Pagan Blessings

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 In Vietnam, the practice of Geomancy is in high demand. This ancient practice uses various techniques to determine the correct location and position of a building or structure in relation to its environment. Our story begins with Duong Nguyen, a geomancer who has recently been commissioned by the city of Hanoi to find the perfect site for a new graveyard to be built in the city. However, Duong lives in the countryside, four hours from Hanoi. At home, life is not going well for Duong, whose marriage and relationship with his teenage daughter is under strain. 

  2. February Sky Duong turns to astrology to help him with the pressure of the new job and his failing marriage, eventually coming to the realisation that the current planetary positioning is squaring with his birth chart. He accepts this astrological disharmony is the root his problems, and that his fate is unavoidable. 

  3. Hot & High Duong travels to the city every week for work, and travels back home on the weekends. The positioning of the Hong river is making the job difficult, and it is taking longer than expected to find a suitable site for the graveyard. To deal with the stress he takes refuge in drugs and excess. 

4. Something Evil After Duong binges on drugs for several days in Hanoi city, he enters into a state of disillusioned paranoia. Those around him become nefarious figures. 

5. The Clown & The Bear Duong becomes unwell and enters into a long, coma-like sleep. A long dream manifests his worries about a third world war started by the USA and Russia (the clown representing Donald Trump and the bear representing Vladimir Putin). 

6. Unbelieve Upon waking from their dream, Duong has an epiphany that nothing in life can be understood to be certain, and that even science is not to be fully trusted. This leads him to abandon his faith and become a pagan, submitting only to the laws of nature. 

7. New Communion Duong quits the job for the government, and returns back home to convert his wife and his daughter to their new pagan faith. However both have became addicted to prescription medicine in Duong's absence. 

 8. Sacrifice the Girl Duong realises that his wife and daughter cannot be saved, and that given his new pagan faith, felt no remorse for abandoning them. He returns to the Hanoi to start a new life in the city. 

9. Hipsters in Ba Dinh Duong moves to the trendy Ba Dinh area and becomes involved in a love triangle between a woman and a police office. 

10. Days Will End This last track is from the perspective on Duong's thirteen year old daughter, Trang Nguyen. It is a lament on the fact her father will never return to mend their broken relationship, and that she will not see him again before he dies.

Recorded in Hanoi, Vietnam at Congregation, Guitar centre, and Hotel Bali, Vietnam.

Recording Bass tracks at Guitar Center, Hanoi . Photo by Nahee SIm