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Thoughts on truth – Göreme Echoes featured at FBC's The Finnish Music of Our Time series

Photo by Yle (Finnish Broadcasting Company)
Photo by Yle (Finnish Broadcasting Company)

To my great delight, composer Aki Yli-Salomäki has chosen to feature my electronic soundscape piece Göreme Echoes in the series Aikamme suomalaista musiikkia (The Finnish Music of Our Time) on Finnish Broadcasting Company (FBC, Yle). The program (in Finnish) can be streamed on Yle Areena until July 14, 2021. The program also includes Pekka Jalkanen's captivating and impressive choir piece Deesis, finely performed by Krysostomos Chamber Choir and their conductor Mikko Sidoroff. I greatly appreciate Aki’s straightforwardness in the presentation of my work, which begins at 1:08. My music begins at 4:18. Pekka Jalkanen's Deesis begins at 23:16, I highly recommend listening to it.

Below are some thoughts that have long influenced my compositional work. I see these topics as some of the timeless questions of humanity. They also served as a source of inspiration to me when I was composing Göreme Echoes.

Different perceptions and views of truth (and — if I may say so — the certainty of the excellence and correctness of one's own view in relation to other views) have, in my view, always played an important role in conflicts between individuals and communities.

In the view of a cultural context, I am inclined to think that every culture, ranging from individuals to bigger communities, have their own idea and understanding of truth. In this respect, it could be argued that every culture, and within it, every individual and the wider community, owns their own truths. This intellectual property is understandably perceived as an important part of identity and therefore as a heritage worth cherishing and something that is to be defended and protected.

Throughout history, conflicting views on truth have led to a variety of conflicts, from brawls between individuals to political turmoil, violence, oppression, and even wars. These have been of interest to me for a very long time, and I think that these timeless questions have once again proved to be very topical as I follow the world events today. The discussion on many issues has culminated in a highly polarized debate in which the conflicting parties are not always even willing to listen to each other. In this case, it is no longer a matter of open debate, but of fighting for the excellence and legitimacy of one's own opinions and values in relation to the “wrong” opinions and values of others.

The more one learns about the history of mankind, the more events and periods of time similar to the current world situation can be found, regardless of cultures, geographical locations, and period of time. It would seem that we are in an endless motion between different extremes.

However, our current way of conversation, most notably on social media is marked by a considerable amount of debate withering away in defense of one’s own opinion and, sadly, often a very limited point of view. At worst cases, this keeps going on, regardless of the facts related to the original topic of discussion. Indeed, the debate on social media often seems like a series of rapid spinal cord reactions, in which the original topic very soon disappears into the background, sometimes even vanishing away. For some, it also seems necessary to be right and defend certain opinions an views as the only truths. This exponentially increases the likelihood of all kinds of conflicts.

Sure, these thoughts and observations are not unique and new. Inspired by these thoughts and reflections, I composed Göreme for guitar and electronics, as well as its sibling, an electronic soundscape Göreme Echoes, in which I partly utilized the material of Göreme. The compositional processes of these two works have also been a part of my own healing process and steps on my path to a better future. My personal, practically lifelong experiences of physical, mental, and structural violence, not forgetting discrimination, surely have led me to ponder these topics and issues.

In music and composing I have found a reason and strength to be able to go forward, even when in the whole world (or, my very limited views and experiences of the world around me) I have not seen reasons to continue my own existence. It may well be that these things can be heard in one way or another in my music.

I know my experiences are not unique. They are true for far too many people regardless of any human quality. Still, many of these truths do not come to light and won’t be heard even today. I have also noticed that the hardships I experienced were not recognized at the time when they happened. Even today, they sometimes are not among the topics which get publicly discussed, nor their existence would be recognized.

The eternal, timeless turbulence and turmoil seems to continue further. Perhaps timelessness is always topical.


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