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Monday, November 1, 2021

Annette Krebs – Konstruktion 1&2 Sah (self released, 2021) ****½

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

Apart from reviewing stuff here and translating, I’m also someone who puts words on paper (or a keyboard many times) in order to express himself. Obviously you are not supposed to know that and I’m only mentioning because listening to those deeply personal three pieces by the Berliner Annette Krebs, I’m strongly reminded of my need to create something. The three pieces here - Konstruktion 1&2 and Sah- have the urgency of a message in a bottle, a personal messaged needing to be heard by whoever is interested. They span three years of Annette’s life, from 2014 up to 2017.

Many times solo works puzzle me and present many difficulties to this reviewer. I find it easier to understand the different contributions of different minds in a recording. But when it comes to CDs like this when the artist utilizes a plethora of instruments and non-instruments, then I get the need to over-analyze what is what in order to do justice to the finite recording. Making it even more difficult for me here is the fact that very early on (listening to Konstruktion 1 which lasts for twenty three minutes) it becomes quite clear that there’s pathos and energy all over this recording.

In 'Konstruktion 1', Krebs uses stringed woods, various objects, voice, several metal pieces to name but a few audio sources. Apart from obvious conclusions like that she is one woman army, in this piece there’s a certain feeling of climax, of electro-acoustic drama that minute by minute evolves into something that you have to listen to in order to unlock its mysteries.

While in 'Konstruktion 2' (now lasting a bit more, almost twenty five minutes), we are faced with a different instrumentation (you certainly realize that this is not the correct choice of words, right?...) and a feeling of an electronic journey through the past decades of experimentation and musique concrete small size dramas. In 'Konstruktion 2'     the music ebbs and flows in many different directions at once. It grasps you demanding your attention. Both pieces are not an easy listen but they reward the listener. The give the sense of absolute freedom coming from improvising in so many different ways.

On the other hand, 'Sah', takes its original material from totally different audio sources. Sampled interviews, carbon pencil and paper foil, various objects and microphones, a MIDI and a computer. To name a few again. Here, Krebs utilizes those sources in order to create an atmosphere. If I hadn’t read that this piece was completed in 2017 I would have guessed that it was made during the dystopia of 2020. It gives you a certain feeling of claustrophobia, of better times passed –gone but not forgotten- and of a constant threat that lies behind, while listening again. Something that is not audible enough on the first listen. Like the worlds of Beckett where many times on a first level something trivial or vulgar is happening and you have to –the text urges you- to dig deeper because the real situation, the Truth, lies there.

This was my actual feeling after listening long enough to those three miniature electro-acoustic dramas. It is impressive sound making that involves a lot of improvisation or, at least, the unknown of the impromptu. And, as I mentioned before, this is a soundwork that allows you to breath the air of total freedom both in creating something, but also in getting the feel of it.

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