Download of the Week: Ellen Arkbro

Sometimes it takes me some time. You know, to get it. And that's OK.

Stockholm-based composer Ellen Arkbro's For organ and brass, released on Subtext Recordings earlier this month, made me take my time to fall. A student of La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, among others, Arkbro explores our deeper recesses in St. Stephen’s Church in Tangermünde, Germany utilizing its organ, the Sherer-Orgel which dates from 1624, along with horn, trombone, and tuba. I wish I'd read the following quote from the composer sooner rather than later, because it makes this lovely music make more sense in that I can relate to the reference (it's a short cut to getting it):

"Hidden within the harmonic framework of the Renaissance organ are intervals and chords that bare a close resemblance to those found in the modalities of traditional blues music,” explains Arkbro. “The work can be thought of as a very slow and reduced blues music."
Very slow blues music, reduced to its skeletal structure.

You want to listen to this music big (or is that bigly?). This is what your hi-fi was made for, bringing the centuries-old Sherer-Orgel and horns into your home, into your head, where the music digs deep into the "harmonic framework' embedded in our musical DNA.

For organ and brass can be yours to have and hold and hear and is available for purchase from Bandcamp. Listen here:

dexlerpoppe's picture

This is a staggeringly beautiful, mature work. It deserves a place right next to classics like Stars of the Lid's "and their Refinement of Decline".