Ellen Arkbro – For Organ And Brass

Some say time is money. Some say time is the result of money. Which would figuratively mean time plus more time equals more time. And there is, on the evidence of this sterling use of “organ and brass” instruments by Ellen Arkbro, a case to be made for standing yourself in experiential riches. The instruments aren’t cheap, but as presented here, the resulting sounds are grandiose arcs.

The album starts well. Some type of C chord, sounding like suspended minor in style, folds to an A minor 9th. This pattern is repeated for over 5 minutes, but tedium never sets in. Most likely this is due to the complex, intriguing middle eigth note pattern; but to me its’s also due to how rich the sounds come across on record. In the hustle and interim, different notes supplement the chords that function as building blocks. And overall, track one takes the shape of a solid drone slab made with organ and brass instruments. Nicely done.

What’s up next? Well, with the stage set for some grand droner’s morning wakeup party (the first time I listened to this, I did so on repeat – for FIVE HOURS!), one is expecting some nuanced production, and nuances are what we get more of next, in the shape of the wonderfully titled “Mountain Of Air”. When you see a name like that, you immediately connect the wind instrument family used with the metaphor of a mountain, full of air, airs and graces so it may be. So it all is.

The music is never less than intriguing, heavily muscled and durable. For reasons of space and contortion, the drones remind me of Catherine Christine Hennix’s recent experiments and Harry Bertoia’s wind instrument pioneering, both on the pioneering Important label. Ellen Arkbro is more “listenable”, in a straight-ahead sense, shall we say, than previously mentioned. Nevertheless, the music might be simple, but underneath the surface, lies not just mountains of air, but oceans full of magisterial depth. Classic sounds – essential stuff!


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