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Alphabet 1968

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Album Review

Given the MC5-referencing band name one would be forgiven for expecting brash soul/rock with a revolutionary aesthetic — no less so than the album title, suggestive as it is of the year of the French student uprising and other protest movements around the globe. Yet the softly rising rumble of feedback and static leading into murky piano that starts Alphabet 1968 with "Jonathan" suggests calmer if no less moody waters, fitting for an artist, real name Marc Richter, who has previously appeared with more straightforward drone efforts on friendly labels like Digitalis and runs his own imprint, Dekorder. More than many acts exploring the intersection of minimal electronics, collaged samples and serene feedback zone, Black to Comm here shows a slightly unexpected source point of sound — while many acts have recreated the work of Robert Hampson in Loop, few as yet have done so with his aggressive, relentless yet nearly always drumless rhythms in Main. Yet Black to Comm's ear for that approach — sometimes openly as with the pulse underpinning "Forst," sometimes in terms of suggestion as overlapping patterns of noise assemble and reassemble over the course of a song as on "Rauschen" and the ghostly organ rise and fall of "Traum GmBH" — gives Alphabet 1968 a stronger kick than many of its fellow travelers. Similarly the earliest work of Third Eye Foundation also finds an echo here, where even buried beats provide an essential driving point just as it did for Matt Elliott's work. Even so, it's not quite enough to give Richter a sense of his own unique style — the album is at base an artful, accomplished collage of numerous reference points that any number of similarly minded artists also explore. But it does promise more for the future as Richter expands his sound to more inclusive, exploratory areas of interest.

Alphabet 1968, Black to Comm
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