Cover © Pauliina Nykänen/Venla Helenius
Äänitys: Kaj Mäki-Ullakko
In their new Onomatopoesia trilogy, Signe explores the uncharted territories of the human voice. The three-album composition is a human-voice study on sensitisation as well as the need for attachment and settlement in our ever-changing environment. Thematically, the albums evolve from phonemes, the smallest units of speech, into syllables, words and eventually stories. Phonemes is the first part in the trilogy.
Through the Onomatopoesia project, Signe sets out to recreate their own musical language. This linguistic theme is already evident in the very name of the trilogy, which refers to using the human voice to imitate and produce the sounds that surround us in both nature and man-made environments.
As the name Phonemes suggests, the first album of the trilogy focuses on the smallest units of speech, phonemes. Everything begins with the neutral vowel, from whence the album's language then develops toward other vowels and consonants. The evolution toward worded music continues in the second album, Morphemes, which is based on syllables. This progression is then culminated by words and lyrics in the third album titled Syntax.
Phonemes comprises the work of some of today's most sought-after composers: Tytti Arola, Sampo Kasurinen and Mikko Sarvanne. Phonemes also combines the powerful sensitivity of Signe's vocal trio with two guest artists, percussionist Mika Kallio and avant-garde violinist Meriheini Luoto.
The focal point of the album trilogy is the human need to attach ourselves to other living things and to become settled in our ever-changing environments, from production forests to factories. The composers of the album were asked to explore phonemes from new perspectives and examine their relationship with nature and technology that are ostensibly controlled by humans.
Tytti Arola's piece titled Muovi (Plastic) enters into an imaginary gallery of industrial soundscapes, studying the snapping, stretching and rustling of plastic. The vocalists of Signe use their voices to create a rhythmic framework, imitating the sounds of production machinery and processes, as the plastic is compressed into myriad materials. The piece also questions the demonised reputation of plastic—after all, plastic didn't find its way into the world's oceans all on its own.
Sampo Kasurinen's piece Six Variations for Voices and Percussion is meditatively immersive, formed by the amalgamation of gongs, standing bells and human voices. The album features Mika Kallio's special gongs that vibrate at the same frequency as certain celestial bodies like the Sun or Mercury.
In Mikko Sarvanne's piece Do Trees Hear the Noise? the vocal trio joins avant-garde violinist Meriheini Luoto to contemplate the auditory relationship between humans and nature. We go to the forest looking for peace and quiet while our traffic and industry continue to make noise that the forests and trees cannot escape.
- Six Meditations for Voices and Percussion feat. Mika Kalliosäv. Sampo Kasurinen
- Do Trees Hear the Noise? feat. Meriheini Luotosäv. Mikko Sarvanne
- Muovi feat. Tytti Arolasäv. Tytti Arola