Straight out of Hamburg, Germany, Marc Richter’s Black to Comm isn’t an MC5 tribute project, instead you’ll find a gloomy mixture of samples, field recordings, tape manipulation and extended drones. This double-vinyl LP is released on Birmingham’s Type, a follow-up to his 2009 Type release Alphabet 1968, and, it’s promised, is even “deeper” and “more challenging”
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Black To Clomm is a solo project of Marc Richter, and across this substantial album he layers all manner of sounds, from haunting ambient loops and Indian Classical Music samples to weird spoken word recordings and channels these through an all-enveloping and sometimes surreal current of drones.
The opening track "Human Gidrah" is a good taster of how the album sounds- starting off with benign reedy sounds and meandering melodic chiming over which a forthright and progressively more unhinged narrator speaks as abrasive, transistor-distorted frequencies accompany elongated male-voice choirs and brassy bass drones. The faint pulse of a casio-style drum loop carries through the track as the narrative takes some strange turns, with the mysterious speaker even encouraging listeners to ‘grab yourself by the anus and turn yourself inside out’ at one point.
And that is pretty much what I felt like doing after listening to the album’s epic 20 minute centrepiece, "Is Nowhere". It starts off evocatively enough with tingling layers of dusty organs and atmospheric synth loops. Then we get more nasal drones with the rich transistory harmonics building up in modulating layers with the addition of bass hum, feedback whistles, rumbles of thunder and so on until the intensity peaks with layers of squelching, high-pitched oscillators freaking out on both sides of the stereo field. The thing that frustrates me about Richter’s approach is the slightly incontinent tendency to just pile up sounds and not really let any kind of interaction between the elements draw you in as a listener. Instead the album too often feels to me like a bloated mish-mash of sound. Having said that, the record has some pretty wild psychedelic moments and I could well imagine some folks finding it totally awe-inspiring -- so don’t take my word for it.
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