Voigt & Voigt: Die Zauberhafte Welt Der Anderen (Kompakt, 2013)
Long-awaited debut LP from Voigt & Voigt, the duo of Kompakt demigod Wolfgang Voigt in collaboration with his brother Reinhard. The duo’s collaborative output has so far been limited to Speicher 12″s and a few compilations, but last year they started releasing 12″s on a new label called Erdingertrax, and here’s a full-length on Kompakt (which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, counting the opening of its original record store in 1993 as year zero). Musically, this album should sound familiar to fans of either Voigt, from projects such as Wolfgang’s Gas and All to Reinhard’s Sturm, among dozens (maybe hundreds) of other names. Which is to say, lots of staying-in-place loops fading in and out, and subliminal sounds and textures. “Intro Konig” fades a beat in after two minutes of foggy atmospherics, and uses sounds that approximate barking dogs and chirping insects, along with guitar loops which reverse and retract. “Der Este Zug” shuffles some xylophone loops with more mutating, shifting synth textures, along with another insistent groove which seems to endlessly pogo in place. “Der Keil NRW” starts with live-sounding drums looped at a higher BPM, fooling you into thinking some sort of rock’n'roll song might be developing. But then we’re thrown for a loop with minimal, eerie synth atmospherics, disembodied vocal samples and some dramatic orchestral samples. “Tja Mama, Sandra Maisehberger” is where things get really haunted, starting with creepy horror-movie piano, shuddering footsteps, and spoken female vocals, all of which get reversed and re-looped. More disembodied male vocals loop (basically the same sample as the previous track, pitched down), along with a sliding bassline and measured beats. “Sozial” is a surprise downtempo track, with jazzy brushed drums, hints of sax, and plenty of billowing flutes. Sounds like it could get a little too laid back, but some softly arpeggiating synths underpin the track, giving it just a little bit of tack so that it doesn’t float away completely. “Die Glocke (Endstation Wiener Platz)” is kind of a deconstructed cousin of “Tja Mama”, with the same sliding bass and disembodied vocals, and horror strings. “Hotel Noki” builds up more horror-movie atmospherics with haunted pianos, shifting, reversing strings, and another stay-in-place groove. “Akira” is a monotonous looping string drone, and then “Triptychon Number 7″ is maybe the most straightforward dance track on the album. It still has a stiff, singular groove, but a consistent beat, more straightforward building structure, and some neat arpeggiated synth lines. Not that this track would ever be mistaken for any of the Kompakt label’s more poppy artists, like Gui Boratto or Superpitcher, there’s still the type of creepiness present in the rest of the album, but this is definitely the track to go to if you want to hear something more accessible on this album, I guess. “Der Letzte Zug” ends the album with a Burial-like dark atmospheric 2 minutes sounding a bit like a train drifting through late-night foggy mist. The album ends with “Akira” again, but instead of 2 and a half minutes of monotonous string looping, it’s extended to 26 and a half, without much perceptible variation. I guess they must have been really feeling that loop in the studio, but I can’t say I am, at least not for nearly a half hour’s worth. Overall, the album’s a little bit of a mixed bag, but it still holds a few surprises, even for longtime Kompakt fans.