Marc Richter hops over to Thrill Jockey for his latest LP as Black To Comm. Seven Horses For Seven Kings is another plunge into the depths of the human psyche. The blackened, misty music here sounds like it has been dredged up from the bed of the river Styx. Think Prurient, The Body and all that sort of thing.
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If you’ve got your Richter’s confused Seven Horses For Seven Kings will be a big surprise. Becuase Marc Richter is most assuredly not Max Richter, nor is he anything like Max Richter (even if he does sample Nils Frahm, one of Max’s mates). You’ll find no painfully earnest contemporary classical music here. No, instead it’s Black to Comm, Marc Richter’s long running project.
Seven Horses is Richter’s 10th album under that name, and the first for the venerable Thrill Jockey. And it’s heavy, oh boy is it heavy. Straight from the off a swarm of angry trumpets appears on ‘Asphodel Mansions’. It’s intense and morose and discordant, the perfect fanfare for the entry of these seven kings. Richter is a studio artist, twisting samples to his own wicked will. Which is to say, if you knew those trumpet before, you certainly don’t now. ‘If Not, Not’ starts with terrifying war drums, urging nightmarish hoards forwards. They are joined by demonic, ethereal choirs, and finally overwhelmed. The cheekily names ‘Angel Investor’ begins with euphoric strummed mandolin, which are drowned in droning electronics.
These distinct sounds and recordings are all unified by Richter’s production, which helps us to see consistency and unity among the variety. It does leave me wanting for a bit of subtlety, samples have a habit of sweeping fully into view before slowly decaying but that approach does generate the necessary drama. This could be a messy album then, but through his practice, and the darkness that clearly inspires him, Seven Horses For Seven Kings becomes a single story.
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