June 17, 2009

Love Inc. - Life's A Gas (1995, Force Inc. Music Works)

A solid decade before “minimal techno” began to actually become “trendy”, if only by way of Richie Hawtin's M-nus label in the US anyway, Wolfgang Voigt was beating everyone to the punch with his Love Inc. project on the now-defunct German Force Inc. Music Works record label. Constantly defining trends and defying all completist collectors, Voigt has released well over 100 records under a huge array of aliases, beginning with his acid tracks under the name Mike Ink in the early '90s. His early tracks are storming and 303-drenched, taking the acid sound to its hardcore extremes, but with his Love Inc. project he really began to establish himself as an innovative experimental techno producer. Following a series of high-intensity, acid-tinged techno 12”s, “Life's A Gas” was Voigt's first full-length CD and has a great minimal tech-house sensibility. With a strange collage cover composed of classic '70s rock albums, the album apparently features samples from each album depicted, although I can only detect the obvious re-interpretation of T. Rex's “Hot Love” in the “Hot Love (Mike Mix)”, where the original track has been morphed into a psychedelic cowboy shuffle. Most of the tracks have a club sensibility paired with a mysterious, abstract synth instrumentation, while the downtempo “Where It's At” sounds like it would be at home on Aphex Twin's “SAW Vol. II”. The album itself has hints of modern dub techno, minimalism and progressive tech-house, produced with oldschool synthesizers and hardware drum machines with a great analog/digital hybrid '90s sound. Voigt continued from this point to venture further into abstraction with his Gas project, and founded the Kompakt label in the late '90s to release more catchy minimal and abstract techno, but the roots can be heard on “Life's A Gas”.