Gravite records appeared almost out of nowhere last year with three brilliant EPs from Bruno Sacco, Franck Valat and Danilo Rispoli – all of which sustain a ‘no nonsense’, commitment to functional, stripped-down progressive techno. In terms of sound, Gravite prefer delicate balance to raw power, and sleek production over crude brutalism. Their fourth EP, Ontology, comes from Coal, a.k.a Giovanni Paris, and falls tremendously into this tradition.
Given the EP’s intense visual quality and vividness, it is perhaps unsurprising that Paris’ main musical experience comes from the world of TV, film and advertising. However, what may be surprising is that this is his first techno release, purely because it is pulled off so well. Of course, on the one hand, there is plenty of overlap; title track ‘Ontology’, for instance, has an enormously cavernous ambience to it, and one can imagine that Paris has gained a lot of practice in this field from working with visual media. Nevertheless, the punchy drive and the intricate dynamic development is not something that we find in his previous work, and in my opinion makes this release more distinctive.
Bruno Sacco’s remix also manages to keep things distant and intriguing, never once being too brazen or abrasive. Instead, the interest is kept through subtle manipulations of textures, and enormous swathes of noise that wash over the mix every now and again.
‘Potassio’ closes the EP, going deeper into the industrial underbelly (or Coal-mine, if you like) of Paris’ sound. Although it is certainly less of a standalone track than ‘Ontology’, it isn’t meant to be, and it’s interesting to hear just how well Paris is able to create those weird and wonderful blasts of sound that hover above the track like an ominous cloud.
There are of course parallels to be drawn here – the likes of Puresque and Oliver Deutschmann come to mind - but this should certainly not be a deterrent, as the EP sounds far from derivative. Personally, I hope Paris continues to develop his Coal moniker, intermingling his cinematic work with this new club-oriented sound, and create something altogether unique.