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Dreaming Through the Noise

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Album Review

Dreaming Through the Noise is, musically speaking, more about dreaming than noise, because Vienna Teng's album is never noisy. Instead, she cultivates a dense soundscape comprised of everything from guitars, percussion, and pianos to violins, violas, and string arrangements. The light timbre of Teng's vocals fit easily within this mesh, becoming yet another element in the overall sound. This approach is very seductive on "Love Turns 40," a moody lyric that captures the imagined feeling of an ex-cinema star on the downward slide. It's reminiscent of Natalie Merchant singing "San Andreas Fault," though Teng is less elliptical than Merchant. As attractive as Teng's approach is, it can grow a bit precious on songs like "I Don't Feel So Well," which gives the impression of Tori Amos-lite. There's also a tendency, thanks to the soft arrangements and production, for the material to meld together as though the songs were mini-suites inside a bigger work. These qualities do create a dream-like effect, allowing the listener to commingle with Teng's moods and float along with her songs. There are also some very nice touches, as with the Miles Davis-styled trumpet on "Transcontinental, 1:30 A.M." Dreaming Through the Noise may prove too sedate for some listeners, but Teng has done a good job combining music and mood, lyric and atmosphere, that goes beyond the typical singer/songwriter's method. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Customer Reviews

Truly Amazing!

I fell in love with Vienna's music in 2006 when I first heard Gravity and it touched my soul. I became Facebook friends with her and one day this year, I checked my messages, and she had personally invited me and my wife to see her perform live in Ann Arbor MI at The Ark. Of course we went and we also had the pleasure of hearing Theo Katzman perform live as well, he is now my wifes favorite artist :). Vienna took our breath away, she was absolutely amazing! We were fortunate to be able to meet her after the show and took pictures with her. That night, we fell in love with her as a person as well, she was so kind and gracious and she gave me a big hug. Truly a night we will never forget. Thank you Vienna, we love you dear! ~Steve & Tracy V.


The song is a piece of artwork. Vienna Teng is one to watch.


I don't love this album QUITE as much as her debut album, but Vienna Teng is still an unbelievably stellar musician. Her songwriting style is mature and her poetry is eloquent. In the realm of popular music these days, there is very rarely anything that I would genuinely term interestingly musical (is everybody else as sick of the I-IV-V-I chord progression as I am?), but Vienna Teng creates an interesting, unique, organic sound which is very good for the creative mind. When I am working on my latest novel, it's Vienna I turn to for inspiration or even just background noise (though it's actually quite hard to tune her out, as engaging as her lyrics are, and as unexpected as her melodies often prove to be). This is a definite must-have for any true music lover's collection.


Born: October, 1978 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Reaching the national spotlight at the end of 2002, pianist Vienna Teng had been an important part of the California singer/songwriter scene for a few years before then. A pianist since the age of five, Teng took piano lessons before moving on to improvisation. Writing feverishly throughout her youth, she eventually had a full album's worth of instrumentals by the age of 16. Going to Stanford to further her education, she released an EP while going to school and recorded most of Waking Hour before...
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