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BLACK TO COMM - Rckwrts Backwards

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Dekorder 014
Release Year: 2005
Note: digipack; debut-album
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00


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Black To Comm is an alias for Dekorder label owner Marc Richter's audio excursions. "Rckwrts Backwards" is his debut full-length album recorded between 2003 and 2005 in his adopted hometown Hamburg and his childhood home in the Black Forest located in the south of Germany. With a background in many musical styles (from Psychedelia to pure Computer Music) BTC's music is never easy to pin down.
This album is essentially created from scratchy shellac and vinyl loops merged with ambience field recordings (with some voice manipulations and kitchen gamelan thrown in for good measure). The warm hiss of analogue recording techniques combined with the apparently antique sounds of vintage organs, acoustic & electric guitars, pianos, glockenspiel and mbira used on these tracks generate a kind of hyperreal, fake nostalgia playing with one's perception of a pseudo-recollection. The layering and hypnotic repetition of short loops extracted from old Psychedelia, Free Jazz, Vaudeville and Traditional records reveal a haunting melodic quality sometimes not distinguishable within the original source material, evoking a hovering feeling of bittersweet melancholy with an omnipresent, slightly disturbing atmosphere hidden beneath the surface.The 8 songs constantly sway back and forth between simple, almost naive arrangements and dense surreal drones with rare, yet intense distorted climaxes making this album one constantly absorbing listening experience. [label info]
First of all this CD is beautifully packaged with a tri-fold disc holder. Each picture bears its own character (blurry forest with handscrawled text, a sleeping cat, and what appears to be an old wallpaper pattern) But on to the music. Black to Comm (aka Marc Richter who also runs Dekorder) knows how to keep it short and sweet with 8 songs clocking in at under 37 minutes. Ruckwarts Backwards opens with the aptly titled 'Bees' some gentle buzzing of said insect is later accompanied by some child-like hums, this gives way to the second song 'Levitation' which is a gentle soundscape of rising and falling organ tones backed by a field recording. 'Lucifer Lacca' ushers in an operatic vocal loop that reaches crescendo and ends with another bit of children's singing. The feel is still subdued and continues throughout the record, I'm reminded at times of Tape, not so much in sound but in how I feel while listening to them. The title track is a series of interlocking vibraphone melodies that
are augmented by computer processing. The computer treatments are more of an enhancement rather than something that would radically alter the source sounds. Track 5 is my personal favorite with a minimalist and slightly buzzing drone that cross-fades with a quieter drone. The remainder of the album hits just the right drone spot! Minimal loops with a somber feel, that guides you right to the end. The credits list microphones, voice, and kitchen gamelan, and Marc is good at assembling seemingly unrelated segments into gently blurred landscapes that roll by with an ease and comfort. In a few words..... simple, and elegant. Ruckwarts Backwards follows a self titled 10" also on Dekorder. Very curious to hear to more from this project [CJ / Vital Weekly]