, which I curate and release on Kompakt for 20 years now.
What was your criteria for musical selection of the 303 pieces?
Subjective perception. I had a lot of fun traveling back and forth through my personal musical history. And the magic number is 303 - referring to the legendary Roland TB 303 bass sequencer. The so called “acid machine”.
Have many pieces been left out of this choice?
Yes, tracks that I didn’t feel were relevant. Pieces that sounded incredible atrociously. And because I decided to stop at number 303. That’s why the 33 unreleased tracks "Mit Maschinen Sprechen“ are listed as additional bonus material.
What can you tell us about the album, "Wolfgang Voigt – Mit Maschine Sprechen“?
It’s an experimental piece of electronic music which considers itself as some kind of „unfinished sketch“ music. It’s created with a hardware arpeggiator programm from the nineties. I’m playing free improvised „piano“ on the manual, which influences the preset sequencer structures of the machine and inverse. A kind of interactive communication between man and machine arises. It’s an early forerunner project of my release "Zukunft ohne Menschen“ on Profan from 2013.
What are you most looking forward to doing when the corona pandemic is over?
The same what I do all along the way. Creating art and music.
What makes you happy?
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Bringing my music and my visual art together more and more and eliminate all borders between them. Furthermore I am working on concentrating all my artistic work in one main archive, digitally available for everybody but independent from the so called music market.
A new GAS track called “Zeit” has been released on 17 June, other recent releases by Wolfgang Voigt include works as Freiland Klaviermusik, Voigt & Voigt, Protest and Wassermann. Go to https://kompakt.fm/downloads to check them out.
Gas (Wolfgang Voigt)