For more than 20 years, Black To Comm’s hallucinogenic art has toyed with the notion of “reality” and perception – from his beguiling, mystical albums to immersive art installations and pioneering AI experiments. Following the release of his latest album At Zeenath Parallel Heavens, the celebrated German producer and sound artist shares a new extension to his art, with the surrealist video for “Schleim des Nichtwissens.”
The video extends Marc Richter aka Black To Comm’s uncanny music into three-dimensions, crafting strange living sculptures comprised of brightly-colored costumed figures and bizarre creatures, soundtracked by vaporous, transcendent sonics. Inspired by Angela Carter books and the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, it is simultaneously breathtakingly beautiful and grotesque, real and uncanny. Richter elaborates: “The translated title of the track is something like “Slime of Notknowing”. The film is about snails, snakes, mushrooms. Much like the album [At Zeenath Parallel Heavens], the theme is hybridity – human snails, men in strange garments, human mushrooms, mushrooms with human skin…..protagonists performing useless, pointless, sisyphean tasks…”
While the video looks like it was filmed with actors in a studio, it was in fact entirely created digitally using cutting-edge AI software – a startling and new use of the technology that mirrors Richter’s approach to composition. He explains: “I had the realization recently that the way I compose is not too dissimilar to what AI software is doing nowadays – especially when the AI is hallucinating (this is the term used when the AI is overloaded/overcharged/inundated and comes up with made-up results).” The video was created in a similar manner – often overloading the AI software with information until it would “hallucinate” truly strange, unique results. Richter elaborates: “I know people have some reservations about AI but it’s absolutely possible to do original artworks with it if you go deep (and yes, it has its dangers as well, or could just lazily copy other people’s art) – it took months to produce this video.”
Alongside the video, Richter has also announced the Schleim des Nichtwissens art book, featuring hypnagogic new track “Ere The Slimy Snail Devours Me.” The art book expands on At Zeenath Parallel Heavens’ themes of alternative realities and science fiction, with similar dream-state sculptures and artworks to the video. The new single finds Richter once again toying with concepts of authorship and identity, rearranging sonics from the previous album into a totally new 13-minute long aural trip, highlighting the transient nature of music in the digital age.
Together with At Zeenath Parallel Heavens, the art book, track and video demonstrate the sheer breath and scope of Richter’s potent artistry.