CD Waking Hour [Vienna Teng] (CD 1049138),
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Waking Hour [Vienna Teng]

  • 1. Tower, The
    2. Momentum
    3. Gravity
    4. Daughter
    5. Between
    6. Say Uncle
    7. Drought
    8. Enough to Go By
    9. Unwritten Letter No. 1
    10. Eric's Song
    11. Soon Love Soon
    12. Lullabye for a Stormy Night
    13. Decade and One
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 1003

  • Credits

    Personnel: Vienna Teng (vocals, piano, keyboards); Tiffany Shih (vocals); Will Kimbrough (acoustic & electric guitars); David Henry (guitar, cello, bass); Eric Miller (guitar, synthesizer, bass); Dave Kim (violin); Jacob Eisenstein (bass); Craig Wright (drums); Peter Wetherbee (percussion).
    Producers: Eric Miller, Vienna Teng, David Henry.
    Recorded at CCRMA, Stamford University, California, Digidesign HQ, Palo Alto, California, True Tone Recording, Nashville, Tennessee.
    Personnel: Vienna Teng (vocals, piano, keyboards); David Henry (guitar, cello); Eric Miller (guitar, synthesizer); Will Kimbrough (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); John Given (electric guitar); Kim & Dave (violin); Craig Wright, Jim Batcho (drums); Peter Wetherbee (percussion).
    Audio Mixers: David Henry ; Eric Miller .
    Recording information: CCRMA, Stanford University, CA; Digidesign HQ, Palo Alto, CA; True Tone Recording, Nashville, TN.
    Even with her initial, tentative performances while still a student at Stanford, Vienna Teng caused an immediate stir in the California singer/songwriter scene. She self-released her debut LP, Waking Hour, in spring 2001, but consistent Bay Area buzz, strong website sales, and Teng's captivating live show led to interest from Massachusetts indie Virt, which signed her in May 2002. Three of Waking Hour's tracks were then remixed for radio by David Henry (Yo La Tengo; Guster), and an extensive tour brought one of the Bay Area's best-kept secrets to nationwide ears. Teng is an extremely intellectual songwriter who fills the spare moments of her piano-driven songs with wordy unions of personal emotion and reflections on the seasons. While she possesses a powerful voice, it's her command of melody and her subtlety that really stand out on Waking Hour. The Henry-produced tracks -- "Tower," "Gravity," and "Enough to Go By" -- could be considered chamber pop, with their shuffling percussion and lush, quietly surging stings accentuating Teng's gorgeous vocals. At the same time, "Daughter" and "Lullaby for a Stormy Night" are as delicate as hand-blown glass. As heartwarming as the latter song is, where Teng harmonizes with a child's voice on the reassuring line "Everything's fine in the morning/The rain'll be gone in the morning/But I'll still be here in the morning," she's elegantly jaded in the arch, duskily toned "Daughter." "Did you know you're so beautiful on the edge of summer?" she asks in a resolute tone, and the song's slightly mournful yet sure-handed piano line seems to trace the fading lines of a dissolving relationship. After such a powerful yet achingly intimate statement, the processed Middle Eastern rhythms and electric guitar solo of "Between" are a bit overwrought; the added instrumentation tends to dilute Teng's strikingly mature songwriting. But this is by no means a slight, as Waking Hour is a confident debut that's startling in its emotional and intellectual depth, but never too brainy that it loses sight of melody and song structure. ~ Johnny Loftus

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