Orb Podcast 057: SØS Gunver Ryberg

The award-winning Danish composer, sound artist, and live performer, SØS Gunver Ryberg, is known for uncompromising intensity, groundbreaking and genre-breaking releases, and concerts around the world in many different contexts.

“The core of my work is an exploration of the essence of existence. Music is not entertainment for me, but a necessity. Our time and the problems and complexities of the individual are reflected in my works.” — SØS Gunver Ryberg

Her critically acclaimed works include Entangled on Avian, and WHYT 030 – The sun is new every day on AD93, which earned several nominations, including the prestigious Nordic Council’s music prize in 2022. The latest full-length album SPINE which came out in February 2023 is the inaugural release on Ryberg’s own label Arterial, which stands as a thematically dense statement of intent.

SØS Gunver Ryberg is a multi-talented artist who frequently composes in immersive formats such as multi-channel works, installations, dance, performances, film, VR/AR, and more. You can find her performances at festivals, clubs, museums, galleries, cinemas, planetariums, and churches to more unconventional and site-specific locations like an underwater reservoir, a running metro train, and an old industrial ship.

For our Orb Podcast 057, the artist provides insights into her new album, SPINE, and the decision to launch her own label and self-release the LP. Additionally, Ryberg also offers us a captivating one-hour mix celebrating diversity in sound with her careful curation of tracks highlighting the common threads that connect different musical styles and sounds.

How do you personally describe your new album, SPINE?

SØS Gunver Ryberg: I was at a place in my life where I wanted to reconnect to a more sensuous way of living. As humans continue to explore, we have the power to shape the future, taking into account our inner and outer worlds and the existential urgency of our time. Creating a sustainable future is not only a goal but a way of being, where we are in tune with ourselves and nature, recognizing our interconnectedness with everything.

It can be so difficult to maintain contact with this in a busy and digital everyday life. For me, one of the ways to achieve this state is to listen. Hoping SPINE will be part of opening up the listener and give space for imagination. Music can put us in a more curious connection with our surroundings and have the potential to raise awareness, create empathy and promote action to address challenges.

Why did you decide to launch the label and self-release your LP?

I wish for more diversity in who runs labels. I would like to make people aware it’s possible to make 100% ECO-friendly vinyl pressings which SPINE is. This is my statement for the label.

Arterial a label which explores the visions in music and sound.
Arterial an artistic expression without compromise.
Arterial a place for expression beyond genres.
Arterial creates change through sound.
Arterial mirrors and predicts.
Arterial music moves and flows.
Arterial captures phases of intense creativity.
Arterial empowers difference as a combining force.
Arterial explores the entire range of possibilities.
Arterial reaches beyond material reality.
Arterial connects and entangles.
Arterial the music mesh of everything.
The music is a heart. Environmentally essential.

I also wanted to understand what it means to run a label and do the whole process of manufacturing. There’s also a persistent drive within me to release more music than I do and in this way, I can streamline the process of completing and publishing my music faster. Over the past decade, I have been involved in numerous projects with composing for dance, installation, film, performance, games, and opera. The music I was working on for my releases faced the challenge of me not having enough time to finish them before a new project started. I’ve accumulated so much music that I couldn’t continue to work on it cause too much time had passed. As a result, when I had time to resume working on it, my musical direction had evolved, and I was more interested in exploring or expressing something else. Unfortunately, this led to me abandoning a lot of compositional ideas, and they remain trapped on my hard drives.

What is the idea behind the mix?

Diversity in music is essential for cultural understanding and appreciation, and for celebrating the richness and complexity of human experience. By embracing musical styles, sounds, and artists, we can broaden our musical horizons, deepen our understanding of different cultures, and create a more inclusive and equitable musical landscape for all.

How did you choose the records in it?

I feel the tracks have different things in common like the uses of certain percussive sounds, exploration of sound design, and voice fragments which add another type of depth and emotion to a track. Bass heavy at times, Unpredictable compositions meaning experiments with the structure and form.The power of simplicity and complexity at the same time. The tracks have a certain power that comes from their simplicity and complexity at the same time. This could mean anything from a stripped-down track that relies on just a few simple percussive sounds to a complex composition with layers of sound. In different ways, the artists balance simplicity and complexity and you can start to appreciate the way music can be both accessible and challenging at the same time.

01. Hiro Kone – Holobiont
02. Kode9 – Vacuum Packed
03. Tanya Tagaq – In Me
04. Katie Gately – Rest
05. Machine Woman – Man at the Bus Stop
06. Oli XL – Imposter
07. rRoxymore – At the Crest
08. Object Blue – FUCK THE STASIS (Explicit)
09. Inga Copeland – insult 2 injury
10. Fatima Al Qadiri – Curfew
11. TYGAPAW – 4 Train (Utica Ave)
13. Cristian Vogel – Serpent Acid
14. RP Boo – Beauty Speak Of Sounds
15. Jana Rush – 3
16. Yu Su – Gleam
17. Jlin – Unorthodox Elements
18. SØS Gunver Ryberg – Mirrored Madness
19. Loraine James – Loraine Jame
20. Kyoka – Flashback
21. Yair Elazar Glotman – A Child
22. Aho Ssan – Intro