Boomkat Product Review:
Marc Richter is a bit of a musical chameleon, operating at the cusp of experimental music for many years at the helm of the Dekorder label and via his excellent Black To Comm project.
His last album for the Type label, 2009’s excellent 'Alphabet 1968’ perhaps didn't quite get the attention it undoubtedly deserved, but it still stands out as one of the most oddly memorable drone-ambient albums we’ve heard this last decade, vaguely tapping into the Hauntological zeitgeist of the day but extending the remit to create something far more unsettling and ambitious. That it was subsequently sampled on Evian Christ's standout EP ‘Kings and Them’ perhaps best illustrates the gap between Richter’s creative scope and his relative anonymity.
News that there was a new double album recorded for Type filled us with curiosity, and the result is another sprawling, ambitious re-modelling of ideas that perhaps started life in the ambient realm but soon became infected by a signature surrealism that genuinely sounds unlike much you’ll have heard before. The album extends from the pulsing, chattering opener ‘Human Gidrah’ to the delirious fractured pop of ‘Hands’, while the 20 minute long ‘Is Nowhere’, builds slowly via rumbling organ sounds and buzzing filters to a noisy, sparkling climax.
There are real songs hidden in there somewhere, but Richter’s restless production style never quite lets them fully surface, throwing numerous stylistic distractions that take in everything from skittering jazz-atmospheres to bombastic spoken word narratives and quasi-operatic chanting - gliding from one track to the next without anything like a coherent progression in mind. That the sum total of these tracks isn’t a sprawling mess is an achievement in itself, but that repeated listens (and it doesn't take many) reveal a kind of addictive, earworm quality is genuinely surprising for an album whose sole remit seems to be to wrong-foot and frustrate. So yeah, 'Black To Comm' is undoubtedly a more challenging record than its predecessor, but one which repays the patient listener in dividends.