Black To Comm’s self-titled album is a transcendent trip that starts off innocently enough. It’s a Disney opening, with fluttery tones and lucid vibes. You can, at first, imagine Bambi skipping lightly through a pine scented wood as the music plays. Like fairy dust, some gentle notes sprinkle the air. The opener ‘Human Gidrah’ is a translucent doorway that leads to the magic kingdom.
Sounding like some kind of meditative, self-help cassette recording that specializes partly in philosophy and partly in bullshit, its opening one-way chatter drones over a sprinkled, melodic rainbow. As we saw earlier this year with “Providence”, Black To Comm isn’t afraid of anything. He frequently tears down — rips apart — the invisible barricade that separates one genre from the next, and he poses wider questions to his audience: just what exactly should a genre sound like? Why do we need them in the first place? And, why do we feel the need to tag and label music? His music can’t be labelled because it’s indefinable; there’s no real stylistic base at its foundation. He destroys the conventional, the ordinary, and instead crafts music that resonates with a glistening, shining brilliance. His music shines like the sun as it lights upon a gemstone, and the gleaming, sparkling drones fizzle like sweetly flavoured candy. Pulsing, red-blooded synths slither underneath, but they never pose a threat. This is a calm, hydrated place, where bright electronics shimmer and refreshing drones band together, undulating in a constant, repetitive cycle. This is thirst-quenching music.
From electronic drones to Indian-infused ragas, the music shifts and blurs like a thin, inhaled wisp of smoke. There’s no doubt that the raga gave birth to Western drone music. Our ears have acclimatized, but the original drones still sound exotic and fresh. Black To Comm changes things up, but it remains a smooth ride. He reels us back into a twisting, morphing drone that buzzes with the threat of an impending electrical storm. It stares into a black void. ‘Hands’ has a slithery, synth-laced bass-line that at first opens out its arms, but then later spreads itself out into the black cosmos and the depths of the Milky Way. Signals beam back into the music from a deep space satellite, millions of miles away. At the same time — and much closer to home — Black To Comm’s music zones in on the inner mind and the inner soul, with spiritual, meditative drones that levitate just above the soil. ‘Is Nowhere’ finds itself slap-bang in the middle of the record, and it’s an incredible track that sprawls out into the deep unknown. Its golden warmth and its smooth, gliding texture degrades over time, with some electronic dirt and dust sticking to the music like glue, giving the electronics a seizure with their abrasive noise.
As the music progresses, things take a turn toward the dark side. ‘1975’ is an intoxicating — but darker — journey through a black rainforest. It climbs up and up until it reaches the peak of its ascent. Smoky chants take the music into unexplored territory, gripping the music and leaving us in an enchanted daze. The light percussion sizzles and shakes like a rhythmic rattlesnake. In a way, music is a kind of witchcraft. One thing’s certain: Black To Comm keeps us all under his spell.
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