Tag Archives: Dung Nguyen

RESIDUAL — PETER KNIGHT, DUNG NGUYEN

CD review

residual

(Parenthèses Records)

3 stars

Peter Knight on trumpet, cornet, prepared piano, voice, laptop electronics, real-time processing
Dung Nguyen on dan tranh, prepared dan tranh, dan bau, modified electric guitar

Fans of the successful and popular jazz ensemble Way Out West, of which Knight and Nguyen are members, may find this album a shock to the system. Knight’s performances with solo trumpet and laptop would be a better preparation for this excursion into new music.

Parentheses Records’ website has links to a number of reviews, some quite long, and an article by Knight in the Australian Music Centre’s Resonate Magazine.

I think one difficulty in assessing this music is that the intention to detail of the creators and the subtleties of the end product may be quite separate from what is perceived by the listener. Another is the perennial tension between giving a description of any music (in order to give the reader an idea of what to expect) and the need, in a review, to critically appraise or assess how well it works.

There is no simple solution to these issues, and raising them is probably a stalling tactic. So, on with my succinct review. Residual is at times filled with brooding, building intensity (as in the opening, title track) and at others (as in Travelling) makes an excursion into quite strong, even abrasive, rhythmic patterns that also gather potency over time. Minky Star swells and pulsates with sonic textures suggestive of a living, breathing organism that may be experiencing a variety of physical or emotional states, many of them unsettling. The pulsating effect is texturally grating and mesmeric, rather than necessarily pleasant. Phase Pedal is dominated by increasingly insistent percussion, behind which are prolonged or stretched notes which complement, but never come into the foreground.

In the final track of this relatively short rendition of Knight’s compositions, Autumn Music, we are treated to the flute-like sound of a trumpet played without the mouthpiece and the shimmering, bending notes of Dung’s single-stringed dan bau. It is the most immediately appealing piece on the CD, possibly because it has more in common with some of Dung’s contributions to tracks from Way Out West’s albums in which he demonstrates his virtuosity on traditional Vietnamese instruments.

Does it work? Yes, but within the confines of music that is exploratory, challenging and compelling rather than in any way swinging, toe-tapping or melodic. It definitely has the tension which is often important to command attention, but it is “serious” rather than “fun” music. There are hints of jazz and of Asia, but this is taking a new direction.

ROGER MITCHELL

STONNINGTON JAZZ 2010 — DAY 7

The Malvern Town Hall concert may have been great, and Intangible Asset No. 82 was undoubtedly an asset, but I reckon we had the best of it with the double bill at Chapel Off Chapel. Time prevents me posting a review at this stage — life is getting in the way — so for the moment I am posting some pics from each set.

BRIAN ABRAHAMS DISTRICT SIX at Chapel Off Chapel

The line-up for Abrahams’ ensemble was Abrahams on drums John McAll on piano, Zvi Belling on electric bass, Nick Lester on tenor sax and Eugene Ball on trumpet.

Brian Abrahams
Brian Abrahams

Brian Abrahams District Six
District Six

Nick Lester and Eugene Ball
Nick Lester and Eugene Ball

Zvi Belling and Brian Abrahams
Zvi Belling and Brian Abrahams

Nick Lester
Nick Lester

WAY OUT WEST at Chapel Off Chapel

The line-up for Way Out West was Peter Knight on trumpet and flugelhorn, Dung Nguyen on modified electric guitar and Vietnamese traditional stringed instruments, Ray Pereira on percussion, Howard Cairns on acoustic bass, Paul Williamson on saxophones and Raj Jayaweera on drums.

Way Out West
Way Out West: Pereira, Nguyen and Cairns

Way Out West
Way Out West

Williamson and Knight
Williamson and Knight

Nguyen and Cairns
Nguyen and Cairns

Williamson and Knight
Williamson and Knight

Pereira, Cairns and Jayaweera
Pereira, Cairns and Jayaweera

Pereira, Knight, Nguyen and Cairns
Pereira, Knight, Nguyen and Cairns

Pereira and Nguyen
Pereira and Nguyen

Nguyen and Cairns
Nguyen and Cairns

Old Grooves for New Streets — Way Out West

Old Grooves

(Jazzhead)

THE expression “in the groove” suggests a top jazz performance or to be delighted with. Both apply to Way Out West’s second offering. As with Footscray Station, Asian and African influences are unmistakeable, but it’s as if old grooves — tunes and rhythms with a sense of history — are mapping new territory. And it works.
In compositions by trumpeter Peter Knight and, on three tracks, all these talented musicians, Way Out West creates a changing, layered streetscape that moves and grows, cemented often by rhythm. It’s not a melting pot, but an engrossing soundscape. Dung Nguyen (modified electric guitar, dan bau, dan tranh) and Ray Pereira (percussion) bring sounds from Vietnam and Africa and saxophonist Paul Williamson adds a beautiful solo with Middle Eastern influence. The result, with Howard Cairns (acoustic bass) and Dave Beck (drum kit and percussion), breaks new ground.

In short: Heads in directions that are streets ahead of your Melway.

ROGER MITCHELL