– the conversion of one element into another – is the overarching principle for this release in which four contemporary artists convert iconic historical texts into sound; from breath and bells, field recordings and strings, to the repeating cycles of pure sine waves. The texts themselves deals with themes ranging from the elevation, or divination of the human soul to the conversion of electrical currents into cryptocurrency. Together they loosely trace their common denominator – Alchemy – throughout a Western history of ideas.
; Swedish composer Lisa Holmqvist interprets the writings of Hermes Trismegistus through “Ecco”1, a sparsely ornate vocal piece. The thrice-greatest Hermes – ancient mythical figure and alleged author of “The Emerald Tablet” and the “Corpus Hermeticum” – calls for a transmutation of the vulgar (as in common) into the divine, or an elevation of the soul. In Holmqvist’s composition the solitary call of a breathy voice evokes a celestial response; an echo harmonising its own source of origin.
; In response to “Spiritual Philosopher’s Stone” by August Nordenskiöld, Martin Herterich (Sand Circles, Continuity) creates a pulsating torrent of fragmented sounds. While advocating a spiritual as well as social reformation, Nordenskiöld – court alchemist of Swedish monarch Gustav III – proclaims the fabled Philosopher’s Stone to be the sole remedy for the degenerated moral state of Mankind. Throughout “Regeneration”2, Herterich’s heavily processed tape loops gain shape and beauty with each iteration as they slowly rise above the massive clamour of field recordings from the Pachinko game parlours of Tokyo.
; Erik Enocksson reimagines the alchemical work, as described by Carl Gustav Jung in “Psychology and Alchemy”, as “Wave and Will”3; a single repeating motif slowly yet relentlessly working its way through the elements – from distorted undercurrents to unperturbed surface. According to Jung, the alchemical process is one of externalisation – a projection of the interior depths of the human mind onto the physical world – resulting in an uncovering of, as well as an encounter with the investigating subject’s own psyche.
; Through “Interlocked Cycles for Sine Waves”4, Maria W Horn (XKatedral, STHLM Drone Society) initiates a dialogue with the modern mythical figure of Satoshi Nakamoto. In “Bitcoin open source implementation of P2P currency”, published in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, Nakamoto urges us to replace the trust-based model in corporate and state finance with cryptographic chains of transactions through a decentralised virtual currency. Analogous to an accelerating freeze frame of the innumerable algorithmic trades taking place every second on the global stock exchange; the glacial mounting of both tempo and tension in Horn’s composition slowly reveal the complex tapestry which its seemingly simple and repetitive patterns weave.
5 will be available on the 13th of December, 2019.
1) “Ecco” composed, performed and recorded by Lisa Holmqvist. Reading by Kali Malone, sound collage by Hans Richter.
2) “Regeneration” composed, performed and recorded by Martin Herterich. Reading by Gavin Maycroft, sound collage by Hans Richter.
3) “Wave and Will” composed, performed and recorded by Erik Enocksson. Violin by Theodor Kentros, reading by Jordana Loeb and sound collage by Hans Richter.
4) “Interlocked Cycles for Sine Waves” composed, performed and recorded by Maria W Horn. Reading by Karen, sound collage by Hans Richter.
5) Transm. Ed. concept and conception by Irrlicht. Woodcuts and print by Håkan Jonson.