Haunting the music is the timbre of the Vietnamese Piano. It’s the chill that trickles down the line of the spine, before nestling into the worn corners of the skin.
Covered in fog, the dull colour of the evening light smears the piano’s tone. She is old and dusty, but determined nonetheless. She coughs out the notes in the black of the night. The atmosphere is a spacious one, where the threat of permanent absence is near, so near, and with this ever-widening gap comes a penetrating cold, filtering casually into the music from the womb of the void. It’s a subtle strike, claiming the piano’s potential warmth and replacing it with the cooler degrees of the dusk.
Vietnamese Piano was recorded during the evening, in real time. Some of the music has seen itself severed, cut abruptly, permitting entry to the breeding of uncertainty and the brooding of apprehension. Some pieces trail off with no real resolution, unfinished business left permanently to decay. Speaking of decay, the notes trail off into the distance, powdered by a healthy smack of reverb.
You can picture the house in Hanoi, the environment shaping the contours of the music, curving the body of the drone against the sparse piano. The black and white tone is the kind that drains the sky of its rainbow and the house of its comfort, stripping it all back until the notes are left to hang there, bare, vulnerable in the failing light.
The deep electronic can be heard on the sub-level, as if it were a humming halogen, intermittent in its outpouring of light. It’s the ink in the tunnel, lifeless obsidian, the underground parking lot in the dead of night. In a dark recess, the cobwebs are spun and the black spiders scuttle; their concentric circle is secluded away, but it is there nevertheless. Their descendants are ancient creatures, as old as the piano herself. The background hiss could be the sound of a faraway wind, coming closer and closer.
Like a solar eclipse, the notes drain the colour out of the day. Some of the opening notes come as a shock to the system, as if there never were a day to begin with. Vietnamese Piano has the feel of the evening tucked away in its very soul, the dusk that has no desire or inclination to seek out the sun.
The music of the Vietnamese Piano was never intended for release, just like the nest of spiders that so wanted to stay underneath the boards. They were never supposed to see the pale light of the sunset, yet here they are. One thing is for sure: Vietnamese Piano hides something, something that lurks vaguely behind the rolling, low-level bank of clouds. In the fog, there is never the opportunity to find out. It never lifts.
‘Music is the space between the notes’ – Claude Debussy