On Pop Wolfgang Voigt lightens the tone of his Gas work, adding earthly sounds and brighter melodies. The result remains stylistically ambient; in fact, the stripping away of bass beats, which had been employed on his past two albums, Zauberberg (1998) and Königsforst (1999), makes this more of a purely ambient album than an ambient techno one. Such a distinction (i.e., between ambient and ambient techno) may seem hair-splitting, but it's a key difference between Pop and its predecessors, and this is an album that aims to be different and, presumably, more accessible (if the album title is to be taken meaningfully). Even though, for the most part, there aren't any underlying rhythms of looped kick drums on Pop, there's plenty of rhythm; rather than looping low-frequency bass beats, Voigt loops mid- and high-frequency percussive sounds (for example, a tinny clanging sound on the fourth track). Actually, there's a lot going on in the mid- to high-frequency range, a variety of looped sounds -- some rhythmic, others melodic, still others simply ambient -- and these are a different set of sounds than were previously employed. In general, the seven tracks of Pop are comprised of a multi-layered set of loops that carry on seemingly to no end, though subtle nuances are constantly at play, creating a steady and sustained ambience that is forever shifting and swirling around lifelike. The final track is the most remarkable; at almost 15 minutes, it's the longest, and it's far and away the most intense and rhythmic, chugging along like a runaway train. Besides being remarkable on its own terms, this final track is a great finale and gives Pop the same sense of arc that characterized Zauberberg. While all of the Gas albums are cornerstone works, setting the stage for the style of "pop ambient" techno popularized by Kompakt in later years, Pop, along with Zauberberg, is a crowning achievement for Voigt and, as if his mission were accomplished, he chose to conclude his series of Gas albums here.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier