Sunday 22 September 2013

Review: Coal Ontology GRVT004

COAL is a project manifesting the “dark side” of Italian producer Giovanni Paris. Like Italian colleagues such as Giorgio Gigli, Paris seems to be on a mission to carve out new conceptual spaces. This is spacious, atmospheric, wide-screen techno, backed up with a darkly atmopsheric video trailer and a more defined (and original) concept than many techno releases. The publicity text alludes to the geological processes of formation and erosion and while these tracks are not exactly direct sonic embodiments of these, the combination of such ideas with this music doesn't seem excessive (a constant risk when producers tried to graft ambitious, pseudo-intellectual concepts onto techno).

The ten minute plus 'Ontology' contains the core of a conventional techno track, but one that's been stretched and twisted, filled out with cold drones, dark undertones and more subtle sonic activity. Even in the later, faster passages there's a mournful, contemplative air to it.

The Bruno Sacco Remix is more uptempo but retains a mysterious air. In its blending of beats and uneasy atmospheres, it's a little like the darker 1990s work by Plastikman. It's a respectful but innovative mix that introduces new dynamism to the original. The final section works especially well and is arranged very skillfully.

Swopping in immediately after this, 'Potassio' opens with some bracing noise blasts swiftly followed by heavy-duty beats. This is the shortest but also most galvanising and menacing track here. Very dark chords and harsh screeches are skilfully balanced to produce a superb and original dark techno track that I wanted to hear again immediately after it finished.

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