Königsforst picks up where the previous Gas album, Zauberberg (1997), left off. If anything, Königsforst adds more techno to the "ambient techno" equation, as underlying rhythms of looped bass beats pulsate throughout the album whereas they had been more sparingly employed on Zauberberg (not heard at all on that album's first and final tracks). German techno producer Wolfgang Voigt again crafts extended soundscapes -- ranging from six to 15 minutes -- of spare droning melodies, soft textural static (or hiss), and distant rhythmic loops of kick drums that often sound submersed or aquatic. The contents are less important than the effect, however, as this is ambient techno at its most minimal, with a tone that is tranquil yet dark, ominous, and haunting. Moreover, the spare ambience of the music belies its power. Turn this music up loud on a high-quality sound system with a lot of bass kick, and Königsforst is downright trance-inducing, especially since the majority of the tracks carry on for over ten minutes with only slight variation over the course of their duration. While impressively crafted and among the greatest ambient techno you're likely to hear, Königsforst is less striking than its predecessor. Zauberberg plays better as an album, with an arc that builds from track to track, peaking in intensity before drawing back for the final track. Königsforst lacks such an arc, playing out like a collection of stylistically similar yet discontinuous tracks. Still, the music is dazzling and is sure to please anyone who enjoys ambient techno, particularly the kind that evokes a sense of foreboding.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier