Inland Territory REVIEWS

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roofboy179
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Postby roofboy179 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:28 am

argos wrote:Ouch.

"Unoriginal sound plagues Vienna Teng's fourth album"
http://www.baylor.edu/lariat/news.php?a ... tory=57962


As harsh as this might be, I must admit, strange is in the affair of the believer. Regardless, this album is amazing. And whomever wrote this article simply must hear it live, because it's beautiful live. It may be a bit immature that I'm still a bit steamed about this... but.. ah, i have no excuse.

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Postby Fred » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:16 pm

Fred wrote:For me, DTTN was off-putting at first but ultimately I thought it was her best album. Will I eventually prefer its adventurous spirit, or IT's perfection?

2nd hearing, this time on headphones. I surrender. IT is so organic that it's irresistible. Maybe Vienna will resume her jazz and country explorations like those on DTTN on a larger scale in a later album (and I'd love to see that), but until then, perfection wins, and IT will be my new favorite. This album has NO learning curve for those who already know Vienna's music. (And what about for those who don't? Is it a better intro for novices than WH? I've lost the perspective to answer that.)

And now I want a pair of high-end headphones.

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Postby argos » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:47 pm

A new batch of reviews/features, including from Vienna's "hometown" papers ahead of her swing through the Bay Area:

Vienna Teng gets a New York vibe
Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News
http://www.mercurynews.com/music/ci_12150782

Vienna Teng's brilliant career move
Wallace Baine, San Jose Mercury News
http://www.mercurynews.com/centralcoast/ci_12206496

Teng happiily falls back on music
Tom Lanham, SF Examiner
http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment ... 94207.html

Andrew Gilbert, Seattle Times
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/m ... cmpid=2628

BlogCritics Magazine
http://blogcritics.org/archives/2009/04/23/074023.php

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Postby Fred » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:40 am

argos wrote:Vienna Teng gets a New York vibe
Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News
http://www.mercurynews.com/music/ci_12150782

Very enlightening. Now I have elegant verbiage to explain Vienna's songs that are love songs on the surface and something more universal in deeper layers ("using romantic relationships as metaphor for the existential condition") and know what to call that boxy thing that Alex drums with his hands (a "cajon"). All I need to figure out is what the existential condition is, and how to pronounce "cajon" (carefully, for sure). ;-)

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Postby dbeattie » Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:40 am

Fred wrote:
argos wrote:Vienna Teng gets a New York vibe
Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News
http://www.mercurynews.com/music/ci_12150782

Very enlightening. Now I have elegant verbiage to explain Vienna's songs that are love songs on the surface and something more universal in deeper layers ("using romantic relationships as metaphor for the existential condition") and know what to call that boxy thing that Alex drums with his hands (a "cajon"). All I need to figure out is what the existential condition is, and how to pronounce "cajon" (carefully, for sure). ;-)

Cajón is spanish for "box", more or less. :) So it's pronounced using spanish pronunciation rules: translated into English pronunciation rules it would be approximately: "kah-HOHN" (accent on the second syllable).

Incidentally, one should resist the tendency to confuse this word with another word, which may be more familiar as a vernacular slang to English-speakers: also borrowed from spanish, although this one is always plural (you can see why if you follow the link to find out what it means): cojones. I mention this only since it may help in figuring out how to pronounce "cajón"--only the first vowel sound is different (other than the fact that cajón is singular)

We also have a city here in the San Diego county area called El Cajon, for anybody familiar with my home town. :)

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Postby hassutvarpaat » Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:15 pm

This guy has always great reviews of Viennas albums... this one is no exception. :D

http://www.epinions.com/review/Inland_T ... 7973869188
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Postby Fred » Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:45 am

hassutvarpaat wrote:This guy has always great reviews of Viennas albums... this one is no exception. :D

http://www.epinions.com/review/Inland_T ... 7973869188


Thank you very much for posting this. It helped me clarify my thinking, and, interestingly, I agree with most of his points on individual songs. I certainly share his view of Radio. It's odd; after struggling (and eventually succeeding) to appreciate DTTN's jazzy numbers, I now find myself automatically gravitating to whatever is on Vienna's cutting edge. I think my subconscious brain has moved Vienna's music to a different bin from where it used to be. Now, when I hear new music from her, apparently I am not looking for something beautiful and familiar, but, rather, for a challenge. (That would put her in the same brain bin with Suzanne Vega, Bjork, and Kate Bush. Not the usual comparisons, but pretty good company.) Not saying there's anything wrong with Antebellum, but my attention is drawn elsewhere, and I imagine future jazz albums, or up-tempo pop albums with songs like Radio and Stray Italian Greyhound, or even a large-scale pop-classical fusion work. Probably, though, Vienna will be sensible and continue to evolve her music in those directions as she has been doing, in albums of great variety, rather than chancing something like that. Either way, I'm along for the ride.

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Postby tanthalas » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:17 am

Fred wrote:2nd hearing, this time on headphones.


Isn't St. Stephen's Cross just totally awesome with headphones? :D

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Postby Ang Mo » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:05 am

I have not posted my official review yet. I am taking a bit longer to absorb the album. The songs on this particular album seem to have a lot of camouflage, sort of like a copperhead snake in the leaves. Once you listen intently the songs become visible and defined and will strike you without warning. :lol: (The old snake analogy trick Chumley!) You have to remember the voice of Don Adams to appreciate that in the parenthesis.
My favorite song on the album: Antebellum
This one seems to have the most "spirit of Vienna Teng" vibe to it. Beautiful song which I have played over and over again. Twenty times in a row one night.

I really like the horn arrangement on "In Another Life"

Like the popping and cracking sound used on the opening of "The Last Snowfall" It is a beautiful song also.

Grandmother Song is sort of the designated country/folk song on the album. It reminds me of City Hall in that sense from DTTN.

No Gringo is one of my favorites and I love the use of the rattles at the beginning or whatever you call those things. I think it is probably my second favorite on the album.

I will save the rest of my thoughts for another website and for another time in the near future.

Off topic:
This weekend I was out climbing a hill with a ton of rocks on it, looking to find a vantage point to see this red rock canyon with a chinese irrigation ditch running along the one side made in the late eighteen hundreds. The guide book gave crummy directions. I did not find the secret red rock canyon with the chinese built irrigation ditch. However, upon reaching the summit of the hill I had a spectacular view and I sat and drank a little water and just enjoyed the moment of conquering the hill and watching all the things going on all around said hill. I am beginning to enjoy heights......
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Postby Walking Stranger » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:21 am

Thanks argos and all of you for the reviews and the web links.

@Ang Mo :
Ang Mo wrote:However, upon reaching the summit of the hill I had a spectacular view and I sat and drank a little water and just enjoyed the moment of conquering the hill and watching all the things going on all around said hill. I am beginning to enjoy heights......


I'm glad to hear|read that ;)
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Postby argos » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:32 pm

LAist interviews Vienna. Don't miss this one, it's nice and long and chock full of gems

Singer/Songwriter Vienna Teng Explores Vast "Inland Territory"
http://laist.com/2009/04/29/vienna_teng.php

The interviewer is obviously very familiar with Vienna's music, and gets her to reveal

- the story of how "No Gringo" developed,
- how "St. Stephen's Cross" came to be featured in the live set,
- the possibility of revisiting some of the songs Vienna wrote when she was much younger,
- the new "unhealthy" interest that she has taken in accounting. :-P

Plus, it's always really cute when she "talks" to her songs. :-P

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Postby cmooreNC » Fri May 01, 2009 3:08 pm

argos wrote:LAist interviews Vienna. Don't miss this one, it's nice and long and chock full of gems

Singer/Songwriter Vienna Teng Explores Vast "Inland Territory"
http://laist.com/2009/04/29/vienna_teng.php

The interviewer is obviously very familiar with Vienna's music, and gets her to reveal

- the story of how "No Gringo" developed,
- how "St. Stephen's Cross" came to be featured in the live set,
- the possibility of revisiting some of the songs Vienna wrote when she was much younger,
- the new "unhealthy" interest that she has taken in accounting. :-P

Plus, it's always really cute when she "talks" to her songs. :-P


Now THAT is a simply AWESOME interview. Great job there. Thanks for sharing the link.

And this quote sounds somewhat familiar....

"The whole thing somehow sounded Southwestern to me—not exactly spaghetti western—but something about it suggested deserts and sagebrush." (about No Gringo)

Now where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah....



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Posted: 29 Apr 2009 12:56 am Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just like the song. I could actually envision it being played in a Clint Eastwood Western or Spaghetti Western...........now I am hungry for spaghetti............
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cmooreNC
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Posted: 29 Apr 2009 12:55 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ang Mo wrote:
now I am hungry for spaghetti............


Ummm... spaghetti...... yum!

What were we talking about, anyway?
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http://viennateng.com/forum/viewtopic.p ... sc&start=0

Looks like Vienna has been reading Ang Mo's posts again! :D
Chris

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Postby murlough23 » Fri May 01, 2009 8:39 pm

hassutvarpaat wrote:This guy has always great reviews of Viennas albums... this one is no exception. :D

http://www.epinions.com/review/Inland_T ... 7973869188


Funny, I just now got around to reading this thread, and noticed the consternation over some of the "professional" reviews in the early pages and the call for fans to pick up the torch and write their own reviews, and I thought, "Hey, should give them a link to the review I wrote." And here it is, already posted for me, much to my surprise. Thanks for that! (And please ignore my lyric misquotes and my lazy misinterpretation of "St. Stephen's Cross". I wasn't able to get my hands on an official copy of the album until the show I went to this week, so I had to rely on Internet lyric sites to quote passages from the album, and clearly those were less than accurate.)

Here's the thing about reviews. Any review from a fan perspective, much as we may try to be unbiased, is likely to compare her present work to her past work. It's probably going to be written with a slant of, "Will you like this if you liked her past stuff?" It's very difficult, if not impossible, for someone like me, who has been convinced that Vienna is a genius for several years now, to listen with the fresh mind of an outsider. I don't know how someone completely new to Vienna's music would receive an album like Inland Territory. Truthfully, it may not be the best place for them to start, unless their tastes are eclectic to begin with.

That said, I just don't know what some of these critics are being led to expect. Particularly the ones who complain about stuff like "clutter". Maybe it's the endless Sarah Maclachlan comparisons. She's a chick and she plays the piano, therefore she's expected to make only tranquil and pretty music with a minimum of sounds coming from instruments other than hers? This is a very limiting expectation for Vienna as an artist. I like her because she came from that piano-based singer songwriter genre but has always been dedicating to thinking outside the box. This was even true on her first album, which did follow the very simple piano-and-voice template on several songs and which was fairly mellow overall, but even that one had the occasional curveball like "Unwritten Letter #1". A little time taken to consider context would be helpful before critics bash her for hiding behind other instruments or production choices.

And for that matter, I am truly sick and tired of critics who can't handle layered production, as if it's somehow sacreligious to have an array of different things going on at once in a song. I realize it's a matter of personal preference. But personally, I get rather bored with the whole indie/lo-fi/minimalist thing. There's enough going on creatively in Vienna's recordings that it should be apparent to the listener that the various sounds were either her choice or a collaborative choice made with the producer to use instruments and sounds that fit the song, not just some record label exec trying to overrun the sound of her true talent with a ton of bells and whistles just 'cause. Not all production is overproduction. Pull your heads out of your butts, indie snobs!

Oh, and while we're at it, most of Sarah Maclahlan's music bores the freaking hell out of me. So if you're a critic and that's the measuring stick you're using, please just don't bother with Vienna's music. You'll do us all a huge favor.

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Postby Fred » Sat May 02, 2009 7:42 pm

murlough23 wrote:...most of Sarah Maclahlan's music bores the freaking hell out of me...

Yeah, she's not the best person to compare Vienna to. She has her moments but I find most of her music soporific, and she's been coasting on old material for quite a while now. There are singer-songwriters, other than Vienna, who constantly push boundaries. (Think of Kate Bush. Have you heard Aerial? Love it or hate it, it pushes boundaries.) Even if they don't *sound* like Vienna, the comparisons are more apt. I know this topic comes up too often here, but the comparisons to Tori (who is at least doing good new material) and Sarah just keep coming from the "professional" critics.

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Postby murlough23 » Sat May 02, 2009 8:26 pm

Fred wrote:I know this topic comes up too often here, but the comparisons to Tori (who is at least doing good new material) and Sarah just keep coming from the "professional" critics.


It's probably because that's what they know best. And I don't really mean to start debates about whose music is better (well obviously most folks here aren't gonna argue that point anyway). I just want it to be clear that the comparisons are rather superficial. An outsider who is not familiar with Vienna's music may not believe that it is better than Sarah's or Tori's, but should clearly be able to figure out after a few listens that it is different.


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