Kali Malone is a Stockholm-based composer and performer who is part of a new vanguard of longform sound works, with a notable emphasis on music for pipe organ. She co-founded the XKatedral label which released some of her earliest work along with that of fellow travelers such as Ellen Arkbro and Maria W Horn. More recently she’s been working with electronics within extended works that experiment with different tuning systems. Two albums released in 2022 find her putting the organ aside in favor of synthesizers, but her interest in the spectral richness of sustained drones extends beyond any particular instrumentation.
In 2019 she released a breakthrough album called The Sacrificial Code, a sprawling collection of mostly solo organ pieces that runs nearly two meditative hours. By miking the various pipes of the instrument directly, the performance avoids the cavernous reverb we hear on most church organ recordings, affording listeners the opportunity to be fully immersed in the dense vibrations of every lingering chord and diffuse melodic shift. As Mojo magazine has written of the album, “Malone draws the listener into the unique interior timbre of the pipe organ, like the idling breath of a large machine at rest; a music of worship, where the object of spiritual veneration is the inner space of the instrument itself.”
Her compositions draw upon limited materials, each piece gliding through space like a weightless monolith, each new pitch rippling with gut-punching vibrato that creates a sonic image of sleek, flexing muscle. Voiced through the thunderous physicality of a pipe organ, Malone invites listeners to delve into the components of each lumbering chord. This special performance includes additional accompaniment by Stephen O’Malley on several 4-handed organ pieces.
Photo Credit: Mauricio Guillen