Artist Highlight: Bora Yoon

Released on Innova Recordings

It’s one thing to be inspired by the sounds around us, as this blog aims to do. It’s another to insert them directly into your music.

Few artists do this as naturally as Bora Yoon. While her primary instruments are voice and piano, her conceptual approach to songwriting places a heavy importance on found sounds and unconventional instrumentation, with her album “Sunken Cathedral” being a prime example of this.

The album opens with a mission statement, a preview of what’s to come. The choral chants at which Yoon excels is contrasted with a murky sequenced loop of gallop and percussion on “O Viridissima Virga.” The layers build as the medieval vocals progress, adding subtle organ and bell chimes, but it’s always anchored to the sequencer. Even as the distant bird calls enter, man-made production is never forgotten.

This idea is taken further on “O Pastor Animarum” as a train passes by, signaling the end of the flashback and pulling us back into the present.

The aptly named “Father Time” features the use of clocks, which wouldn’t be particularly interesting, if not for them operating out of sequence, their pendulum swings off-time and at-odds, fighting for the beat that was never meant to be. Offsetting the tempo further are more of Yoon’s bell chimes, setting up an aural argument of automatic versus selectively timed percussion.

The found sounds get significantly more personal on “Jansori Pansori” as Yoon’s whispy, ethereal vocals and primal percussion is juxtaposed with rough, digitized voicemails from her mother.

“Sunken Cathedral” is full of inspiring sounds, whether it’s the musical use of pencil-on-paper or glacially building vocal loops as melody. It’s original multimedia release brought even more creative depth to the work, writing the songs to find the sonics of different architectural spaces. The result is simply amazing.

Pat Dalton is a writer, guitarist, and self-styled effects pedal experimentalist. He’s got a looper and a bit crusher and he’s not afraid to use them.