CNVR14 | 30.07.2007
format: CDR | packaging: discbox slider
duration: 62 minutes, 9 tracks
limited to 60 numbered copies
The voiceless heart of alchemy is a deepening into metaphor. The resplendent and complex array of colours, animals, and techniques that initiate transformational processes. A quickening of the leaden world of quotidian experience, unearthing a 'participation mystique' and
deconcretizing the symbolic face of the world.
'Alchymy' is an ear placed on the imaginal heart, a dialogue of field recordings, musical fragments, noise and silence: focused yet expansive, complex, subtle and shimmering. A work of archetypal listening.
"Even sleepers are workers and collaborators on what goes on in the universe." -- Heraclitus
liner notes by Kevin M. Krebs
A broad definition of the word “alchemy” reads that it’s the process of changing something common into something precious. For over a decade now, Kevin M. Krebs has been doing just that in the realm of electronic music - transforming ordinary sounds into beautiful, multilayered, affecting electro-acoustic music. His latest CD-R release on the Conv netlabel titled Alchymy [cnvr14] is further testament to his artistry.
Quite accurately described in the liner notes as “focused yet expansive, complex, subtle and shimmering“, Alchymy has been three years in the making. It’s the culmination of an extended, intricate, and recursive composition process - finding/creating sounds, editing, transforming, assembling, and reworking.
The conventional ingredients of modern electro-acoustic compositions are present - field recordings, found sounds, pure electronic noise, musical fragments. The originality and artistic skill here is in the way all of these parts are put together and how they coalesce into something that brings to mind thoughts/images of something distant, ancient, and even mystical. As he’s demonstrated in other electro-acoustic works, much of the originality here shows itself in Krebs’s talent for juxtaposing organic sounds against abstract electronic noise.
The tracks are loaded with translucent drones, bells, natural field recordings (rainfall, night sounds, honking geese), sketchy disjointed noises, along with several brief segments of well-placed harmonious tones. The mood varies from the baleful drones and resonating chants of “a black raven in the afternoon light” and “winter has the sharpest teeth” to the beautiful, delicate iridescent carillon-based drones of “as red as rubies”. A keeper for me is “the spirit of copper” whose first half contains an absorbing interplay between minimal chiming tones and almost imperceptible, short-lived, cyclic wisps of effervescent noise before evolving into a more stable, relaxing drone.
Alchymy contains ten tracks and unlike many drone-based releases where it’s difficult to distinguish one track from another, these compositions deliver a stimulating array sounds, textures, and moods. Limited to an edition of 60, Alchymy is must have for anyone who appreciates modern electro-acoustic music.
[ Larry Johnson ]
Since the arrival of this release by K.M. Krebs I have been playing this already a couple of times, but I find it very hard to get into this release. As perhaps known, Krebs is one of the microsound artists. Working with field recordings and computer processing, to create his music. Nine pieces are to be found on 'Alchymy', of water sounds, drones, and other more obscured sound sources, but none of the material really grabbed me. Is it my tiredness of the genre that gave me a hard time here. Objectively speaking this is nicely produced, minimal, but with enough variation in approach, but somewhere lacked the tension for me. Too much of the same, I think.
[ Frans de Waard ]
CON-V EDITION | 2015