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LISTEN: Black To Comm Album Stream
Christian Eede , January 21st, 2019 15:38

German sound artist Marc Richter, AKA Black To Comm, shares his first record for Thrill Jockey

This Friday (January 25) sees the release of a new album from Black To Comm, the solo moniker of sound artist Marc Richter.

Titled Seven Horses For Seven Kings, the album is Richter's first for Thrill Jockey. It sees him make use of hypnotic, oblique drones that at once hint to more tranquil, ambient tones and something slightly darker. Samples of tape hiss, radio interference and vinyl crackle are all funnelled into the mix of sounds that make up the album.

Ahead of its release on Friday, you can stream it in full just above, and keep reading below for a short Q&A with Richter about the record and his work. You can pre-order the album here.

This album emerged amongst a range of commissions, such as art installations and apps. To what extend do the different sound art commissions you take influence the material you produce for your records?

Marc Richter: Most commissions I get are site- or context-specific; working within a certain room or environment for installations or trying to evoke or support particular sentiments in film and theatre - these notions certainly bleed into the making of my albums. The physical space and the human body become more relevant. The relationship to time can become very different depending on the surroundings. Traditional musical parameters are much less crucial within these settings.

You decided to exploit imperfections in your own playing and in the samples you used for this album. Why was that, did you want to create a record that sounded closer to your live shows?

MR: Music to me is always about balancing perfection and chaos, atonality and beauty, complexity and simplicity. This time I was trying to think even less in musical terms (or generally think less), rather considering how to inflame the sound and reach new levels of intensity and urgency through noise, volume, rhythm, repetition - fusing physicalness and spirituality.

Do you think it's important to contextualise your music outside of how it sounds, or should people simply appreciate the sounds and loops you're creating?

MR: I think music tends to get over-contextualised these days. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any themes or ideas or narratives in music but these are often over-emphasised simply to garner attention or get more press. The narrative is quite important for my albums but it can hardly be translated to text or image - the music itself is the narrative.

Usually I’m trying to make sense of what I have recorded after the fact. So in a way I contextualise my music as well. I guess it’s a human need. But I’m not sure it’s a good thing or a necessary thing. I think a certain degree of abstraction is healthy when it comes to lyrics or narratives around music or any kind of art. People shouldn’t be too precise or too concrete - it’s boring.

When contriving song titles and accompanying texts I work with sampling as well so it’s often another person’s context (or fragments of a context) I am superimposing onto my music (or vice versa) to hopefully dream up new meanings and ideas.