Wolfgang Voigt blends techno, ambient and classical music at The Regent Theatre.
Though not typically a seated venue, The Regent had been fitted especially with folding chairs, which made the room feel smaller and more intimate. Initially I had imagined the audience lying sprawled over blankets and bean bags, but instead they sat on neat rows of seats facing the stage, rapt, silent and still. This dynamic highlighted Gas's classical music leanings, rather than the project's associations with techno.
This side was also on display in the material Voigt chose to perform. While the earliest Gas records carry some classical influences in their sprawling minimalism and symphonic sample material, more recent releases have brought that sensibility to the fore, replacing the hazy pallet of '90s albums like Königsforst and Zauberberg with high-definition production and more recognizable sounds. At The Regent, Voigt firmly committed to this newer sound. Instead of weightless pads, he filled the room with dense strings and woodwind leads. At times, Gas's signature four-on-the-floor kick drum sounded more like a warlike march than a distant pulse, lending a sinister edge to the wilderness onscreen.
While much of Gas's earlier output is ambiguous and understated, this performance felt more intentional and direct. It may have lacked the experimental charm of the early years, but Voigt made up for it in emotional intensity, building alternate sections of beauty and foreboding with sustained chords and carefully plotted melodies. Ultimately, the show highlighted a particular side of Gas, which places the conventions of classical music on equal footing with ambient and techno. Many of the project's album covers show bits of foliage, colorfully illuminated. This latest iteration brought another piece of that forest to life.
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