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Zauberberg
Gas
Zauberberg
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, New Age, Pop
 

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Gas
Title: Zauberberg
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Efa Imports
Original Release Date: 3/3/1998
Release Date: 3/3/1998
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, New Age, Pop
Styles: Ambient, Electronica, IDM, Techno, Experimental Music, Dance Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 718750069528, 718750069511
 

CD Reviews

Zauberberg
Mike Newmark | Tarzana, CA United States | 06/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Frightening. Disturbing. Haunting. Foreboding. Eerie. Shimmering. Dazzling. This music can only be written about in terms of adjectives, and each one of them speaks to the music's ability to stun, entrance, and emotionally move. I don't know how Gas (aka Wolfgang Voigt) creates his magic, and, frankly, I don't want to. All I know is that Zauberberg sounds unlike anything that came before it; certainly nothing that Brian Eno, the father of ambient music, could have ever predicted.

Zauberberg is brilliantly conceived and masterfully executed. These seven tracks are comprised of half-there strings, a warm bed of electronic tones, and just a hint of crackling textures as if emanating from a cobweb-covered record player. Some of the songs feature an incessant 50 Hz bass thump--nothing overbearing, just a mild "thump, thump, thump" more dreamy than clubby. Melodies subtly shift, moving to the foreground and then to the background like apparitions. And as all the elements come together, it's flawless, creating (as anyone who has heard this will tell you) something altogether grander and more spiritual than music itself.

Part of what makes Zauberberg so potent is its consistency. Unlike Gas's first self-titled CD, which was quite beautiful but all over the place, Zauberberg chooses a theme and sticks to it, fleshing it out until it can go no further. Over the course of seven tracks Gas painstakingly constructs a world of ominousness, mystery and darkness, equal parts menacing and magical. Track number 2 (all are untitled) shows Gas at his paranoid best: cellos, violins and horns creep quietly from the speakers, as if portending some great, awful climax. Of course, there is no climax to speak of (we are talking about ambient music, after all), yet it sustains our interest and suspense for all of its ambitious, 15-minute running length.

Zauberberg is not completely shrouded in darkness, however. The first and the last tracks bookend the venture with long waves of liquefied strings that could almost be described as sunny. Track 1's radiant brightness calms us before the second track slips us into a darkened forest not unlike the blood-red one pictured on the cover. At the end of our spellbinding journey, the last track brings us back into the sun for 9 minutes (which, surprisingly, isn't nearly enough time) of pure, angelic comfort.

I've heard this album referred to as "Wagnerian" more than once. That's seems like a moot point, since Zauberberg uses Wagner's actual material, but it doesn't retain Wagner's spirit, which is key. The harmonies may be similar, but the universe Gas presents us is too understated, too subtly powerful to be likened to anything by the famous German composer. Zauberberg is, more than anything else, an experience. We begin in one place, are thrown into the unfamiliar, explore all the facets of the frightening unknown, and end comfortably where we began, though always with a keener sense of the world around us."
As heavy as Eichenholz... or Spätzle :)
hardware@mediaport.org | 12/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While the first two GAS releases "modern" (Profan 008, 1995) and "Gas" (Mille Plateaux 32) are more abstract and turn into mind-alteringly static physical entities when concentrated on, what with the non-harmonic tuning scales and absolutely synthetic sound (albeit rooted in samples of strings/guitars et al), the later works, now more perceptably just and looping slowing down short string samples on end, at times tend to sound like German Volksmusik/ Schlager (which is intended - hence some of WV's other projects). All have in common that there may be melodies, but no tunes; bass and rhythm, yet not in common pop terms but static and droning."Zauberberg", named after Thomas Mann's novel, was released 14 months (since, the established period of GAS releases) after the first album. Highly surprising due to WV's infamous habit/concept of making up new aliases for every new idea, was its sound, totally different from the first one; yet the concept was recognizable. ... Other reviewers have described it well; the samples are supposedly from Richard Wagner and Arnold Schoenberg pieces' recordings.The pathos and density here are at the border to kitsch. The atmosphere is "moody" and capricious; you can get bored to death, or, if fascinated, seriously depressed; but also very cheerful and tender if you are in an open state of mind.. Hard to digest, but the more worth being listened to with attention. STOLID beauty, shining with darkness :) More than an inevitable clicheé it certainly is very Teutonic music.- - - - - - Marking the new "era" described above was also the cover (has been accompanying the concept up to "Pop") - although the music is rather abstract, I must admit no picture could have suited better than the dark red forest.*CAUTION: the vinyl version misses one track*"
Zauberg is excellent, eerie and hypnotic.
hardware@mediaport.org | The Netherlands | 06/02/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Zauberberg's (magic mountain) mysterious, hypnotic music invites you to listen to it over and over again. It is a trip into a obscure realm of twilight, creating images of menacing skies just before a summer rain."