Ellen Arkbro (b. 1990) is a composer and sound-artist based in Stockholm, Sweden, where she is currently studying for a master’s degree in composition. Arkbro’s work includes music in just intonation for acoustic instruments, as well as algorithmic works for synthesised tones. After undergoing studies in the theory and practice of tuning with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela in New York, and with Marc Sabat in Berlin, she is now pursuing her own work with harmonic sound in a tradition of tuning which she shares with her teachers. Most recently, Arkbro released for organ and brass on Subtext Recordings, a collection of recordings of her just intonation compositions for renaissance organ, horn, trombone and microtonal tuba. Her work has been presented in public at places such as the Issue Project Room, Sound of Stockholm, Berlin Atonal and Norbergfestival in Sweden.
Ellen Arkbro as well as the Tara Clerkin Trio will perform at silent green on Sunday, 11 December 2022.
1: All stories are stories.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Other peoples’ work, both existing and not yet existing.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Very early on. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t make music, but of course the tools and the aesthetics has changed drastically over the years. I’ve been in band s since I was 9, singing and playing guitar. I got my first guitar when I was 11 and I remember getting my first synth. I didn’t really play it but I remember dancing to the demo tracks in the living room.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Five of many albums that often come back to and love:
Les Duresses – Marc Sabat
Tower of Meaning – Arthur Russell
The Well-Tuned Piano – La Monte Young
Multistability – Mark Fell
Loveless – My Bloody Valentine
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Pretending that life never ends.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Stockholm is so beautiful. I guess I would say by the water.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I don’t want to imagine a world without sound and music but I’ve had this weird sensation since I was really little that I will eventually have lived so many lives, doing everything that you can possibly do. So it’s not very strange for me to imagine doing something other than music.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
My own record.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Ellen Fullman and her long string instrument.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As a spectator – I had a vivid experience recently listening to a performance of Eliane Radigue’s OCCAM Ocean in Stockholm in the fall. I was very present.
As a performer – I usually have strong experiences playing concerts. I get very nervous beforehand , so that gives the performance situation a certain tension.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technologies are important tools, but that’s all they are to me. In the end, it’s all about sound and experience.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have a sweet little brother. I believe he thinks I am doing really strange things.