Diamat: Being Is the Sum of Appearing

There was a time—not all that many years ago, in fact—when the epic IDM style embodied by Diamat was if not ubiquitous at least available in plentiful amounts. That seems to be less so today, a fact that makes the group's hour-long debut album Being Is the Sum of Appearing sound less anachronistic than fresh. And Diamat's music truly is Intelligent Dance Music in the literal sense, even if dance beats aren't present at every moment of the recording's eight tracks. But techno is certainly a key part of the album's sound (check out the forceful, 4/4 stomp that gradually materializes during the opening cut “I Can Love You Only If You Don't Love Me”), and Diamat even finds room for downtempo hip-hop rhythms, too (see “Misunderstood Pt. 2”). Truth be told, it's perhaps a bit unfair to label the group's sound IDM when it weaves into its music multiple other genres, ambient, electronica, and post-rock among them.

No listener should be surprised by Diamat's luscious sound once it's learned that the project was formed in 2011 by the co-founder of Port-Royal, Attilio Bruzzone, in partnership with Andrea Zangrandi and Christos Garmpidakis. Port-Royal was admired for its own dramatic atmospherics, and it's also understandable that some trace of the group's guitar-heavy sound would seep into Diamat's, too. Metamorphosis is central to Being Is the Sum of Appearing, with a given piece moving through multiple stages: an ambient episode, for instance, will gradually turn into an aggressive beat-powered sequence, as the trio builds synthesizers and electric guitars into dense, dramatic soundfields (a case in point the segue from contemplative reverie to beat thunder that occurs in “Misunderstood Pt. 1”). The album's at its most radiant during “Zralocik,” where a starlit synth line shimmers against a groove that morphs from light-footed to heavy-hitting, while, on arguably the disc's most memorable track, fellow n5MD artist Dalot (Maria Papadomanolaki) shows up on “Shane Vendrell” to add ethereal vocals to Diamat's lustrous soundpainting and punchy 4/4 attack.

The group's music is irony-free and delivered with a degree of passion and sincerity more than capable of breaking down whatever resistance the anti-IDM listener might bring to the album; certainly there are enough synthesizer whooshes, ambient washes, and delayed guitars to keep the typical IDM head happy. Diamat's implicit argument on behalf of its sound is paralleled by the message conveyed by the Adorno quote on the package's inner sleeve: “Philosophy, which once seemed outmoded, remains alive because the moment of its realization was missed.” Even if it would be hard to argue that IDM never reached a state of realization (the early Warp era alone argues otherwise), the statement rings true in suggesting that IDM persists, even if to a more modest degree than before, because its possibilities have yet to be completely exhausted.

October 2013