(New Album Review) Nhung Nguyen- Winter’s Stories
Nhung Nguyen occasionally sheds her moniker Sound Awakener to release material that does not quite fit the goals of the Sound Awakener project. The major success of these occasional diversions, Winter’s Stories, is also in my view one of the major successes of her output thusfar.
Winter’s Stories is a collection of impressionistic neo-classical pieces on piano captured through remote and vague lens. The muted tones of the piano drift through a fog of field recordings and darkly ambient electronic tones without losing definition. Nguyen’s tendency to favor lo-fi recording is employed to very novel affect here; where other experimental ambient sound artists engulf their musical structures with the abstractions of seeming white noise, her approach to the “art” part of “sound art” is to give a feeling of romantic distance to the recording. The piano is seemingly across the street and we are the accidental audience, half-asleep but riveted. The overall affect is strikingly familiar to that of the third piece from William Basinski’s Melancholia, but more fleshed-out structurally, sustained for longer than the breadth of a loop. All fans of sound art influenced by neo-classical will be pulled in by this hauntingly unique release.