Vienna Teng – Inland Territory

January 01, 1970

(Rounder/Zoe)

www.rounder.com

 

 

Although every bit as elegant, elegiac, savvy and
sophisticated as her widely heralded major label bow, Dreaming Through the Noise, Vienna Teng’s latest opus, Inland Territory finds her embracing a
more accessible sound, one that leaves open the possibility of soaring
crescendos and even an occasional sprightly pace.  A masterful musician and intriguing arranger,
Teng crafts songs that have the tendency to both mesmerize and mystify,
courtesy of melodies that inspire a wide array of moods and emotions. 

 

While the new record continues to show her penchant for
hushed reflection and introspective musings, Teng’s determination to expand her
palette leads to some remarkably intriguing encounters, whether it’s the
percolating pulse of “White Light,” the measured contemplation of “Kansas” or
the shimmering, low-watt essence that marks such songs as “Antebellum,”
Watershed” and the gorgeous coda, “St. Stephen’s Cross.”  Still, the most dazzling designs are found in
those songs where percussion plays a primary role, from the surprisingly
slapdash whoop, holler and handclaps of “Grandmother Song” to the twitchy
refrains of “Radio” and the breathless crescendo that sends “Augustine”
spiraling ever higher.   Although Teng’s
keyboard-based passages often show a tendency to indulge in weary circumspect,
there’s no denying the sheer effervescent beauty she’s capable of welding so flawlessly,
an ability that allows Inland Territory to demand repeated exploration.

 

 

Standout Tracks: “St. Stephen’s Cross,” “Augustine,” “Antebellum” LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

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