Boomkat Product Review:
Visual artist-turned-musician, Richie Culver, maintains a proper mard-on with a superb second album of ascetic poetry set to guttural drone and spectral, noisy rap backdrops, starring Billy Woods, Moor Mother, and his wife, up in it - RIYL Space Afrika/Blackhaine/Paithe/Rainy Miller, Teresa Winter, Dean Blunt, Mark Leckey, Genesis P-Orridge
Humberside-raised, London-based artist Richie Culver is one of the most curious creatures to emerge in recent years. Prior to 2022, he was perphaps best known for Drake co-signing his artwork ‘Huge Fan of Your Old Stuff’, as well as sharing a debut split 12” with Blackhaine, but has since come into his own with a blend of coldly observant productions on his debut ‘I was Born by the Sea’, which reflected on a life lived thru homelessness, a stint in Berlin, and back to his hometown, Withernsea, near Hull. On ‘Scream if You Don’t Exist’ Culver goes a deeper into his thing with a longer, more sensuous album that acknowledges a sense of hard won self-acceptance and a growing confidence in his musical convictions.
Within ‘Scream if You Don’t Exist’ Richie resembles a mutant orchid blooming from well-trodden cracks of industrial, rap, dark ambient, and rave hauntology. Creeping into view with a reminiscence of life on the tinfoil and worries about the future perfused into the gloaming shape of ‘Hottest Day of the Year’, its 13 tracks manifest a compellingly nervous energy. Cut to cut he vacillates tracts of instrumental dread and lyrical insight on ‘Weakness’, with standout turns by cult NYC rapper BillyWoods on the turgid Reese bass of ‘Swollen’, and the relative levity of ‘Restaurants’ ft. a brilliant Moor Mother performance, while (pun surely intended) literally screwing his wife on ‘OMG they’re gone’.
But it’s in the album’s crankier interstices that Culver’s heightened feel for sound design distinguishes the set, as with he shivering, hallucinatory ‘Restraining Order’, a fuzzy flashback to rave vamps in the title tune and ‘On the Top’, or the plaintive beauty of his uncompromised Humberside accent set to serotonin-scraped synth timbre on closing couplet ‘Underground Flower’ and ‘Just Jump In’, that really gel and bring the album together. It’s really quite essential listening for anyone who can join the dots between half a century of multi-disciplinary, DIY, industrial/post-industrial musicks that originated in Culver’s home region with COUM Transmissions some 50 odd years ago.