Ontayso: Abstract Serie No. 01

Ontayso: Abstract Serie No. 02

To celebrate U-cover's ten years of existence, label head Koen Lybaert intends to issue ten Ontayso recordings under the Abstract Serie title. Though Lybaert may be primarily known for his musical output, the Belgian producer is an accomplished designer, photographer, and painter too. In 2008, a newly re-awakened passion for painting resulted in a series of abstract works that act as natural visual correlates to the recordings. Being largely form-free displays of cloudy textural colour fields, the paintings displayed on the sleeves for the first two recordings in the series are Rothko-like in nature—the red one slightly more evocative of the painter's works than the blue one.

The two discs' 100 minutes of material—dramatic, immersive dub-techno that pulsates insistently as repeating waves of vaporous washes stretch across it—is protoypical Ontayso and immediately identifiable as such. During Abstract Serie No 01, the towering upper masses swell so powerfully they feel like storm cloud formations passing overhead. Ice cold and metallic, the recording's rhythm material throbs with the precision-fueled relentlessness of a Monolake track, while its ‘melodic' material is as resolutely synthetic as its beat patterns. Ambient and propulsive elements merge as droning swathes speckled with crackle and blurry exhalations bring the first installment to a close. Emerging from a foggy cloud of black smoke and immersing the listener within an ominous realm of brooding washes and faint rumble, the second disc picks up where the first leaves off. Percussive patterns periodically float to the surface, move the material forward, and then disappear. The first half of the second disc is ambient dub in style, with only the faintest trace of chordal accents acting as a pulse for the thick synthetic mass, in contrast to the more animated second half which serves up a hefty mid-tempo twenty minutes of heavily atmospheric and at times menacing dub-techno. Classic stuff, all told, and surely manna from heaven if you're an Ontayso devotee.

March 2010