Boomkat Product Review:
‘Seven Horses For Seven Kings’ is the staggering new Black To Comm album by Marc Richter, who applies a whole new rhythmic force to his avant-garde sound designs with results landing in a wildly imaginative space between Rashad Becker, Cam Deas, and Nurse With Wound...
The project’s first new album since ‘Black To Comm’ for Type in 2014 marks a radical new phase for the german artist. Drawing on recent years’ work, ranging from writing for theatre and film to composing for art installations, apps and sleep music, Richter has realised a phantasmagoria of limitless sound in ‘Seven Horses For Seven Kings’ that plays to the full extent of his powers, and then some, then a bit more. It fulminates dense, emotive energy and intense sensation at every angle, piling in battalions of swarming horns, sky-clawing metal axe riffs and batteries of arcane techno-primitivist percussion in a way that will leave followers of his earlier work astonished at the switch-up, while newcomers will no doubt be shocked into exploring his other work after coming thru and down form this immense album.
“Seven Horses For Seven Kings was completed during a particularly prolific period for Richter. Working on a broad range of commissions since his last album - from writing for film and theatre works to composing for art installations, apps and sleep music - generated a flurry of new ideas and influences. Site-specific residencies in particular let Richter shift his focus from melody and song architecture to more abstract sound art. Extensive touring would equally come to inform a key shift in Richter’s music, simulating the raw, unpredictable energy of live performances on record. Rather than ironing out mistakes in samples or his own playing, he exploits or even forces such imperfections. While rhythm has been largely absent from previous Black To Comm releases, here the music seems totally bound to it, from the fractured techno breaks of ”Fly on You”, to the pounding war drums of “Rameses II” and pulsing Mellotron sounds of “Angel Investor”. The album’s breath-taking pace drives Richter’s music to new levels of intensity.
Richter’s creative practice is informed as much by careful, attentive listening as it is studio experimentation. Pieces often begin life as a single sound that catches his ear, be it a record from his extensive collection, or something in the natural environment. Samples and instrumentation are sometimes presented authentically, a deliberate reference to an era, place or player, and at other times are twisted beyond recognition. Samples from contemporary artists like Nils Frahm are bent and compounded with fragments of early recorded music and medieval song. Richter blurs the lines between organic instrumentation and digital production to the extent that the two become inseparable. Being able to separate sound from context gives Richter complete command of the emotional impact of his music, imbuing pieces with meaning or stripping it back as he sees fit.
While Richter questions whether instrumental music needs to have deeper meaning beyond its sonic qualities, he accepts that the wider world inevitably bleeds into his art. Reflecting the violence and unreality of modern life, Seven Horses For Seven Kings is unashamedly dark, undeniably angry. But rather than be consumed by such emotions, Richter employs them as ecstatic release. Through his mastery of sound, he achieves transcendence through noise, beauty through intensity.”