VA: Anomalie 002
Gravite Records

One of the more incongruous images that comes to mind is picturing a Gravite Records showcase being presented at a summer festival under a blazing sun—hardly the natural setting for the French label's underground techno. And underground in this case is not a mere figure of speech or label: the Gravite sound is one naturally born for dark, damp, and cavernous spaces, ones where no natural light intrudes and all sounds echo deafeningly throughout labyrinthine tunnels. The label's second chapter in its Anomalie series features tracks by five roster artists that offer a summative portrait of Gravite's coal-black techno.

Like a trapeze artist, a wavering pitch floats high over a thumping, low-end groove during Bruno Sacco's “Spectrum,” its elastic rhythms forming a broad cushion for the activity occurring above. In addition, Lolho's “Disjuncture” perpetuates the EP's dark techno vibe by swarming a throbbing pulse with viral clouds of diseased textures and swirls, while Danilo Rispoli works up the release's most punishing groove in “V3rbo.” The closest thing the EP has to a conventional experimental techno cut, Franck Valat's “The Kid” gravitates in that direction by fusing cut-up voice effects with a dusty guitar twang and a swinging micro-house rhythm.

At ten minutes, Coal's snarling “Spc” is the behemoth of the bunch in more ways than one. In a piece that's more macabre soundscape than techno workout, noises of industrial clanging and chains evoke the image of an underground drilling operation, just as the track's relentless rhythms suggest the onsite presence of grinding machinery. Contrasts abound, suggesting that one might best characterize Anomalie 002 as thirty-seven minutes of wide-ranging sound explorations from the Gravite outpost.

June 2013