The mission statement for ‘Alphabet 1968’ was to write an album of ‘songs’ for want of a better word. Short tracks which represented genre points, the milestones which stuck in Richter’s mind when he thought back to his favourite records. What we arrive at is an breathtaking ten track album which, over the course of forty-five minutes, explores world music, techno, noise, avant-garde, ambient music and even exotica. Each track is linked with a loose thread of radio static or environmental sound, dragging you through the album as if tuning in to a stray broadcast or a particularly adventurous mix.
Richter has pieced the album together from hours of recordings made at his studio with home made gamelan, small instruments and loops gathered from a collection of ancient vinyl and 78 records. The scope of the album is admirable but ignoring this it is simply a shockingly arresting collection of experimental oddities, with references ranging from Moondog to Basic Channel by way of the Bernard Herrmann. It’s not hard to fall in love with ‘Alphabet 1968’, far harder would be to place exactly where the record should fit into your collection.