Hyp 290: Ellen Arkbro

Hyp 290: Ellen Arkbro

The Subtext Recordings composer wanders through khaen, organ and shakuhachi on this serene Hyp mix.

Stockholm-based composer and sound artist Ellen Arkbro will release a new LP, for organ and brasson James Ginzburg’s crucial Berlin-via-Bristol label this month. Arkbro, who’s currently studying for her Master’s degree in music composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, has previously composed for early music ensembles, wrote a series of durational pieces using synthetic tones and processed guitars, and presented a work lasting 26 days at the Stockholm Concert Hall.

for organ and brass‘s title composition was written for an organ with a specific kind of historical tuning known as ‘meantone temperament’, but Arkbro didn’t begin recording the two pieces until after she’d found a suitable instrument – the nearly 400-year-old Sherer-Orgel pipe organ located in St. Stephen’s Church in Germany. According to Arkbro, the organ produces intervals and chords that “bear a close resemblance to those found in the modalities of traditional blues music… The work can be thought of as a very slow and reduced blues music.”

On this week’s Hyp mix, Arkbro delivers under an hour of pristine sounds primed for reflection, incorporating works from Marc Sabat, Satoshi Ashikawa, and Arthur Russell’s 1983 minimalist classical statement, ‘Tower of Meaning’.

Arkbro had this to say about the mix:

“In this mix I present some slow works of acoustic music that have and continue to inspire me and influence my work profoundly. With a focus on timbre and harmony, this music wanders through khaen, organ, shō, hichiriki, shakuhachi, strings, microtonal tuba, saron and slenthem. This music appears to be stretched in time, and in space. There is a sadness to these sounds, and yet such clarity. Nostalgic music which takes place in the present, somehow reflecting the beauty of every moment passing us by, forever.”

for organ and brass is out April 14 via Subtext Recordings. Pre-order it here.


Mayumi Miyata [Sho Cosmos, CBS/Sony Japan, 1986] Nouthong Phimvilayphone – Lotfai Talang [Unpublished] Marc Sabat – Intonation after Morton Feldman #1 [Les Duresses, Care of Editions, 2014] Marta Forsberg – Disquiet heart [Unpublished] Tokyo Gakuso – Nasori Tokyoku Ha [Gagaku – Court Music of Japan, JVC, 1994] Arthur Russell – Tower of meaning [Audika 1983/2016] Kristofer Svensson – Ir Hirminn, Grœnn [Unpublished] Satoshi Ashikawa – Still Sky [Still Way (Wave Notation 2), Sound Process, 1982] Microtub – Square Dance [Star System, SOFA, 2014] Ellen Arkbro – for Organ and Brass [Subtext Recordings, 2017]

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