Swedish artist Ellen Arkbro creates fixed-stare drone music based around ‘just intonation’, a tuning system adopted in Western music by minimalists such as Terry Riley, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Her new album, CHORDS, doubles down on simple, long-form pieces that explore the blurring effect time has on sound. It’s called CHORDS, in all caps, for a reason – it’s 40 minutes of them. On both of the record’s tracks, though, Arkbro is really playing time, strumming her relative silences like an instrument of intricacies.
At hcmf// 2019, Arkbro has crafted a unique new performance in partnership with electronic musician and long-term collaborator Marcus Pal. Composing music together, their work has provided Arkbro with novel ways to interact with her instrument: juxtaposed with synthetic sound, her music for organ takes on new dimensions.