Coal: Ontology
Gravite Records

As students of philosophy know, Ontology concerns the theory of being—or Being, if one's thinking in Heidegerrian terms. I can't say whether Giovanni Paris was thinking of anything quite so heavy when he was creating “Ontology,” the A-side of this new twelve-inch for Gravite, but the track itself is powerful indeed. The ten-minute cut unfolds in stages, with Paris first conjuring an industrial, siren-squealing landscape that's as black as his moniker and then animating it with a muscular, bass-thumping pulse that gradually builds in intensity and textural detail. Tension likewise builds via drop-outs and teasing on Paris's part until the groove locks into position in the most serious way at the five-minute mark. It's an incredible piece of music that's so nuanced in its handling of rhythm and texture one could as easily imagine it being issued on Stroboscopic Artefacts as Gravite.

The B-side gets underway with an “Ontology” remix by Gravite owner Bruno Sacco that, strong as it is, can't help but seem a tad anticlimactic coming after the original. Arguing in favour of the remix is that Sacco's hard-grooving version aligns itself more closely to techno in its pure form without stripping away the cut's raw industrial character; putting further distance between his version and Paris's, Sacco introduces a hiccup into the rhythms that bolsters the material with additional swing and later adds claps for extra seasoning. Coal returns for the five-minute closer “Potassio,” whose incredible sound design again calls Stroboscopic Aretfacts to mind in the way it undergirds convulsive clusters of metallic noise with an unrelenting locomotive pulse. Both labels deserve to be applauded for the innovative and artful approaches they're respectively bringing to the techno genre. There's little chance of the form stagnating so long as producers like Coal and Lucy are releasing music.

October 2013