Black To Comm


The music of Black To Comm is as powerfully intoxicating as it is subtly unnerving. Shapeshifting producer and sound artist Marc Richter has established himself as one of the most inventive and ambitious voices in contemporary music. Richter’s mastery of sonic manipulation is matched only by his astounding clarity of vision. Working heavily with sampling and electronic processing, each of his phantasmagoric works is meticulously constructed from a truly omnivorous array of smudged samples, found sounds and other sonic detritus, collected by Richter from across the history of recorded music and altered into beguiling new shapes. Sound sources seem tantalizingly familiar and yet forever just out of reach, flickering at the edges of memory and perception or submerged in a bristling sea of static. A single piece might strafe elements of Eastern European folk, medieval plainsong, sky-clawing metal and shimmering ambient music, all ingested by Richter into his singular sound-world. Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens sees Richter turn his wild imagination to an exploration of the human voice, compiling some of his most immediate and affecting music to date.

Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens collects new evolutions of pieces written for site-specific installations alongside original works. Taken as a suite, it offers a transfixing survey of the full sonic potential of the voice while honing in on its emotional and human qualities. Title tracks “Stolen Androgens” and “Oocyte Oil”, both originally commissioned for installations by German collective Gruppe Hasenbart, recast vocal hooks from mainstream pop tracks as haunted, subtly sensuous accompaniments to Richter’s instrumentals. “Gepackte Zeit” (in English, “compressed time”) in contrast experiments instead with pop structures, condensing the extended minimal meditations of composer Hanne Darboven into a three-minute piece, the original works disappearing under rippling layers of overtones and harmonies. Bookending the album are two works based on sound and video installation Abdomen by visual artist Seb Patane. Assembled as an oblique sound poem or radio play, opening track “Gustav Metzger as Erwin Piscator, Gera, January 1915” experiments with applying singing techniques and composition to spoken word vocals, employing subtle chords, harmony and melody in its investigation of human speech. Coda “Rataplan, Rataplan, Rataplan (Arms and Legs Flying in the Air)” reprises a vocal line from the opener, it’s rhythmic architecture here augmented by jagged drum patterns that build into a clamoring crescendo in stark contrast to the rest of the album’s haunting beauty.

Remarkably, considering the origin of many of the pieces as sound installations, Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens comprises Richter’s most concise and immediate work to date. In composing the original pieces and re-working them for release, Richter explains that he “wanted to break away from the notion that pieces for art have to be atonal, or abstract, or difficult”. It stands as a testament to the evocative power of his work that even removed from their original context, Richter’s synaesthetic compositions alone give a vivid sense of three-dimensional space and narrative. Like psychoactive chemicals blossoming in the stomach, pieces burst and bloom from the recordings into physical space, grounded in the familiar but drifting through alternate realities and higher states of consciousness. Through re-sampling and re-working his own material, Richter actively embraces the inherently liminal and temporal nature of music, each piece existing in a state of constant flux, constantly shifting and evolving to suit the myriad contexts in which it is experienced.




    Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens

  • 1 Gustav Metzger as Erwin Piscator, Gera, January 1915
  • 2 Stolen Androgens
  • 3 Oocyte Oil
  • 4 Gepackte Zeit (für Hanne Darboven)
  • 5 Rataplan, Rataplan, Rataplan (Arms and Legs Flying in the Air)
  • Tracks