Radio station: Sveriges Radio
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Links: Ellen Arkbro
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Selected collections is a work composed by Swedish sound artist and composer Ellen Arkbro. It was commissioned by the Swedish Radio and will be premiered at Art’s Birthday 2020. The work is composed in a style which focuses on the textural and space-dependent sonic features of precision-tuned harmonic sound, a style which draws on the pioneering sound work of Maryanne Amacher and La MonteYoung. “Synthetic tones — or to be more precise: monophonic phase-locked sawtooth waves in just intonation — make out the raw material out of which larger harmonic structures have been formed: intervals, chords, modulations. This music is best experienced when played back in speakers in an acoustic room. The sounds will interact with the sonic architecture of the room, and change, in various ways, according to the movement of the listener; even the most subtle shifts of the head may change what is heard. In this sense, the sound is meant to be experienced as part of a larger sounding environment –and not in a closed of manner, such as in headphones. Part of what interests me with this kind of listening is how embodied attention will determine what is heard, and how what is heard will change how attention guides the movements of the body and of the listening mind. This means that different listeners will hear different things,at times radically different. This may sound like an obvious statement, yet it is often ignored when we think about and listen to sound. This piece is alsoabout musical harmony; how one becomes the other, sometimes instantantly, at other times gradually.”
Ellen Arkbro is a composer and sound artist working with precision-tuned harmony. Her work includes long duration compositions for traditional acoustic instruments and algorithmic sound synthesis as well as installation pieces. Arkbro’s music is heavily informed by her studies in intonation with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela in New York, and with Marc Sabat in Berlin. She studied composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and at Universität Der Künste in Berlin. In 2017, she released the album for organ and brass with works for renaissance organ and brass trio. Her second album CHORDS was released in 2019 and focuses on slowly unfolding chordal modulations and on the sonic texturality characteristic of precision-tuned harmony. Arkbro has presented her site-specific sound work internationally; in Milan, Paris, New York, Berlin, San Fransisco, London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Copenhagen, Budapest, The Hague and Leuven. In all of her work, Arkbro focuses on the qualities of harmonic sound that reveal listening to be an active process rather than one of passive observation, inviting the listener to gradually transform into the sound itself.