Alltag 1 – 4





The name All is one of several monikers for electronic music pioneer and Kompakt label boss Wolfgang Voigt, whose most famous and diverse project is Gas. Every song of his All project is immediately recognizable which is quite an achievement considering the vast amount of daily releases on hundreds of different labels. Voigt's All tracks usually feature a thick, shifting, warm and loud Ambient loop as their core. A dominant cymbal and other pumping percussion elements are sometimes added to a track, but every track always remains in Ambient territory (with one exception mentioned below). On this 12“ EP, there are 4 different tracks, all called Alltag (German for daily routine). One could also think of the EP as containing one track only that is remixed three additional times, as elements, motifs and string setups re-emerge time and again.


The standout track – or, likewise, the original starting point for every other remix on this EP – is Alltag 1, which is also featured on the first entry of Kompakt's Pop Ambient compilation, Pop Ambient 2001. Alltag 1 starts off with a tremendously positive vibe due to multilayered synth washes that are so overwhelming that percussive elements, possibly short and backwards played acoustic guitar notes, are barely audible. This is one of my favorite Ambient tracks ever. An interesting music video of this track is added as a bonus on the Pop Ambient 2001 compilation, but it can also be seen on YouTube. The video literally visualizes the concept of multiple layers in the song by featuring flat 2D surfaces of a winter landscape – a ski resort – that are laid over each other via parallax shifts. Alltag 2 is the dynamic track of the EP and cannot be called an Ambient track, as a dominant 6/8 beat that is so typical for many of Kompakt's Schaffel releases. The guitar would not be too far off in a funk band and is the driving force of this track that surely works for runners, as it is quite fast. The formerly dominant multilayered synth sounds are banished to the background. Don't get me wrong, Alltag 2 itself is a funky affair which has been shuffled several times over the years when I am out in the fields for jogging, but it simply doesn't work in the context built up by this release. Alltag 3 features the familiar cymbals and the short acoustic guitar accompaniment but is more melancholic than Alltag 1. The strings are now more monotonous at the beginning and only consist of two notes. Yet again, Alltag 3 features a warmth that makes it more efficient in winter times. Alltag 4 is the ultimate melancholic closing track of this EP, again featuring the two note melancholic strings but getting rid of the cymbals. The deepest sounds you hear are the chords of the acoustic guitar. In its whole runtime of 07:30 minutes, nothing changes apart from a fade out.


Though not being part of the EP, I want to mention for the record that another mix, called Alltag 5, is featured on the Pop Ambient 2003 collection. It features dominant percussion as well, but is build upon Alltag 3 and is similarly melancholic. This is a very fine track and would have been an excellent substitute for Alltag 2, which is a fine track nonetheless if isolated from the rest of the mixes. All in all (sic!), an EP I recommend wholeheartedly and that I consider a classic from the early times of the label.



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 Ambient Review 003: All – Alltag 1 – 4 (2001). Originally published on Dec. 18, 2011 at