"thrums, throbs, and glides with surging and ebbing density" (Margasak)
"cloudy, mysterious, and dark ... Beckettian in its slow spread" (Olewnick)
"dense lines forming, surging off into the hazy dark ... the faintest of glimmers" (Olewnick)
"monumental ... awesome transcendence and doom ... a crushing climax" (Smith)
"a multifaceted texture that evokes the primeval" (Wilhoite)"
"music for mental medication ... shiver me timbres" (Bergstein)
"bouncing like fireflies" "like the crackling of a fire" (Gottschalk)
"*immersive*" (Smith) "brilliant" (Tcakz) "hypnotic and absorbing" (Strickland)
"novel and compelling" "haunting soundscapes" "almost subliminal" "alien-sounding"
"slowly undulating, overlapping walls of sound" (Avant Music News)
"like something incomprehensibly massive is passing by, slowly" (Grella)
"likely to offer a profound impact on the very nature of listening" (Smoliar)
Panthalassa: Dream Music of the Once and Future Ocean (2017)
"Likely to offer a profound impact on the very nature of listening."
"Listeners familiar with John Luther Adams's Become Ocean are likely to recognize quickly the extent to which Panthalassa is a kindred spirit. Nevertheless, it is very much its own composition. If anything, it is somewhat more impressive through Richter's ability to establish a 'rhetoric of flow' with only a single instrument ... subtle refinements in sonorous qualities were clearly evident throughout the performance experience."
— Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio (USA), July 2017
"Haunting soundscapes ... slowly undulating, overlapping walls of sound."
"Almost subliminal threads of sharp, high-frequency textures, building in amplitude into an alien-sounding amalgam."
"Novel and compelling ... an absorbing album ... not your grandparents' accordion music."
— Avant Music News (USA), May 2017
"Richter attempts to convey the metaphorical, spiritual, and literal largesse of Panthalassa, the once great, world-encompassing ocean, through a economy of instrumental means that is successful on many levels. It is a big undertaking, and Richter’s densely harmonic drones ... blend in dense, undulating waves of sound ... [Panthalassa] not only has an enveloping effect on the listener but ... essentially reshape the active environment one engages it in. Richter’s overlapping waveforms shout out to both Phill Niblock’s similarly augured soundscapes, as well as Pauline Oliveros’s dictum of deep listening, for only through repeated exposures can one truly get a handle on the immense magnitude of the frequencies melting your very walls ... persistent ear-worms nestling deep into your cochlea ... areas of sonic dynamism that work their trembling magic in ever-more pernicious ways. Music for mental medication, perchance to dream? It’s all way too involving to be mere wallpaper or affect—more like shiver me timbres."
— Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery (USA), January 2022
Wind People (2016, released 2018 on Ghost Ensemble's We Who Walk Again)
"A cloudy, mysterious and dark opening, low rumbles and moans with the odd sharp glint through the shadows. It throbs, pulsates, moves inch by inch, Beckettian in its slow spread. Some wonderful tonalities are generated in the shifting lines of varying lengths, the interplay of those deep tones with the soft plucking of the harp and an occasional hesitant but steady, dull beat of a drum. Matters begin to coalesce toward the end, dense lines forming, surging off into the hazy dark, perhaps offering just a bit more direction than was apparent at the start; not a light at the end of a tunnel, but maybe the faintest of glimmers. A very strong piece, my favorite on this recording."
— Brian Olewnick, Just Outside, May 2018
"A massive drone of lapidary detail that thrums, throbs, and glides with surging and ebbing density."
— Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily, July 2018
"The piece emerges out of a hushed stasis, the contrabass lines repeating two notes in unpredictable rhythmic patterns amid an almost drone-like sustaining texture. Subtle, deep moaning gestures appear after about 4 minutes, effecting an eventual transformation of the drone-like texture into something more unsettled. The descending gestures persist, seemingly pulling ever-deeper even as the volume subtly increases. Winds and accordion pierce through this around minute 8, but the pull into the deep continues. Three minutes later the piercing sounds return, raising the volume considerably. Deeper and more resonant the piece continues, in a multifaceted texture that evokes the primeval. As the end approaches, the entire ensemble focuses in on one note, swelling loud and soft, before diminishing by nano-decibels over several minutes into silence."
— Meg Wilhoite, meg's new music blog, July 2018
"A side-length, monumental work by accordionist and ensemble founder Ben Richter, who evokes a sense of awesome transcendence and doom as the 10-piece ensemble builds to a crushing climax."
— Andrew Smith, Indexical, April 2018
"Wind People … affords the group the opportunity to stretch out and engage in the shaping of a larger arc. Long glissandos played by bassist James Ilgenfritz provide a particularly resonant touchstone, and similar sliding tones from violist Hannah Levinson and cellist Maria Hadge underscore its structural character. Meanwhile, the winds explore all manner of overtones, sometimes punctuating the proceedings with held pitches appearing in contrast to the yawning slides, at others engaging in pitch bends of their own. Percussionist Chris Nappi provides under-girding drums, subtle yet insistent … Over time, sustain becomes a powerful force traversing all instruments and registers, and sumptuous overtone chords saturate the work. A coda provides a long diminuendo in which overtones fade into thrumming drums, drones, and string glissandos. Wind People is a well-crafted and eloquent work."
— Christian Carey, Sequenza21, June 2018
"Quiet and subtle sound … static and dark tones … melodic and rhythmic intonations are organically and effectively fused together in one place … synthesis between minimalism, post-minimalism, experimental music, academic avant-garde and free improvisation … effective, extraordinary and meditative sound."
— Avant Scena, June 2018
Herxheimer Doinas (2016)
"Packed with layers of meaning … an emotional monologue of a singular instrument, like the story of a man who has lost his memory."
— VK (Russia), August 2016
"Richter's Rivulose ... set a motif and moved it gracefully across the piano and flutes, before dropping an unexpected (and fairly remarkable) piano sonata smack dab in the middle of the slow undulations. The piece concluded with bows bouncing on strings like fireflies."
— Kurt Gottschalk, Classicalite (USA), 31 January 2016
Water's Edge (2015)
"hypnotic and absorbing"
— Michael Strickland, San Francisco Civic Center (USA), 5 March 2015
A fun interview with Wild Rumpus singer Vanessa Langer for the Wild Rumpus's premiere performance of their commissioned work Water's Edge, February 2015
Star Maker (2014)
"Richter's Star Maker ... uses sound to seek an altered consciousness, from a meditative awareness to a look, perhaps, into a different dimension … waxing and waning in density and volume ... the music sounds like something incomprehensibly massive is passing by, slowly."
— George Grella, The New York Classical Review (USA), 18 May 2014
Farther Reaches (2013)
"Brilliant composition ... the feeling of light detachment and transcendence in me persisted throughout the listening."
— Piotr Tkacz, A2 Magazine (Czech Republic), 25 September 2013
"Overall, Ben Richter succeeded in presenting the most impressively effective use of the orchestral sound spectrum ... the Ostravska Banda's world premiere of his composition, Farther Reaches, was altogether the most attractive and most intense experience."
— Jan Podracky and Aneta Bendova, OperaPlus (Czech Republic), 1 September 2013
"Ben Richter's Farther Reaches was perhaps the most "listenable" ... sounding something like the crackling of a fire until gong rolls and muted piano strings broke the stasis."
— Kurt Gottschalk, NewMusicBox (USA), 14 October 2013
Was draußen ist (2011)
"Ben Richter's piece Was draußen ist opened new expressive possibilities ... exploring the full tonal range of the instruments, from the lowest hum to the highest twirping sounds, nearly slipping into noise."
— Volksfreund (Germany), 28 August 2011