Black To Comm

Fractal Hair Geometry

Black to Comm’s debut Rückwarts Backwards was a surprising and exquisitely bizarre highlight of 2006, a crazy melange of crazy sounds multi-layered in to a playfully odd and highly original, skewed droney vision. BtC’s wayward audio perceptions are ostensibly the solo work of Dekorder label boss Marc Richter and here, encased in this hyper-neon collage adorned thick cardboard case is the second (well second and a half counting a vinyl only release last year) transmission from the Black Forest.

Given that the lot of the music journalist is to absorb a quite preposterous amount of sound, even for those of us with more peculiar leanings it’s actually very rare to hear something that is genuinely strange. Fractal Hair Geometry could be subtitled Abandon Reality All Ye Who Enter Here – it moves the sound in paradoxical directions, at one moment entirely out-there, the next exuding a certain maturity.

One of the primary factors for the originality of the project is the sound sources themselves. Casio and Farfisa organs, electronics and voice are Richter’s playthings and various associates back him up with violin, piano and trumpet. On paper this might seem like no big deal, but once it rolls you are plunged to a world where every sound has been through several mirrored labyrinths. These are drone pieces – intersecting plateaus of gaudy and baroque dada noise but now with a slightly less jagged flow- BtC running on a smoother surface.

So, ‘Orange Record’ seems to consist of layer upon layer of hysterical voices sped up into lunatic emission while a Farfisa organ speeds along at a ludicrous pace. ‘Play Eggchess 3’ builds upon a gothic organ, some kind of hellish gospel providing the foundation for burbling squeaky electronics, short blasts of static. ‘Leigh Bowery’ (whose gaudy grotesquery is a perfect parallel to the Black to Comm sound) even chucks in a 4/4 beat but this seems to be queasily emanating from the earth’s core. Instead of a siren from the dancefloor it throws the listener into delightful abject confusion. ‘666909’ sounds like the transmission that Philip K Dick leaves Horselover Fat waiting for in front of his TV at the end of Valis.

Everything that ends up in the mix sounds insane, throws you off course, twists perception into unrecognisable shapes and leaves you feeling just a little crazy. So then: strange geometries culminating in bouts of insanity? Black to Comm is the H.P. Lovecraft of dronedelia.

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