Thrill Jockey

BLACK TO COMM - Before After LP

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Black To Comm masterfully manipulates sound, his alterations rendering sources unidentifiable and serving as a sort of portal to new realities. Composer Marc Richter collapses the past, present and future of recorded music into kaleidoscopic pieces that transcend genre, bristling with detail: an intense sensory sonic experience. Before After charts a hallucinogenic journey through polar extremes of emotion and to the outer reaches of sound, is a perfect companion to the darker Seven Horses For Seven Kings.

Richter’s technical approach to making music is deeply rooted in his philosophy of time. He points to a quote from early electronic pioneer Eliane Radigue: "everything is an interval, we are always in-between. And in this interval, between two states, there is a continual expression of invisible variations, imperceptible transitions." Before After exists in that fluid, liminal space, drawing on sounds and influences from disparate pasts and using these to synthesize new futures. “They Said Sleep” applies contemporary studio techniques to ancient material, creating a Chopped ‘n’ Screwed edit of an early medieval folk song. “The Seven Of Horses” expands on the language of Bulgarian Folk by adding abrasive new textures, processing piano sounds through analogue filters. Even Richter’s own material is ripe for reinvention, “Etas-Unis” and “Perfume Sample” both revisit elements of music from Seven Horses For Seven Kings with results that are entirely new and revelatory of the compositional and sound sculpting skills of Richter.

Before After was written during the same sessions that gave birth to Richter’s recent, highly acclaimed, Seven Horses For Seven Kings. The intentionally crafted companion pieces mine similar raw sonic materials to yield radically different results. Where Seven Horses was a dark work focused on anger and desperation, Before After finds faint glimmers of hope in the same sources. By reappraising the past Richter divines new futures, opening up parallel timelines and sonic universes. The album bookends the current phase of Richter’s output as Black To Comm, a decisive statement piece that leaves the future of the project tantalisingly open-ended.