Gas’s Pop (2000)

Gas Pop

Album: Pop
Artist: Gas
Year: 2000
Reason Featured: #12 Album for Pitchfork’s Top Twenty Albums of 2000
My Favorite Songs: Untitled #4
Their Grades: Pitchfork (9.0/10)
My Grade: 66%

Brief confession: as Gas’s Pop came to an end, “Turn It On Again” by Genesis was next on my iTunes tracklist and I enjoyed it more than anything on the record. All to say, if you’re sold out for ambient music, you can now consider me an unworthy opponent in the field of musical debate. I am, after all, a fan of some post-Peter-Gabriel Genesis songs so how could I be expected to understand the sonic swim sessions of Wolfgang Voigt (recorded here under the name Gas).

The album title is, of course, ironic. There’s not a pop element in sight here. Take “Treefingers” off Kid A, extend it out to 65 minutes and you have Pop. To say it isn’t soothing would be a lie but to say I’ll listen to this again would be too. All the tracks here are untitled and nondescript in their sound. It’s over an hour of synth pads which’ll give you the same ethereal buzz as hearing rain fall or waves crash. But, if that’s what you’re looking for, why not just listen to the many, many recordings of rain falling and waves crashing?

I don’t want to write this off too harshly. Far be it from me to suggest Voigt is devoid of talent or ingenuity. Music doesn’t have to go anywhere so my rating of this has less to do with objective criticism as it does with personal preference. I like music which allows me to wander and wonder but this just isn’t where I’d go for it. Some of my friends refer to me as “the shoegaze guy” so it’s not that I have a problem with music which emphasizes soundscaping over singalongability. Additionally, I love Brian Eno and Sigur Ros, both of whom dabble often in the ambient, but I’ll always enjoy their more structured wanderings. Perhaps it’s just the way my brain functions. I like things solid, others like Gas.

Not available on Spotify.

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