Dynamic left-field rhythms.
You’ll find the work of SØS Gunver Ryberg, a Danish sound artist and composer, on labels including AD 93 (f.k.a Whities), Noise Manifesto, Samuel and Hayley Kerridge’s Contort, and Shifted‘s Avian—which is where she released her first album, 2019’s Entangled. Now, though, she’s back with SPINE, her second album on which she channels her dextrous sound design into time-bending music that fluctuates between electrifying techno, experimental ambient, and soundsystem-shaking bass music. It’s the inaugural release of Arterial, her own label.
Ryberg, who was born Gunver but goes by Søs and grew up in the Danish countryside, didn’t give music her full attention until around 2005; before that she trained as a stuntwoman. “I grew up being extremely wild and I’ve always loved fighting,” she told RA. “Not like with fists and stuff. Wrestling. For fun.”
She only began experimenting with digital music production after a push from a vocal teacher, but she’s since crafted a career not only through her pummeling club rhythms but her video game soundtracks, film scores, and dance, performance, and installation pieces. For instance, she has worked on Danish developer Playdead’s 2016 game “Inside,” and in 2018 she composed the soundtrack for “Cutterhead,” a claustrophobic thriller directed by Rasmus Kloster Bro. What unites her work is its transformative power, and how it all explores states of consciousness and the complexities of the individual. “Music is not entertainment for me,” she says. “But a necessity.”
Like her music, Ryberg’s XLR8R podcast, which we’ve been trying to lock in for years, is delicate but fierce. Across its run-time, you’ll hear music from Loraine James, Jana Rush, Vladislav Delay, Lee Gamble, and more—morphed into a mix that’s dynamic and immersive. Beautiful and brutal.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I have been playing some concerts around Europe and busy getting my album SPINE ready for release on my new label, Arterial. It’s been a very exciting process for me. In the autumn I went to the pressing plant RPM Records and saw for the first time how records are actually made and we talked about how RPM makes records environmentally friendly and this is what convinced me to make SPINE a vinyl release as well. Since then it’s been a lot of communication, setting up distribution, and talking with the graphic designers. Every creation has an uncountable amount of decisions. We tend to forget and I’m very fascinated by these thoughts. I can’t comprehend how many decisions I’ve made if I also include my whole music creation in these thoughts. It’s mind-blowing.
02. How was your 2022?
Throwing myself into new experiences such as composing for a symphony orchestra and performing together with them. I’m so used to performing on my own so suddenly to play as part of a big organism with a conductor and the very few hours of rehearsals was such a new challenge. I have so much respect for how fantastic these musicians are. I also had some great experiences with concerts and have made some important decisions about my next steps ahead musically. My year has been some exciting changes and I also moved to a place with a garden. Being closer to nature gives me so much energy and connection to my core. I can’t believe I didn’t do this earlier and it’s perfect as I’m still close to the center of Copenhagen but I don’t live right in the middle of it.
03. What have you been listening to?
I have been listening so much to jazz. My partner found a radio in the street trash but it’s hard to change the channel so it’s stuck on a Danish jazz radio station. I have actually been enjoying listening to jazz again. It’s a great way for me to start the morning. Especially these days because it’s raining all the time. Besides, I have been listening to podcasts: people talking about a subject mostly about technology development and AI. I don’t really listen to much electronic music.
04. Where and when did you record this mix?
I recorded it at my house. One evening in January.
05. How did you go about choosing the tracks you’ve included?
These artists I have chosen are mainly about energy, raw spirit, sound design, interesting composition ideas, and lots of fast rhythms with so much uniqueness. I also incorporated voice as an element. Either the voice is already in the track or I have added it on top. Using voice samples is something I started to do in my own music again in 2020. I also wanted to mix sound artists with more experimental club music.
06. How does it compare to what we might hear you play live?
As I only perform my own music live. So, I guess it’s about the raw energy, the experimentation. The freedom of sound. New ways of merging material and expression.
07. Where do you imagine it being listening to?
Everywhere you want to listen. Surprise me. Everyone is welcome to write to me and tell me how they heard it.
08. What’s on your horizon for 2023?
As mentioned, the SPINE release is coming out soon. I have more concerts coming up. I’m also going to compose and perform a spatial music concert in a warehouse as part of a light installation together with light collective Pleasure Control. I’m finishing the opera and then I’m working with 3D artist Ida Lissner on a project too.
XLR8R Subscribers can download the podcast below. If you’re not an XLR8R subscriber, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Yoko Ono “I’m Alive” (Chimera Music)
02. Nkisi “VI” (UIQ)
03. Meredith Monk “Cloud Code” (ECM Records)
04. ZULI “Bassous” (UIQ)
05. Maja S.K. Ratkje “Dictaphone Jam” (Rune Grammofon)
06. Bernard Parmegiani “Départ” (Transversales Disques)
07. Bernard Parmegiani “Départ 2” (Transversales Disques)
08. Loraine James “Simple Stuff” (Hyberdub)
09. Moor Mother “Deadbeat Protest” (Don Giovanni Records)
10. 33EMYBW “Symmetry” (SVBKVLT)
11. Lee Gamble “Motor System” (PAN)
12. SØS Gunver Ryberg “Spine” (ARTERIAL)
13. Jana Rush “Midline Shift” (Objects Limited)
14. Ryuji Takeuchi “Climax Control” (ARMS)
15. Cristian Vogel “Proofing Stone” (Mille Plateaux)
16. SØS Gunver Ryberg “Doing our best is no longer good enough) “AD 93)
17. Vladislav Delay “#5” (Ripatti)
18. Loraine James “Change” (Hyberdub)
19. Bjørn Svin “Reswim” (Endless Process)
20. Band Ane “Wolves In My Trash Can” (Original Mix) (clang)
21. Phtalo “I Like Older Women” (Endless Process)
22. Demanda Galas “Do Room” (Live) (Mute)
23. Jana Rush “Frenetic Snare” (Objects Limited)
24. Abdullah Miniawy x HVAD “Meanwhile The Survivors Are Shamefully Arriving (King of Rome)” (ULLLU)
25. Gabber Modus Operand “Sangkakala II” (SVBKVLT)
26. Ziúr “U Feel Anything?” (Planet Mu)
27. Slikback “SONSHITSU” (Hakuna Kulala)
28. Natascha Barret “Angels & Devils” (AURORA)