New Music // Nhung Nguyen – Winter’s Stories
The sun might be shining outside the office window as nonchalantly as ever but sometimes the glare of our sun is not what we want. So when we heard this haunting album from Vietnamise sound artist Nhung Nguyen we were instantly transported to a desolate, snowy land where the subconscious can wander for days and never meet another soul.
This acoustic piano based music is not music as one might normally enjoy it. It’s reflective, icy and depressingly beautiful in the way one’s saddest, most desperate moments can be. You could dance to this if you wanted, but it would be a graceful interpretive movement that embodies more than just physical gesture. The ambient nature of this uniquely beautiful music ensures that the volume rarely rises beyond contemplative and with the only other ‘instrument’ being field recordings it only serves to heighten the sense of beautiful doom that winter can bring to the human soul.
Each track is titled not with a name but with a number and feels entirely appropriate. Close your eyes and you're transported to a dream state where imagination is your one and only guide to what the sounds actually signify. There is a narrative here somewhere but it’s a loose one, guided only by the listener and their state of mind. In that sense Winter’s Stories is a perfect summer record. We only appreciate the beauty of winter when it has gone and the sun is blazing down and listening to the artful and beautiful neo-classical sounds of a simple acoustic piano on this occasion is a journey of the soul in itself.