Archives for posts with tag: Nhung Nguyen

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Piano Day Nhung Nguyen Sleep Orchestra.jpgToday (29 March) is Piano Day for 2017. The 88th day of the year (88 keys on a piano, of course). There’s days for everything but the piano is as deserving as anything to have its day. And who better to celebrate Piano Day with than PopLib’s favourite ambient piano-loving sound creator Nhung Nguyen, who has collaborated with Sleep Orchestra to create this dark, mysterious and elegant piece “Disparate” –

Sleep Orchestra provides the electronics, and Nhung Nguyen the piano. The electronic sounds mix sombre, snarling ambience with a sense of dread and unease, behind which builds a pulsing, anxious beat. The piano’s ominous chime and alternating chords sound like the warning toll of a navigational buoy sounding in the fog. The soundscape created by this combination of the traditional (piano) and the new (electronic sound) captures perfectly the mood of 2017 so far…

If you haven’t already visited Nhung Nguyen’s Bandcamp there’s a superb back catalogue of EPs to get lost in. Some are built around piano sounds and loops (both Nostalgia and Winter Stories are recommended starting places)  while others mix street sounds with a variety of electronic sounds and treatments (check the dreamy For June EP).

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”.