Arin Aksberg: It Flows Between Us

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Product Description

1 Virtuality
2 Airportwait
3 At Breakneck Speed
4 12
5 It Flows Between Us
6 Never Without Your Presence
7 In Memory
8 Reflections On Virtuality
9 Never Ending Journey
10 Elevate



Genres: Neo-Classical, Post-Rock, Ambient, Minimalism
RIYL: Joep Beving, Nils Frahm, Harold Budd, Ólafur Arnalds, Sigur Rós, Brian Eno, Laraaji


Arin Aksberg lives north of the Arctic Circle in Alta, Norway. It’s a cold, beautiful & harsh place of 21,000 residents; living there invariably pulls at the emotions of longing, desire and survival. 23-year-old Arin dealt with a feeling of non-reality magnified by imposed isolation and a newborn child by submerging himself in the sublime and hallucinatory aspects of creating music. It Flows Between Us is the sound of duality — neo-classical piano-based tracks and compositional ambient pieces juxtapose with occasional post-rock tones that originate within ethereal spaces before venturing into the depths of darkness. The album captures the contemplative, sensitive, and melancholic introspective moods one might expect from an artist living where — for two months out of the year — the sun never rises above the horizon.


“I’ve had my ups and downs since I was 10 years old,” Arin remembers, “struggling with a sort of social anxiety and sense of isolation. The lockdown gave me time to sort out my thoughts. Music is a powerful way to let both thoughts and creativity flow and make place for fresh ideas. Here, virtuality and the digital life became a great distraction.”


While recording this album, Arin was also studying for university from home and caring for his young daughter. “Being on digital classes with other students for weeks, everything got more and more reliant on technology. Studying almost the entire day, I felt distant from reality and distant from being a parent while my daughter played on her own. You know, you’re trying to keep up in class while she wants me to come play with her. An awareness of not being 100% present with her really sticks to me to this day.”


“I was under the impression that the themes of the album were about technology: the digital world and how it can come in the way between parent and child. But I guess I missed the whole point of my own music. I realized just recently that the album is more about the fear of not becoming the parent you want to be. Perhaps fear is what’s flowing between us? The album title was originally a representation of the digital life flowing between parent and child, but the true meaning went over my head: the fear of not being able to be there when it’s needed.”


“Man, I probably seem like a dark person here,” Arin laughs. “Actually, I’m really looking forward to what’s coming. In this music I intuitively explore transcendent moments when we are our most basic selves. I don’t have any classical training, so my knowledge of musical theory is quite absent. That opens a lot of doors to me when it comes to creativity. I create by intuition, and it captures the complex and minuscule feelings of life.”


It Flows Between Us is sixty-one minutes of emotional, minimalist and poignant piano-led moments fueled by Arin’s contemplative sense of despair and desire for physical connection.

Projekt release: March 3 2023

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Reviews

  1. Reviews Editor

    From The Vinyl Hole
    Joint review for It Flows Between Us and Nordic Patterns:

    I’m always excited when a new artist crosses my listening path, I dive in much more with a fresh talent than recall the established, inspirational acts that are often tagged in. Several familiar names, Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and Jon Hopkins have all been associated with 24-year-old Norwegian composer, music producer and multi-instrumentalist Arin Aksberg, in the wake of releasing 2 stunning albums inside 10 months of each other on Projekt Records, who in their own right have been a leading light in ethereal, neo-classical, gothic, and ambient music for more than 30 years.

    In March of last year, Arin debuted It Flows Between Us, a breath-taking and beautifully balanced collection. From the opening song ‘Virtuality’, the scene is set for the whole album, with a stirring range piano movement, which are also used as the only rhythmic elements present, along with ethereal ambient textures and pin sharp strings that glide in and out.

    The haunting allure of ‘Airportwaiting’ sums up its title, a monotony of doing nothing as time and people pass by. A constantly evolving hive is only drowned out by the sound of internal clocks ticking out at different rates. ‘At Breakneck Speed’ meanders with lush ambience and a wash of strings that bookend the keys that are off in distance. But the upfront void is filled out with bass, when it hits, it hits down low!

    The next piece is ‘12’, it’s somewhat of a palate cleanser. A minimal, rhythmic solo piece of prepared piano which thinly builds layer upon layer. The title track ‘It Flows Between Us’ is another departure. An electronic tingler, very much in the sound of early Berlin School. As is ‘Never Without Your Presence’, an emotive builder, that starts raw and sparse, gradually gaining brightness and body.

    ‘In Memory’ is another beautiful little track, with piano and strings that dance together. There’s an organic, impromptu nature here that becomes obvious as the recording ends with an abrupt stop. The dark cacophony of orchestral sounds on ‘Reflections On Virtuality’ creates a walling wall of sound without a lead or single focal point. Although it shares a name with the album opener, it is a vastly different image.

    The 11-minute ‘Never Ending Journey’ is my favourite track of the album. It combines many elements that as a coastal dweller myself, I can pick out. The incessant chattering of gulls, the sounds of the sea, I can feel and hear the chill of the relentless North wind in the chaotic pipes. Whether it’s actual samples or clever use of instrumentation, this one feels like home.

    ‘Elevate’ closes the album with the hammering of keys in abandonment, teetering on the edge of a Post Rock crescendo. All I must add is that ‘It Flows Between Us’ was the best album I heard over 2023, it took the remainder of the year to decide that it was deserving of this personal accolade. Then within a few weeks of 2024 Arin’s new album dropped.

    ‘A Time Given’ opens Nordic Patterns and continues his hallmark piano playing, but straight away the use of a throbbing synth and actual percussion, highlights both the familiarities and differences of these two releases. There’s also a more disjointed and experimental feel, like in ‘Leaving Home’ that washes across this soundscape, and fades out into the distance.

    The energetic introduction to ‘A Look Back’ has me reminiscing about those euphoric 90s & 00s breakdowns. But the eager anticipation for the beat to begin has been lost to time. Nowadays, I much prefer the placid, slow moving nature of tracks like ‘Flowing River’. A sparse and cold soundscape, but with a touch of warmth from the human contact towards the end.

    The temperature stays the same as you can envisage on a song entitled ‘The Chapel’ The large expansive sound of an organ reverberates out into the room, encapsulating the vibe. ‘Skaidi’ also has a very wide, open air feel to it, very sparse in parts but never barren, there is life, but it appears as a long-drawn-out period. The next piece ‘Cut Fjord’ carries this on with distant choral voices, emphasising the vastness, while the keys echo back towards you.

    The warmth and joyfulness on my favourite ‘Homecoming (with Sam Rosenthal)’ changes the mood considerably. Aerating stabs of synthesizers fill the panorama like the mesmerising aurora borealis. This comfort is felt on ‘A Time Spent (Anja)’, there’s clearly a personal connection here, a coming together on the last song of Nordic Patterns. With Nordic Patterns dropping while I compiled my review of It Flows Between Us only heightened the process. Listening to albums chronologically has always been an amazing experience, to absorb each individually and hear the progression between each other is something I think is lost to many in today’s playlist-culture. -Derek Howie

  2. Reviews Editor

    From Exposé

    Arin Aksberg is a Norwegian composer and multi-instrumentalist from Alta; that’s in the extreme north of the country, even further north than Tromsø, north of the Arctic Circle, where for three months out of the year the sun barely peeks over the horizon and the aurora borealis probably offers the 21,000 residents more light on most days. That it is so far north and relatively isolated probably has a good deal to do with the nature of the music here on It Flows Between Us, Aksberg’s first release, where introspective minimalist piano shares a space with reflective ambient pieces, often together, with hints of experimentalism and dreamlike surrealism. While the details of the instrumentation that Aksberg uses to create the album’s ten pieces are not given, one can hear piano, analog and digital synths, acoustic and electric guitars, perhaps bass, and various field recordings from time to time, though the guitars are rarely played conventionally, with “12” being a notable exception where an acoustic guitar offers a simple backdrop for synthesized mallets, piano, and other sounds, at a gently moving forward pace with plenty of studio reverb and effects.

    The opening piece, “Virtuality,” offers something of a simple neo-classical based piano melody that wanders freely, later joined by synths, all swimming in a heady brew of studio treatments. “Airportwait,” that follows the opener, is driven by an even more gentle piano figure inside a denser shell of electronics with some curious found sounds triggering in the background, seemingly very Eno-esque, while its follow-on, “At Breakneck Speed,” is anything but, slowly emerging from some shimmering space, with only very muted melodic hints within the shards of glissando guitar. Many of the pieces here, like the title track, have a somewhat experimental floating ambient feeling, with some seemingly imagined melodic fragments and textures that peek out through the curtain at various times, like the aurora shimmering under the starlit night. The longest track at eleven-plus minutes, “Never Ending Journey” is an ongoing evolution of sorts, always moving and shifting through an ever-changing labyrinth of soundtrack-like textures. -Peter Thelen

  3. Reviews Editor

    From Audion #74

    Coming from north of the Arctic Circle in Alta, Norway, Arin knows all about living in isolation and the challenges of nature. This he attempts to reflect in the mood of his music, which is often pianistic, but with lots of synthetics too, as well as making use of environmental elements. The moods of such music can range from the mysteriously beautiful to melancholic to the really deep or sonically panoramic. Often the mood is not so far from the Jeff Greinke release reviewed here, yet Arin also goes to much stranger realms that don’t really resemble anyone else at all. -Alan Freeman

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