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Tuesday, 19. February 2008 - 22:25

Review: Vienna Teng - Waking Hour

Dieser Beitrag ist auch in deutsch verfügbar (empfohlen).

The in the states living singer/songwriter/piano player Vienna Teng caught my attention, as I was searching for concertreviews of the Sarah McLachlan Show in Hamburg (Germany) 2004. As I read on this webpage something about a child of Choping and Sarah McLachlan it was absolutely clear: I had to know this music.

The songs on the webpage (attention, flash alert!) were quite good and because Miss Teng was on mini-tour in Germany, the CDs were available. This review covers her first albm Waking Hour, which does, against all my expectations, not sound like a typical first (=raw) long player.

Like on most reviews in this genre, I like the whole package, that is presented here. So, I wouldn't say, that Vienna Teng has a great voice, but her talent on the piano and especially here songwriter talents, connected with great arrangements make this disc really proposing.

The singing and the piano are always in the main focus. The other instruments are built around it and really fit, they're giving the album the changes. No monotony. Absolutely clear, how much potential is there and that's what makes one looking forward to next albums of Vienna Teng.

Compared with other artists, her music is much more filled up, as I expected. The tracks of the first Keri Noble album, for example, shine because of their quietness, but Waking Hour is much more produced and has more facets. The comparsion with McLachlan is okay, but Tengs first album doesn't reach the big productions of her canadian colleague. Overall the direction is different, too, because on Waking Hour the Synthesizer- and other poppy effects, you maybe know from the more popular McLachlan albums, are missing. Waking Hour is just more jazz rather than pop or country.

But of course this kind of softer Jazz-Pop can tolerate some acoustic experiments. Some of their songs sound quite mystic (Between) and if I would overact it, I would say these songs sound like ballads from Within Temptation. But I'm not overacting it, am I?

Despite of the main piano focus and despite the genre, there are some rythmical interesting parts, too. So the intro of Unwritten Letter #1 is absolutely worth, to be analyzed and the drum sound on Drought is a perfect example, where every sound engineer can learn from. Especially the cymbal sounds at the end (about 3:50) are really great.

As you see, there was much attention payed on the details. The easy string action in Gravity, the striking guitar in The Tower and the nice placed violin in Unwritten Letter #1. There's a lot of work and sense for the perfect in that music one recognizes quite fast.

Beside the acoustics the emotional part of that music is extremely important, too. So, from this point of view I especially like Momentum and Decade and One. The first one sounds like the ordinary better love song, but the last one belongs to a group of music, I'm listening, when I'm in a melancholic mood and want to think about something. Though the very big feelings are not comming, but it's not necessary to always listen to the big “down maker” like Foolish Games from Jewel.

Finally I want to mention the few negative aspects: If there's a low point it's Soon love soon. I just don't like such gospel like arrangements. And the artwork of the album is horrible in my eyes. But that's it.

One last advice: You can listen to some examples of the album on discography section on viennateng.com.


Great potential, very much talent, there's base for very great music. The perfectionism and the richness of detail are great, there's just a lack of the very big emotions: 3 of 5 points.

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