Archives for posts with tag: hanoi

nhung-nguyen“Bittersweet” is one of 7 tracks on a new EP called “An Ordinary Narrative” by Hanoi based musician/ composer Nhung Nguyen.

Nhung Nguyen creates atmospheric ambient instrumental music combining acoustic and electronic instruments along with field recordings. This new EP “An Ordinary Narrative” continues a recent theme of using piano as the sole instrument. The simplicity and minimalism may be “an ordinary narrative” but it is heavy with echoes of a ghostly, partially remembered past.

The piano is a perfect universal instrument for conveying a sense of memory,  as well as feelings of nostalgia, regret, happiness, hope… whatever we project on, or draw out of each recording.

The use of field recordings of public pianos, sometimes with their own imperfect out-of-tune character, and then post-production adding the reverb and delay adds to the dream-like nature of these pieces. The magic here is not so much the moment each note is struck but what happens in the space that follows, before the next note arrives.

In “Bittersweet” the occasional background of street noise from passing cars grounds the music at an unknown place and in a point of time. It adds to the atmosphere, the imperfection and to the intrigue. It’s a bit like the music equivalent of watching a flickering old Super-8 film home movie projected onto sun-faded wallpaper.

 

 

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nhung-nguyen“Warmth” is the opening track from a new (released today) EP collection of ambient piano pieces title “Nostalgia” from Hanoi, Vietnam based sound-artist Nhung Nguyen.

This opening track is  the straightest piece on the EP, just a slightly wonky piano recorded in a space full of reverberation.

Nhung Nguyen explains ““Nostalgia” is my an ambient piano EP. All tracks are based on two long piano improvisations, which were recorded in 2015 and 2016. 

“Nostalgia” takes inspiration from my personal memories about childhood and the melancholy coming from thoughts and emotions at the end of the year. Yearning for the lost time of the youth and the warmth from moments are also main themes of the release.”

It certainly evokes the “Nostalgia” of the album title. Don’t know what it is about the sound of a slightly out of tune piano in a big echoing space, but it brings all sorts of memories and feelings back. Some relate to family gatherings, some to out-of-it jams, some to film music, some to the early piano-based ambient soundscapes of Eno.

Most of all, though, this track evokes a spooky kind of nostalgia for the peculiar feeling created by the world of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” assisted by some of the incidental music created by Angelo Badalamenti.

The rest of the album is the piano looped and treated with reverb and delay, getting progressively more abstract with each track, as overlapping loops smudge and blur individual notes into a vast drone which slowly morphs over the course of the track.

The fourth track “Grace” at nearly 8 minutes is another highlight of the EP. The sound here is the most luxurious and distant from the sound of the piano introduced on that opening track “Warmth”.

Nhung Nguyen

Playing David Bowie’s “Low” last week I got lost again in that second side of sweeping cinematic instrumentals. Those paths lead me back to Brian Eno’s “Music For Films” and the Fripp & Eno album “Evening Star” – but also started me off exploring forward to an ever-expanding universe of imaginary worlds created by new generations of musicians working with ambient music, combining instrument sounds, field recordings and textures. Here’s one stellar recent example of that universe from Hanoi, Vietnam musician/ sound artist Nhung Nguyen.

It is almost impossible to pick just one track, but “Evergreen” – hinting as much of early Tangerine Dream as much as ambient Eno – is as good an entry point as any.

Continue on to listen to the whole collection, particularly “For June (Forever Summer)” with its glorious combination of field recordings of birdsong mingling with other-worldly hypnotic chiming.

Her latest release “Music For Quiet Souls” is different again, taking a minimal piano composition approach, like an experimental Erik Satie ‘Gymnopedies’ collection, but mixing field recordings with the delay-effect piano.

So impressed by these works I’ve just bought the full digital discography.