James Freeman-Turner’s nom de plume, Hēran Soun, comes with an interesting story. The artist was born with severe hearing loss, which became total loss over time. Freeman-Turner had a number of operations, as well as many years of speech therapy, and managed to regain both his hearing and his voice. The result has been an obsession with music, and a unique perspective on sound.
Hēran Soun’s creations aren’t just memorable, but they have a certain strangeness to them, that’s not entirely unwelcome. ‘When You Wanted’, the latest single from his self-released debut album, ‘Undeaf’, is slightly jarring, with irregular rhythms and structures, and Freeman-Turner’s vocals are ethereal and slightly spooky. It’s as though in learning to hear to speak again, his brain adopted a different approach. There’s certainly nothing *wrong* with his sound – it’s more than pleasant – it’s just an alterative POV.
Hēran Soun was given the opportunity to put his sounds down for posterity when he was given free reign to record in a world-class studio, owned by no less than the son of Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein. By day James would sleep in his RV, parked in the lot at 25th Street Studio, in Oakland, California, and then in the night he’d hit the studio, first playing grand piano, next playing drums, then jumping back to his old, original, beatup nylon string guitar. An ambitious project, but one which has seen him create what he wanted to hear.