Quality: 4.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5
The title of Gas' final album is probably about 90% ironic. I imagine that Wolfgang Voigt drove Gas in general with a very specific aesthetic in mind, and "Pop" does little to break that. We still get oceanic synths and orchestral samples with ghostly house drums blaring away somewhere in the distant background. Still, each of Gas' albums somehow succeed in creating an identity of their own within this seemingly limited framework. "Pop" is no exception to this rule.
Like the other Gas albums, "Pop" sports no actual track titles and is best experienced as a whole. It's the little details that distinguish it. The album opens with the first few tracks featuring almost easy-listening style orchestral samples. Perhaps this is meant to reference the title. Of course, these samples are all phased out and weird sounding, but still, the sentiment seems to come across. The fourth track is based on a surprisingly clear (for Gas) piano synth riff whose syncopated bounce also suggests that the "Pop" title is not intended to be completely ironic. It's after this track that the listened is thrown headfirst into swirling, beatless sound for twenty minutes (this is where your mind is supposed to drift somewhere just east of the Vega system). The final track throws all the pieces together for a definitive example of the Gas sound.
The music of Gas is very much something that can only be experienced. While Voigt's project inhabited a small area of music space, he really managed to artfully milk it to its full potential. While "Pop" doesn't quite inhabit the almost sacred ground that I feel "Zauberberg" did, it's a wonderful ambient album that is certainly near the top of its class.
Gas - 2000 - Pop