Black To Comm


Cellule 75 • 2012

Marc Richter’s music has something inherently uncanny about it. His project Black To Comm in particular was—not without reason—often mentioned in the late noughties and early 2010s in the context of so-called hauntology: music that conjured up the ghosts of the past through the use of and reference to the media of times past. »Earth« is eerie in another way, though. Originally released in 2012, it was composed a few years before that. Singaporean filmmaker Ho Tzu Nyen contacted Richter after hearing his album »Alphabet 1968,« reissued by Richter through his own label Cellule 75 along with »Earth« He asked Richter to score his silent film »Earth« at screenings. The film, which repeatedly recurs to iconic images, proceeds in a non-linear collage mode and can be understood as a meditation on decay and downfall, had thus found its most suitable composer—after all, that’s pretty much what Richter does with sound! He got to work, confined to bed after an accident and full of painkillers, using record players, samplers and a few other electronic and acoustic instruments. David Aird, himself a highly productive artist under the pseudonym Vindicatrix, also joined. His voice adds a wholly new theatrical dimension to Richter’s pieces. Whether it’s shimmering drones, spartan guitar melodies or crackling, pitched-down recordings of orchestral pieces, sometimes all of the above at once, or the epic, march-like drums that drive the last track forward: Aird writhes over it like a Scott Walker on the brink of insanity and in conflict with his vocal prowess. The vocals seem guttural, but at the same time as if they are formed in the front of the mouth; they are extremely physical and yet intangible. Some words sound familiar, but mostly Aird doesn’t seem to use any particular language. In short, everything about this performance is ghostly: the singer seems simultaneously present and absent. Richter’s music could not have been complemented better, and accordingly it has never been more uncanny. All of which makes »Earth« one of his most outstanding works to date.