Recorded in Hanoi, Vietnam. March - August 2018. Pagan Blessings is a concept album. The following is a track by track guide of how the story unfolds.
1. Geomancing the Bone
The album opens with Duong Nguyen, a skilled geomancer commissioned by the city of Hanoi to locate an ideal site for a new graveyard. However, Duong's personal life is troubled as his marriage and relationship with his teenage daughter suffer.
2. February Sky
Feeling the pressure of his job and strained marriage, Duong turns to astrology and realizes the disharmony between his birth chart and the current planetary positioning. He accepts that his fate is inescapable.
3. Hot & High
Duong's weekly trips to the city for work become increasingly challenging due to the obstructive positioning of the Hong river. To cope with the stress, he indulges in drugs and excessive behavior.
4. Something Evil
After a prolonged drug binge in Hanoi, Duong descends into a state of paranoid disillusionment, perceiving those around him as malevolent figures.
5. The Clown & The Bear
Duong falls ill and enters a long, dreamlike sleep. In his dream, he expresses fears about a potential third world war instigated by the USA and Russia, symbolized respectively by a clown (representing Donald Trump) and a bear (representing Vladimir Putin).
Upon awakening, Duong has an epiphany that nothing in life can be truly understood or relied upon. He renounces his previous faith and embraces paganism, submitting only to the laws of nature.
7. New Communion
Duong resigns from his government job and returns home with the intention of converting his wife and daughter to their newfound pagan faith. However, he discovers that both have become addicted to prescription medication during his absence.
8. Sacrifice the Girl
Realizing that his wife and daughter are beyond saving, Duong, guided by his pagan beliefs, feels no remorse for abandoning them. He returns to Hanoi to begin a fresh chapter in his life.
9. Hipsters in Ba Dinh
Duong settles in the trendy Ba Dinh area of Hanoi and finds himself entangled in a love triangle involving a woman and a police officer.
10. Days Will End
The final track offers a perspective from Duong's thirteen-year-old daughter, Trang Nguyen. She laments the fact that her father will never mend their broken relationship, knowing she will not see him again before his eventual passing.
Recorded in Hanoi, Vietnam at Congregation, Guitar centre, and Hotel Bali, Vietnam.
|Recording Bass tracks at Guitar Center, Hanoi . Photo by Nahee SIm|