Ellen Arkbro

Sounds While Waiting

W.25th • 2023

In the words of John Cale, the fundamental insight upon which La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela founded the Theatre of Eternal Music was that the electronic mains frequency is the basic tone of our lives. Ellen Arkbro, Swedish sound artist, composer and singer, studied with both of them. »Sounds While Waiting« is her third solo album. 

Ellen Arkbro has been experimenting with organs in a minimalist way since her first album »For Organ and Brass« (2017). This music is evergreen not only because it rediscovers very old instruments and frees them from their sacred baggage, but also because the organ produces sounds that are never ending for as long as there is air in our atmosphere. Especially on her new album, Ellen Arkbro favours drones that outshine anything she has ever produced in terms of sonic power and musical economy. 

Those who immerse themselves in Arkbro’s drones find that the music and their brain enter into an intimate dance where it’s unclear whether the brain is listening to the eternal sounds or the sounds are listening to their thoughts. Who accompanies whom? Moreover, the boundaries of what you think of as music are gradually dissolved: drones are everywhere, electric circuits hum, radiators buzz, street sounds roar. The world is sound.