Despite venturing into LP-length territory for the first time, Doma sees Rikhter as forceful and focused as ever.
The R Label Group — a boutique music distribution network based in Berlin, Germany which was founded in 2013 — has had a busy last few years, releasing a slew of EPs from unknown DJs that happened to contain some of the most aggressive industrial techno and power noise imaginable. Producer Rikhter was one such act, signing in 2019 and becoming something of a flagship artist for the independent label. Since then, he’s dropped several short releases in quick succession, each project constituting a brief four tracks; usually, one of said tracks would clock in at around five to six minutes in length, so that’s four towering behemoths of songs that provided more thrills than what most artists can cram into an album that runs over an hour. Which up to this moment in time, was more than enough for one listener to endure: a ten-plus track product, where intense banger would follow after intense banger, would surely become exhausting and overstay its welcome in quick fashion — there’s a reason why techno isn’t really an “album” genre in any real respect. Thankfully, with the release of his first album-length venture, Doma, those fears can be laid to rest: Rikhter hasn’t sacrificed his music’s usually forceful energy in order to properly function within this particular sound’s strict formatting rules. This isn’t a prestigious release, not one that has delusions of grandeur with what it’s setting out to accomplish. It keeps things simple in that regard, in that it has one mode of operation: attack mode.
Rikhter also doesn’t overwhelm listeners: he’s crafted a legitimately varied and eclectic project that’s built around the idea of listening from beginning to end, which… duh, all albums are supposed to do that, but most rarely do anymore in an age of streaming service’s playlist dominance. There’s a natural progression to the heft and shape of the tracklisting, where the velocity continues to increasingly ramp up slowly but noticeably with each new song, only to decelerate by the final two. Proper opener “Ufimzew” sets the stage with its walloping bassline and hardcore volume, set at a more relaxed pace than the following tracks but still commanding in its own right, before “Birth of a Star” and “Amaterasu” kick things into a higher BPM range. The anchor for the album — and probably the best moment here — is “Dyylga,” a heavily cyberpunk-indebted outing (it’s loaded with grimy synths and futuristic sound effects) and one similar to the type of material found on Rikhter’s previous EPs in that it suddenly stops and then lunges forward a few noticeable times without ever once losing momentum. But Doma is a different beast entirely from those releases: certainly one with plenty of the same DNA at its core, but a work of artistic maturation in terms of its willingness to switch up a perfectly fine working formula. The music is still massive, larger-than-life even; here, it’s just a tad more refined.
Published as part of Album Roundup — September 2021 | Part 3.