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Sounds While Waiting documents the latest organ works by composer and musician Ellen Arkbro – following her phenomenal debut, 2017's For Organ And Brass, and the more recent CHORDS for organ. Recorded at a centuries-old church in Unnaryd, Sweden in June 2020, these pieces reveal the enchanting qualities of sustained harmonic sound, how patterns of listening dissolve and emerge as textured space. On opening track "Changes," long radiant tones ebb and flow like divine breaths, while "Leaving Dreaming" builds with dynamic tension to unlock a subtle, otherworldly ambience.
As the composer states in the sleeve notes, "These recordings are traces of something I have come to love to do in large resonant spaces, which is to set up sustained chords on multiple organs and then move slowly through the sound. The instruments are usually far apart, which makes for the emergence of large fields of continuous change, spaces of harmonicity that can be passed through layer by layer and which contain within them points of both clarity and overwhelming complexity. The organ pipes are tuned and retuned, though sometimes I leave them just as they are. What I'm searching for is the moment when a particular kind of sounding texturality is revealed – it is rough, focused and yet strangely transparent."
Arkbro composes for acoustic instruments, for synthetic sound and for combinations of both, including music for orchestra and smaller chamber ensembles and large scale installation works. She currently performs in Catherine Christer Hennix's Kamigaku ensemble and has previously studied with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela in New York. Recommended for fans of Sarah Davachi, Eliane Radigue and Charlemagne Palestine.