Black To Comm - Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens (CD Thrill Jockey)


Marc Richter has been busy lately and Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens is the third album in two years from his Black To Comm project. It’s a short album of only 5 tracks and just over 30 minutes in length. The tracks were originally written to accompany various art installations and alongside that there seems to be an emphasis towards the use of human voice.

The first piece has its roots as far back as 2013 when artist Seb Patane recorded Gustav Metzger reading a short section of The Political Theatre (1929) by avant-garde German theatre director Erwin Piscator for use for a video piece and an audio piece. The longer audio montage being then given to Richter to rework. The piece itself starts out with a montage of spoken word swirling around as it mixes in with crashing cymbals. The cymbals and mixed-up voices give way to a lone female voice reciting a poem about battle describing the situation and detailing the scenes for the upcoming battle. All this under pinned with gentle yet mournful sounds. We move into a more abstract musical phase that eventually resolves itself into a gentle lilting melody, (maybe the battle is over) with some spoken word in German. This first piece of the album is the most involved and moves through so many different phases that it’s hard to justify its complexity in a few paragraphs.

Half the albums gone now and the remaining 4 pieces are far shorter and less involved. The second piece Stolen Androgens is a series of looped vocal sounds of both a male and a female over a piano refrain. Very simple in construction and with a very Sigur Ros feel to it. My favourite of all the pieces and the one I’ve come back to the most.

Tracks three and four “Oocyte Oil” and “Gepackte Zeit (für Hanne Darboven)” both employ drone as their main theme. And whilst drone itself can get rather dull in the wrong hands it works exceptionally well on Gepackte Zeit. Oocyte Oil has more under pinning it and reminds me of Coil around the time of Stolen and Contaminated.

The final piece takes us back to the first track on this album with the battle plan poem reappearing but this time accompanied by a piano that seems to echo the voice. Eventually this is superseded by some synth pads and brass. A very short little recap but a good way to round out the album.

A successful release from Black to Comm it has plenty of variety and stylistic change to keep your attention. Shame it wasn’t a bit longer. DB