Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vienna Teng-Inland Territory

Korean-American Vienna Teng still continues to weave wonderful tapestry of melodies in her latest offering Inland Territory under Zoe, Rounder records. The album is recorded over five months in four cities.

The Last Snow Fall opens with that sampled crackling sounds found in vinyl records. It is a gradual song embellish by oohs and ahhs amidst her sweet sounding voice.

White Light is an upbeat pop tune that comes to mind Vanessa Carlton's territory. The blues guitar works fine here along with the synthesizers. The lyrics deals  with the push and pull of relationships.

Antebellum is opened by piano flourishes. Her legato is excellent. When she hits that high tender note, it is so exquisite that it makes you really want to open your heart and seize the day. This is the style she has been known for, starting with her previous albums and this is her strong point. The orchestral sweep is cinematic and she can really belt out a tune considering that she is a pianist.

Kansas has that waltzing tempo set about by the cymbals. There is a lounge bluesy  feeling that predominates the entire song.

In Another Life Calls to mind that Mary Hopkins song in the 70s "Those Were the Days" with the snazzy brass ensemble and jaunty piano.

Grandmother Song is something totally new and different. Here she calls her live gang to perform the hand claps, the drums as well as the brass on the back up. You can hear people hooting throughout the entire song. You can tell that this has been recorded in a totally natural environment. The absence of her piano makes this song really different. But it works!

Stray Italian Greyhound is back to her territory of wonderful melodies and tinkling piano lines. Again, the introduction of the sweeping strings and walkabout tempo calls to mind those walks on the beach and lazy afternoons.

Augustine has that swirlling harmony of voices. The beat has that  anticipation to it before hitting the beautiful climax of the song as she sings "ooohhh breaking  down,". This is Vienna at her best.

No Gringo opens with a gentle tambourine. Solemn piano follows. Snare drums lead the verse into a breaking harmony . Again the presence of hand claps and orchestra makes the song a grand piece.

Watershed is a kind a gradual song that builds into an anthem.

Radio recaps Whitelight's upbeat spirit and the quirky atmosphere of Grandmother Song. Again the abundance of  syncopated and poly rhythm makes it a slightly uneasy on the end.

St. Stephen's Cross closes this album.Again it's a nice slow tune . Something that you bring along when you walk in the park.

  Vienna Teng has the versatility that can match Tori Amos' piano playing and a heavenly voice of Sarah Mclachlan. Fans and new ears will most like buy this album for it's overall chill out effect. But for those who appreciate beautiful music in terms of skill and artistry, this is also something for you. Though I'd say her previous efforts are those I gravitate more on, but hey nothing is wrong with an artist evolving and going on to new territories right?

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