Sianna Lyons is an artist and singer with a 5+ octave vocal range. This five-track EP entitled Asylum showcases soundscapes built around her meandering vocal melodies, with little to no clear language use, but rather, an underlying intention to connect with audiences on a deeper, emotional and spiritual level.
The Last Wolf is a fitting place to begin as it offers one of the most calming and inspiring ambiances of the collection. The variation in vocal moments and indeed the gradually evolving instrumentation all work towards a colourful and immersive listening experience. The musicality seems to take elements of both the organic and electronic worlds, fusing them according to each moment’s required expression and passion – i.e. – following the natural flow of the music and what it intends to represent.
Where The Godless Prey (feat. Kiera González-Lyons) is a song featuring the vocals of Sianna’s 13 year old daughter during the verses. This piece uses the English language to back up its underlying ideas. Lines like Stuck in a human maze / Vision obscured by haze / We’re losing our state of grace poetically reinforce the feelings experienced by the artist around the time of the last presidential election. The mood of the track is immediately more melancholy and lost feeling than what came before. The piano brings a certain realness to the scene, the vocals add further to this and also introduce a level of innocence that draws more focus to the song’s concept and the subsequent effects of what goes on in the political world. The melody varies quite intensely throughout this, keeping structure relevant and making sure to hold tight to your attention as things grow bolder and more striking.
Síochána follows on with an instant sense of delicacy and possibility. It’s a refreshing change of mood, things feel as if they’ll be OK. The soundscape begins in a simple manner, the layers of vocals gradually increase throughout until fully surrounding you. The instrumentation is gorgeous here, these crisp, real-time elements build up in a subtle and satisfying way. The idioglossic vocal delivery means the experience is likely to mean something different to everyone who hears it, as is the way of the most widely accessible, effective music that we turn to for escapism or to lift our mood. This piece continues to shine more brightly as it progresses, the volume and warmth increase throughout, adding in a touch of quickness to some of the riffs to contrast with the more mellow waves of sound.
Illusions is a song with an interesting set-up that takes a slightly tribal rhythm section and showcases perhaps one of the most impressive vocal performances, reaching further in range at every step. The rising intensity is consistent here and the details stand out as characterful and unique. The final moments bring a level of drama and weight, making the whole thing feel like a short and rather epic film.
The project’s title track marks the end of the journey. The sound of the natural world intertwines with that of the electronic, along with dashes of humanity. The ambiance in general holds tight to this atmospheric, deeply thoughtful aura, creating around you a distant but thought provoking experience – as always, rising in intensity throughout, using spoken word snippets to pave the way for certain conceptual points. The vocals are quite immense here, fading into the instrumentation as if in complete unity with everything involved. Then what sounds like soft rain leaves you to ponder the whole project.
The finish on this collection is professional and crisp so the inherent emotion and artistry stands as tall as possible. There are flickers of an Enya-like sound to much of it, though the musical aspects lean in any number of directions from time to time, leaving you in the end to recognise all of this this as Sianna Lyons.
Stream the EP on Spotify or download it via Amazon. All proceeds from the sale of the title track go to Support Kind – legal aid for immigrant children separated from their parents. Find & follow Sianna Lyons on Instagram.