Siren On – Piano Sparkling – 4/5
Some amongst you may recognise the name Jonna Enckell – the mastermind behind this release – from ‘The Project Hate MXCXCIX,’ and whilst that may attest to her vocal prowess, it should be noted that this release is as far from that style as you could imagine. Far more readily likened to ‘Ambeon,’ or ‘Kono Michi’ in its gentle neo-classical meandering, utilising to great effect a variety of instruments, never forgetting the emotional weight each track is intended to deliver through the phenomenal vocals.
Vocally, she succeeds in delivering one of the greatest performances I’ve hear from her. Rich, delicate and powerful; the emotion she manages to carry in her voice is of the kind that cannot be taught, requiring something deeply felt in order to successfully convey it. Varying from the more operatic, broadly toned and immensely powerful multi-layered vocals, to the far thinner, delicate and fragile whispers floating as if carried by the wind, even taking the opportunity to work without backing on ‘Silver Tree;’ this endeavour could have easily fallen short but instead delivers one of the strongest tracks on the album.
Backed by a score of piano lines, violins, synths and the occasional guitar work (notably on ‘electric heart’), they are carefully orchestrated so as to accent the vocals and carry the rhythm, creating a rich and diverse playground for her delicate tone of voice. Harmonious violins with extended chords maintain a constant background presence, supplying much of the subtle atmosphere whilst the piano forms the main body of the rhythm; a ceaseless supply of gentle passages that never fail to feel heartfelt, simple enough to rapidly become ingrained in your mind yet with enough variation to never tire.
When I learnt she had this solo project I was naturally intrigued, eagerly anticipating the work from a vocalist whose past work had long since earned my respect. This release, however, was completely different from what I was expecting; shedding any definitive musical link between her main project, and in doing so, produced a work that should be sought after in its own right. Whilst this may not be the most original conception, it stands as proof that she is more than just a capable vocalist, but also a composer with many talents and it is this release that – for me – elevates her status to one of the better female vocalists still performing.
Highlights: Evangeline, Making of a Love Poem, The Silver Tree